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Wiki upgrade

by: pogge

Tue Mar 03, 2009 at 14:11:24 PM EST

Some time this evening I'll be upgrading the software on which Flu Wiki — the original wiki not this forum — runs. The new version adds some features that may come in handy for us but it does very little that would seriously affect the way we're already doing things. So I don't anticipate any problems and you won't necessarily even notice a change once I'm done. But if you do subsequently see anything that looks odd or out of place, I'd appreciate hearing about it either in a comment to this diary or by email.

And once I get working with the new version, which I'll also be working with on another project, I'll double back here and list the high points on the flip.

Edited to add link.
And edited to begin documenting new and enhanced features on the turn.

pogge :: Wiki upgrade

Saving wiki pages as drafts

The previous version of PmWiki had rudimentary support for this but it's been improved in the current production version.

If I implement this feature, it would change the editor such that the original Save button becomes Publish, the Save and Edit button becomes Save Draft and Edit and a new Save Draft button is added.

If I access a page called Main.Test and load it into the editor, make some changes and then Save Draft, it would actually save that page as Main.Test-Draft. The original page is still there and visitors who accessed Main.Test just to read would still see the original without my changes. Once I load it back into the editor and Publish, then the modified page replaces the original and Main.Test-Draft is deleted.

The obvious advantage to this is that if you have a complex change to make, you wouldn't have to do it all in one session. You can do part of it, save it as a draft and come back to it the next day or the next week.

The disadvantage is that if someone else came along and wanted to make a change to that page, when she clicks on the edit link she gets Main.Test-Draft. What's loaded into the editor is the most recent draft and not the original page. People who weren't completely up to date on PmWiki's features would doubtless be quite confused to find material in the editor that hadn't been in evidence when they were reading. It can be even more confusing since that second user would be unsure of whether to publish when she had finished her edit. And that's not to mention the possibility that her revisions might conflict with the first user's or even mess them up entirely.

It's easy to see why it works this way. The alternative would create the possibility of several different draft versions of the page which could create even more confusion. But given the way this works, I'd be inclined to approach it carefully. I think it would be quite useful for a site with a registration system and a small number of editors who were in constant communication with each other. But Flu Wiki is open to the public at large. For the moment I haven't even enabled the feature.

I should add that along with this feature there's another level of password protection enabled. I can put a password on the Publication of all pages in the wiki, all pages in a category or individual pages. But that doesn't really solve the complications I can see. Authors might still get confused and frustrated which is the last thing we want.

Can anybody see a flaw in my reasoning?

Page text variables

The simplest way to explain this feature is probably to give a couple of examples where it might be useful.

  1. Let's say there's a word or phrase that repeats a number of times in a page and that might change in the future. If you assign that word or phrase — that text — to a variable at the top of the page (in a variable declaration that wouldn't appear in normal viewing mode) and then use the variable throughout the document, the software would substitute the current value of the variable when displaying the text to a reader. If the text did change at some point, simply change the assignment at the top of the page and the change would be reflected throughout.

  2. If you wanted to get a list of the pages in a category in a sequence other than the order determined by the names or titles of the pages, you could use a page text variable as a kind of index key. Use the same variable in all the pages but assign it a different value in each page — a value that would force the pages to sort the way you want them to.

    For example, in another installation I'm experimenting with I want to get a list of pages sorted according to the name of the person who's most prominently discussed in the page's text. So I've used a variable called Key and on the page about John Smith I'm assigning "Smith, John" to Key because I want the pages to sort by surname and then given name. On the page where I have my pagelist directive (which is how you get a list of pages in the first place) I add "order=Key" to the directive and I get the list in the order I want.

Clear as mud?

I've glossed over the specific syntax involved in declaring variables and invoking them but if anyone is excited enough by the possibilities to want to know more, you know where to find me.

Implementing tags in PmWiki

This capability was added with the last major revision of the software. I'm just getting around to suggesting it now though I've implemented it on another project that also uses PmWiki. If you want to see the documentation on this you can look under Categories. But it makes more sense to me to implement this as tags and since it only requires adding one line to the site's configuration file to change the terminology, why not? (If you have a reason why not, you're welcome to explain in comments.)

