[pmwiki-users] Re: How to 'automatically' keep a deployed PmWiki install up to date?

Patrick R. Michaud pmichaud at pobox.com
Mon Sep 26 15:43:30 CDT 2005

Nice thread and conversation -- here are my thoughts on keeping
things up to date.

First, I'm not a big fan of anything that attempts to actually 
install updates -- there are just too many potential pitfalls and
security problems.

However, automatically identifying and notifying of new recipe
versions sounds reasonable to me if people are willing to go
through the effort of maintaining such a thing.  :-)

An important question arises as to whether admins want to follow
just the recipe code itself or the Cookbook pages describing the 
recipes.  For example, if I have the CompressedPages recipe 
installed, I may be interested to know when new information is 
posted to the Cookbook page even if the recipe itself doesn't

Bronwyn is correct that we may be able to solve a large portion
of this using RSS and/or trails.  And we can probably create
some special actions on pmwiki.org to report recipe versions.
So, we might want to investigate that further.

Another possibility that solves a more generic problem is to
come up with a watchlist and/or automatic page notification feature.
In other words, individuals are allowed to "subscribe" to pages
of interest (Cookbook pages in this instance) and automatically
receive notification of some sort when the page is changed.
(This has been discussed somewhat at http://www.pmwiki.org/wiki/PITS/00358,
although I disagree strongly with many of the design/implementation 
suggestions posed there.)

But lacking those, there is some merit in the idea of establishing
a standard "version" array where recipes can store version information.
I'm thinking something simple like:

    # information for the pagestoregz recipe
    $Module['pagestoregz'] = array(
      'version' => 21,
      'uri' => 'http://www.pmwiki.org/wiki/Cookbook/CompressedPages',
      'desc' => 'Store pages as compressed text');

    # information from lightskin
    $Module['lightskin'] = array(
      'version' => 13002,
      'uri' => 'http://www.pmwiki.org/wiki/Cookbook/LightSkin',
      'desc' => 'A lean, content-based skin');

But it's not entirely clear what to do with this information once
we have it.  It can certainly be used to tell an administrator
what recipes are being installed on a given page (and where to
check for updates).  Having an automatic check with pmwiki.org
for updates requires slightly more work, plus a decision as to
what constitutes an "update" requiring notification and how
that should take place.

Opinions welcome.


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