[pmwiki-devel] ZAP cookbook, www.zapsite.org

The Editor editor at fast.st
Thu Dec 7 11:52:14 CST 2006

On 12/7/06, Christophe David <christophe.david at christophedavid.org> wrote:
> I am still trying to encourage friends to have a look at the ZAP features on
> www.zapsite.org.
> Unfortunately, despite the obviously considerable time spent on improving
> the documentation and giving support, there are still a few things that can
> discourage even the most motivated visitors :

Thanks for promoting ZAP.  It's still very much a work in progress.
The recipe is about done, but the documentation still has some room
for growth

> Examples:
> - when visiting www.zapsite.org, you cannot even read the documentation
> without being logged on.  The new visitor has no clue as why "nothing works"
> without spending a lot of time searching.  Why not have full free access to
> everything except the parts that actually use the ZAP features that require
> to be logged on ?  Why not "pre-fill" the username/password fields with
> "Guest" and "test" ?

I had it that way for awhile, and then people kept trying the snippets
without logging in, so they wouldn't work, then they'd email me ask
why...  Endless problem despite notices on the site, etc.  So this way
I cut down on those emails.

I could prefill the form with Guest/test but when I have time I want
to put up demo's of some of the niftier features possible in ZAP:
instant messaging, intrasite mail, (better) chat, etc.  Those don't
work so well if everyone log's in the same name.  So my preference is
to encourage them to use a unique name.  Still, Guest/test will remain
available and prominent.

> - even more disturbing : when visiting ww.zapsite.org with Windows /
> Internet Explorer using default security settings, many users can simply not
> log in at all: the cookies are blocked because they are set for www.fast.st
> and not www.zapsite.org.  Users must click on an icon in the status bar to
> see the security warning, and then find out that they could be more lucky
> with http://www.fast.st/zap/pmwiki.php ...

I fixed this.  Before it was in a frame.  Now it's a redirect.  The
url doesn't say zapsite.org, but hey, it works!  (I think, anyone
tested it since the change?)

> - then when they finally managed to sign in and have found out that ZAP
> provides interesting markup to make forms, they cannot find out what the
> syntax is.

Actually ZAP provides an engine to process form submissions.  Mostly
it uses standard PmWiki syntax.  But as for the syntax, have you seen
the docs since I reworked them recently?  Rather than one long table,
now I have a page for each feature (some still lacking, admittedly...)
with more info for each.  Here's the current layout (a sample--styled,
color-coded, with links on zap)

Format:   	(:input type login:)
 	(:input type login "auto":)

Explanation: Checks "Password" value in Profiles.<Member> page (based
on the value in the "Member" form field) against that entered in the
form field "Password". If matches, logs them in as "Member". If auto
is set, automatically logs them in as "Member" if that name does not
already exist in your Profiles group.

Related Fields: Member, Password

Requirements to Use: ZAPdata. If using "auto" requires lock pattern.

Snippets: Login

Furthermore, each feature is commentable so people can ask questions,
or add to the documentation, much like the php.net site.  Can you be
more specific about anything more that would be helpful?

> - the "documentation" section should probably be renamed into "reference",
> and should be more comprehensive, with  exhaustive lists of all parameters
> and their meaning, and pointers to the relevant snippets.

I think it's better.  Help me fill in missing pieces of documentation.
 ZAP is a pretty flexible engine.  Hard to exhaust all it can do...

> With the deepest respect for the work done and the obvious good will, may I
> suggest to focus a lot more on the information provided to the users ?

I'm pretty much done with the code (though I do have a few modules in
mind for some day.  And while I do want to improve the documentation
for the enefit of others, but personally I'm stretched trying to
provide private support to individuals and develop some new projects
I'm working on (may be even better than ZAP!).  Getting help from
others would be appreciated.

> Maybe allowing some wiki features on the site would allow users to
> contribute ;-)

I'm open to allowing editing of some/or all the wiki.  Could start
with the documentation group if you like.  Maybe for anyone that
doesn't log in as Guest?
:).  If there are other pages I should open up let me know.

> I am convinced ZAP is a tool  anyone developing with PmWiki should consider
> using.  But the ZAP "packaging" really needs to be a lot more attractive.
> Do other persons feel the same ?
> Christophe

Thanks for your extended comments...


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