A tag is created with the following markup: [[!tag]]

That creates a link that looks like any other on the wiki. As an example of how tags might be applied, consider the pages in the Consequences group that contain recipes. Obviously we could add a [[!recipes]] tag to each. There are at least two of those pages that are specifically about breakfasts. So we could also add a [[!breakfast]] tag to those. If we were going to implement this, I would suggest adding a horizontal rule at the bottom of the page text followed by a line listing the tags, like so:

Tags: [[!recipes]], [[!breakfast]]

And with the help of one additional change to the configuration, the first time someone clicked on one of those tags, she would be taken to a page in the Tags group that's automatically created and lists all of the pages containing that tag.

That's all there is to it. What do you think?

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Wiki upgrade | 44 comments
it's the wiki, not here

and they usually go smoothly expect when they don't.

pogge will report in later.  ;-)

Thanks pogge!
Thanks for keeping us up to date and running smoothly. BTW, good job on all of that.

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. --Unknown


Upgrade's done
If you see anything weird, please let me know. But it appears to be fully functional.

aucune différence!!
Regarde grand jusqu'ici. Magnifique!!  :-)

[ Parent ]
And apparently the entire wiki is now in French
That's some upgrade, eh?

[ Parent ]
Oui monsieur. Tres bon!! LOL!! n/t

[ Parent ]
Updated to describe draft feature
I've updated this diary to discuss the ability to save wiki pages as drafts which isn't a completely new feature but has been enhanced in the new version.

I'd like to think about that
a little more before enabling.

[ Parent ]
Updated to discuss page text variables
We're getting geeky now.

Wiki software updated
I've just applied a minor version upgrade to the software at the wiki. It was minor enough that I'm betting no one noticed while it was happening and I didn't bother with a warning announcement. The only reason I went to this new release immediately was because it closes a couple of vulnerabilities and the advice is that all "open public wikis" should upgrade. That's us.

As always with these things, if you're over there and you notice anything odd or out of place, I'd appreciate hearing about it. Thanks.

Wiki update: the end of sidescroll (almost)
Those of you who were visitors to our original forum (affectionately known as Old Yeller) will remember the ongoing battle we had with sidescroll when a markup rule was introduced to the wiki software that disabled wordwrap and other formatting when a line began with one or more spaces. With the release of version 2.2, a method was introduced to disable that rule and eventually it will be disable by default. I've just taken advantage of that to disable it at Flu Wiki. It's too late to help Old Yeller but it will still prevent an occasional problem. (And there are other ways to cause sidescroll but that was the most common.)

Minor wiki software upgrade
I've just applied a minor upgrade to the software at the wiki, i.e. not this site, the other one. This release is mainly a fix for a couple of minor bugs and you shouldn't see any difference. But as always, if you do see something odd over there I'd appreciate hearing about it.

Minor upgrade to wiki software (yes, another one)
The development crew at PmWiki are pretty energized these days. I've just upgraded the wiki to 2.2.6. As always, if you see anything odd I'd appreciate a comment here, but it's a minor revision and everything seems okay so far.

Minor upgrade to wiki software
I've just upgraded the wiki to PmWiki 2.2.10. This revision includes a few bug fixes (must be obscure bugs 'cos I haven't seen them) and the introduction of a few refinements in page variables and file handling which I'll review and report on if it seems relevant to our purposes.

I've had a quick look around and done a write test and everything seems to be in order. But as always, if anyone notices anything odd over there I'd appreciate a quick comment here.

I've been messing with Internet Destroyer v8 lately...
And I have noticed that when editing Wiki pages, as I type the edit window tends to jump around a bit.
I'll check it out later tonight and let ya know....

[ Parent ]
It wouldn't suprise me
Every new version of Internet Explorer breaks the internet and enrages web developers all over the planet.

[ Parent ]
Just checked it out...
And it's still 'acting up' in IE8. What happens is, in the edit window, I place my cursor, say, in the middle of the window where I want to type. As soon as I hit the first key, the line I'm editing drops to the bottom of the edit window so that I can't see what follows below the edit line. Very strange...may be a bug feature in Internet Destroyer 8. Of course, I've done all of the updates that MS says should be installed (Mother knows best!) and updated Java as well as Adobe Flash and Shockwave (just in case).
None of the updates seems to have any differing effect on the issue...
Ah well...

