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From Murray Altheim <murra...@altheim.com>
Subject Re: creating new pages
Date Tue, 17 Jun 2008 21:43:08 GMT
Bob Paige wrote:
> I have been playing with the Namespaces plugin and the WikiTags plugins, and
> have a question: how can I provide an easy way for my users to create new
> pages?

Yes, certainly. Any plugin that creates a link like

   http://www.jspwiki.org/Edit.jsp?page=NewPageName

(i.e., with "Edit.jsp" in the URL) creates a link to a new page. It's
also possible to code a plugin to create a page programmatically (it's
relatively easy). I have a plugin that pops up a dialog box, asks for
a new page name, and generates a page. But it's not a solution to a
common user scenario (or at least one in my idealistic wiki mode that
I agree with).

> The scenario is this: using tags and namespaces, I want to set up a
> hierarchy of pages within my wiki (this is for technical documentation).
> These plugins automatically insert links between pages, so it is unlikely
> users will be defining links to non-existent pages and clicking on them to
> create the pages.
> 
> I tried some embeded javascript (which naturally gets filtered out). Is
> there some plugin or some other workflow thing that I am missing? How do
> your users typically create new pages in your wiki?

I think the answer to that last question is that they do it traditionally,
by creating a link to a page and then clicking on it. This has the
disadvantage of making it more difficult than say, Microsoft Word, in
that there's no "New Document" button. People are forced to think about
how a new page links into the corpus of pages, i.e., where they're going
to place that link. Some people think that requirement is artificial,
others essential. I've on occasion had to explain *why* wikis don't have
that button to people. The advantage is that one's wiki is less likely to
develop islands of disconnected pages. With good search tools this isn't
such a problem as on early wikis.

I've spent the last few years working on tools to assist in creating
structure among wiki pages, most of it in the form of tags or assertions,
the latter providing the ability to create hierarchies when the predicate
used is by nature hierarchical or at least transitive.

But I think it would be helpful if you were to further flesh out what
you're looking for. Do you want people to actually create pages, or just
links to pages? Do you want to make it easy to create a *lot* of pages via
program control, with all the potential dangers that incurs? Generate a
set of pages or links to pages based on a preexisting structure provided
to a plugin? etc.  How are you thinking the structures would be
represented? in wiki text?

I'm curious as to how you envisage the automation of either link or page
creation, as that can be approached in so many ways. E.g., one could
provide some form of structured TOC and autogenerate all the pages for
that TOC, with links (up, down, previous and next) on the autogenerated
pages. That's certainly doable. But it also is potentially rather
complicated for users and potentially dangerous (e.g., allowing a single
user to create hundreds of pages with a single command invites abuse).

Murray

...........................................................................
Murray Altheim <murray07 at altheim.com>                           ===  = =
http://www.altheim.com/murray/                                     = =  ===
SGML Grease Monkey, Banjo Player, Wantanabe Zen Monk               = =  = =

       Boundless wind and moon - the eye within eyes,
       Inexhaustible heaven and earth - the light beyond light,
       The willow dark, the flower bright - ten thousand houses,
       Knock at any door - there's one who will respond.
                                       -- The Blue Cliff Record

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