[ Parent ]
Can anyone else confirm?
There's nothing on the PmWiki mailing list about it.

[ Parent ]
And I just discovered a really cool feature...
...not a bug, in IE8!!
At the right end of the Address Bar is a button called Compatibility View. By clicking on it, it reverts the current view BACK to how older browsers (IE7, Firefox, Chrome, et al) handle the page.
Using that button on any Edit page of the Wiki, the 'jumping page' stops jumping.
Maybe MS figured things out.

Sort of...

[ Parent ]
Upgrade to PmWiki 2.2.11
I've just applied a minor version upgrade to the wiki software. It includes fixes for a couple of minor bugs and the addition of two new directives for use in coding tables: (:head:) and (:headnr:). They work the same as the (:cell:) and (:cellnr:) directives except that they create the html header tags, i.e. (and without the spaces) < th > instead of < td >.

As always, if you see anything odd over there I'd appreciate a quick note.

Upgrade to PmWiki 2.2.13
If it seems like the releases are coming out pretty quickly, you're right. And if it seems like I skipped one, you're right about that too. 2.2.12 didn't do anything that I felt was urgent so I let it pass. But 2.2.13 squashes a bug that turned up in a feature that I use occasionally to manage the site so I just installed it. Aside from fixing the bug, it adds fancy markup to the history which now shows strikeouts on material deleted in the most recent edit and highlights changes and additions. That can be turned off, i.e. I can tell it to revert to the old history display, but I've left it as is pending feedback (which is, of course, welcome).

Diary update: Implementing tags in PmWiki
It's right here.

Upgrade to PmWiki 2.2.15
I've just installed a new version of PmWiki at the wiki. I had skipped 2.2.14 because it didn't really offer anything we were likely to use but this one cleans up a couple of minor bugs so I went for it. As always, if anything odd turns up over there I'd appreciate a heads-up. And a reminder: I added to the original diary recently to discuss implementing tags at the wiki. You can jump straight to the new section of the diary with this link.

Minor redesign at the wiki
I'm talking about the original wiki. I did the wiki equivalent of rearranging the furniture just a bit. Please let me know if you spot any problems.

New color! I like it better than the mustard.
I don't see "style" in the left-hand column anymore, but the new color is fine and readable.  I used to change the original mustard yellow to green so I could stand looking at it.   Thanks!

"The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it."  Flannery O'Connor

[ Parent ]
The mustard is still there
What you refer to as mustard is a colour I picked up from Melanie Mattson's original blog. Using it at the wiki too was a feeble attempt at branding on my part. That colour, which I've always referred to as Beltway Gold (the blog's name was Just a Bump in the Beltway), is now used for trim and highlight. I wanted it in the mix for sentimental reasons but I wanted a lighter look overall.

And yes, I removed the Style Options for now. While I was doing the redesign, I upgraded to the latest version of the skin — the software "layer" that controls look and feel — and I haven't checked the other colour schemes to make sure they work. And I'm hoping I don't really need to since I only created them because some people had trouble with the original. I'm waiting to see what other feedback I get.

[ Parent ]
I just like the
mustard color for some insane reason. It does look good pogge and you've done a brilliant job keeping the "Beltway Gold" in there. Nice job.

United we stand: Divided we fall

[ Parent ]
Nice; very subtle use of that color. n/t

"The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it."  Flannery O'Connor

[ Parent ]
The type font is much easier to read, also....
I like that "Georgia" font much better. It's easier on the eyes, and looks more like a 'bloggers' font...

Upgrade to PmWiki 2.2.16
Good morning. There was a new version of PmWiki released this morning that patched a potential security hole, so I've applied the upgrade at the wiki. As always, if you see anything odd going on over there, I'd appreciate a heads-up. Thanks.

Upgrade to PmWiki 2.2.17
For our purposes this represents a couple of minor bug fixes and updated documentation.

There's some refinement to the configuration process for any budding site administrators out there. And it's easier to interface with the use authorization system if you're inclined to write plugins that require it.

Upgrade to wiki features: embedding PDFs from Scribd
Good morning. I've just installed a script that will allow users to embed Scribd documents into PmWiki pages. As a test, I found a document related to influenza and embedded it into the Sandbox.

The original documentation at PmWiki for the use of this capability is here. You'll see that there is some flexibility in terms of the size of the Scribd window and the way it functions. But if you want the defaults and haven't mastered wiki directives, the short version is:

When you've found the doc at Scribd that you want to embed, locate the Embed button on the right sidebar under the heading Share & Embed. Clicking on that will pop up a window. Under the heading "Embed this document" about half way down this screen, click on the Copy button to paste the necessary code into your computer's clipboard. Go to the wiki page where you want to embed the doc, load it into the editor, position your cursor and paste. And then there's one more step because the code you've just pasted includes some stuff at the top that's unnecessary and won't function correctly. Delete everything between the anchor link tags including the tags themselves, i.e. between "< a >" and "< /a >" (minus the spaces I added so they'll display here). The code you leave should begin with:

< object >

(again, minus the spaces). When you save that, the new script will translate that block of code into the necessary markup to embed the document.

Even shorter version:

Email me with links.

Upgrade to PmWiki 2.2.21
I've just upgraded the wiki to the latest release of PmWiki -- we've moved from 2.2.17 to 2.2.21. The latest release includes fixes for a few minor bugs, patches a recently discovered security hole (which is why I moved on this one) and updates the documentation.

As always, I'd appreciate a heads-up if you happen to be over there and see anything odd. But I've done a test write on the sandbox page and all appears to be well.

I've also adjusted the clock over there -- it runs a bit fast.

Upgrade to PmWiki 2.2.29
I've just upgraded the wiki at fluwiki.info to the latest release of PmWiki, which is version 2.2.29. I had skipped a few recent upgrades because they dealt with issues that weren't relevant to us but this upgrade patches a couple of recently discovered security vulnerabilities and squashes a bug.

As always, if you notice anything odd going on over there, I'd appreciate a heads-up.

Thanks for all you do pogge. n/t

United we stand: Divided we fall

[ Parent ]
You're welcome. Back at you. n/t

[ Parent ]
Upgrade to PmWiki 2.2.33
Good morning. Just upgraded the wiki to the latest version of the software. It fixes a security issue as well as clearing up another bug. As always, if you spot anything weird happening, I'd appreciate a heads-up. Thanks.

PmWiki upgrade/Question re: Sandbox
I've just upgraded the wiki software to the latest version of PmWiki. In the process I was reminded of a question I've been meaning to ask.

The Sandbox page at the wiki has a lot of material that's been there for years. For example, there's a newsletter template that I think was originally intended for people to copy and paste into diaries here. There are tables on Indonesia that appear to have been untouched for four years. And there are a number of recipes (which sound tasty enough). If any of that material is still useful, I'll be happy to move it to appropriate pages elsewhere in the wiki. But I wonder if the stuff has actually been abandoned and can be cleaned out so the Sandbox can go back to being a Sandbox.

PmWiki upgrade to 2.2.35
A security vulnerability was just discovered and this release fixes it so I jumped on it. As always, if you see anything strange over there please let me know.

And while I'm here, I cleaned out the sandbox over there. If anyone wanted to play with wiki markup but has been feeling intimidated by all the stuff that was already in there, go for it.

PmWiki upgrade to 2.2.39
The software at the wiki has been upgraded to version 2.2.39. I had skipped a couple of minor upgrades but decided to get caught up. There have been a few very minor bugs fixed and there's improved support for international character sets.

As always, if you happen to see anything odd there I'd appreciate a heads-up either here or by email.


PmWiki upgrade to 2.2.42
I've just updated to the newest version of the wiki software at fluwiki.info. This is the most recent of a series of minor revisions to accommodate the handling of special characters.

As always, if you notice anything odd over there I'd appreciate a quick heads-up. Thanks.

PmWiki upgrade to 2.2.44
Very minor upgrade. But I had to do another site anyway so I did Flu Wiki while I was at it.

As usual, please let me know if you see anything strange happening over there.


PmWiki upgrade to 2.2.54
I've just upgraded the original wiki to the latest version of PmWiki. We were a few versions behind but recent upgrades have involved minor bug fixes to features we're not actually using. But I don't like to let it get too far behind so I went for it this morning. There have also been minor revisions to the documentation if you're dying to read about wikis. ;-)

As usual, if you see anything weird going on there please let me know.

Wiki upgrade | 44 comments

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