[pmwiki-users] Recommended recipes?

Twylite twylite at crypt.co.za
Fri Aug 28 07:06:36 CDT 2009

Thanks everyone for your responses.

With regard to stability, active maintenance and potential conflicts: 
Petko, Kathryn, and Eemeli all suggested looking at the Discussion, 
ChangeLog and ReleaseNotes sections of the recipe page; coupled with an 
assessment of how active the author is in the community by looking at 
this mailing list, the RecentChanges page and responsiveness to 
questions/discussions on the recipe page.

This sounds like excellent advice once you have a smallish set of 
candidate recipes, and as such is a solution to part of my problem.  But 
it remains a little overwhelming when hundreds of recipes are involved.

Kathryn Andersen wrote:
>> > I have now committed quite a lot of time & effort into this research, 
>> > and I have still failed to answer my basic questions:
>> > (1) which recipes does everyone find useful
> That is an impossible question to answer, because "useful" depends
> on what people use PmWiki for, and PmWiki is so flexible that it
> can be used for a great many things.
> What is more relevant to your needs is to actually say what you
> want and need to do with PmWiki, what kind of recipes you would
> therefore need, and allow people to comment on that subset of recipes.
It's a bit of a catch-22.  As I mentioned in my mail I am intending to 
set up 2 sites:
(1) A knowledge base for my development team, with additional support 
for issue tracking and CRM.
(2) A personal web site with a blog (allowing public comments), a 
knowledge base section (allowing public comments) and a collaborative 
development section (open for all editing).

Beyond that, I don't know enough specifics about what I want until I am 
either aware of a problem that needs to be solved (e.g. page spam, need 
a ToC, etc) or I am aware of functionality that exists and I think "that 
would be nice". 

So basically if I don't know it exists, I'm not going to look for it 
unless I have a specific problem that needs to be solved.  Which means 
that short of browsing through all the recipes I won't find ones that 
could be enhancements rather than just solutions.

Looking at Wikis in general and knowing now a little about what 
functionality PmWiki lacks (in the core), I can tell that most people 
will want extensions to solve the following problems (and the 
ListOfBundles-Candidates confirms this):

* Table of Contents
http://www.pmwiki.org/wiki/Cookbook/PageTableOfContents looks widely 
used, well supported, and is part of the PublishPDF library (which seems 
like a good thing).  Uses (:toc:)
But http://www.pmwiki.org/wiki/Cookbook/HandyTableOfContents is also 
promising and - being JavaScript - may work in situations where 
PageTableOfContents won't because of generated content.  Uses (:htoc:)
http://www.pmwiki.org/wiki/Cookbook/NumberedHeaders also sounded useful 
(especially in a corporate environment), but appears to be obsolete 
because PageTableOfContents can do numbering now ... but that fact isn't 
immediately obvious.  Uses (:toc:) and other markup.
Then there is http://www.pmwiki.org/wiki/Cookbook/SlimTableOfContents, 
which will work with SectionEdit -- implying that other ToC recipes like 
PageTableOfContents won't (and I still don't know the answer to that 
until I try).  Uses (:toc:) or (:toc:)
While some of these recipes have compatible markup, other's don't (or 
have extended markup that would be incompatible across recipes).  
Discovering a month in that I have made a poor choice will mean altering 
the markup on numerous pages.

* Rename pages
Any non-trivial Wiki will require periodic content maintenance and 
reorganisation, and this will often require pages to be renamed.
http://www.pmwiki.org/wiki/Cookbook/RenamePage seems to do the job, it 
is widely used and listed as stable.  The discussion section indicates a 
couple of corner cases (e.g. moving unqualified attachments, unqualified 
http://www.pmwiki.org/wiki/Cookbook/MovePage is an alternative, and 
suggests that RenamePage has problems.
RenamePage hints at consequences to moving between Groups (unqualified 
attachments may go astray), but I don't see any discussion on any recipe 
page of the interaction between page renaming and 
http://www.pmwiki.org/wiki/Cookbook/UploadPlus. Are there situations 
(similar to page renaming) that may affect the choice to use a 
CustomPageStore or to group uploads?

* Restricted delete
Recovering deleted pages is often not straightforward (sometimes not 
possible at all, sometimes not possible through the web interface), so 
it can be desirable to restrict page deleting to some set of authorised 
http://www.pmwiki.org/wiki/Cookbook/DeleteAction seems to be the PmWiki 
approach for doing this.

* Diff between arbitrary revisions
Most Wikis have this functionality; PmWiki seems to lack it.
http://www.pmwiki.org/wiki/Cookbook/ViewDiff appears to do this
http://www.pmwiki.org/wiki/Cookbook/InlineDiff also looks like a 
popular/useful enhancement, but doesn't appear to diff arbitrary 
revisions.  Are these two compatible?  Also InlineDiff has a "modified 
version" attached to the bottom of the page; is that a separate 
(unnamed) recipe?

* Typographic extensions
Something I haven't encountered often and wouldn't know to look for is 
http://www.pmwiki.org/wiki/Cookbook/MarkupExtensions .  I first came 
across it looking for Footnote support (a feature I find very useful and 
which is quite common amongst Wikis).  MarkupExtensions contains a 
number of nice-to-haves, and it seems popular in the PmWiki community.

* A better way to handle attachments
Most CMS, Blog or Wiki software that supports attachments provides 
built-in support or extensions to manage attachments: rename, delete, 
show size and download count, etc.
At a glance there are about a dozen extensions that may do this: 
AttachDelete, AttachIcons2, AttachImageSize, AttachLinks, 
AttachlistEnhanced, AttachListSort, AttachSize and 
http://www.pmwiki.org/wiki/Cookbook/Attachtable.  The latter seems to 
have the most functionality but is also the newest (few recommendations 
an little information on the extent of its use).

In addition I have encountered a couple of extensions that everyone 
should know about:

* http://www.pmwiki.org/wiki/Cookbook/NewPageBoxPlus
NewPageBoxPlus seems to be an excellent building block for just about 
any site that requires pages based on a template.  For example it is 
trivial to build a lightweight CRM by creating a "Customers" group with 
a NewPageBoxPlus to create new customer pages from an appropriate 
There are alternatives, including 
http://www.pmwiki.org/wiki/Cookbook/Fox from the same author which seems 
extremely powerful but also a lot more complex (and it competes with 
other Forms recipes, so they may also warrant consideration).
If I hadn't encountered NewPageBoxPlus I may have moved on to evaluating 
another Wiki engine!

* http://www.pmwiki.org/wiki/Cookbook/NotsavedWarning
"Warn authors when they move away from a page without saving it."  The 
potential value of this extension speaks for itself.

* http://www.pmwiki.org/wiki/Cookbook/WikiStylesPlus


Which brings me to the following points:

(A) Possibly the most useful resource I have come across so far are the 
pages in http://www.pmwiki.org/wiki/Category/Bundles.  This, to me, is 
evidence of people with an investment in PmWiki saying "this is what I 
find useful".  But I was hesitant to put too much value on that 
information because some pages (e.g. ListOfBundles-Candidates) have not 
been edited in 2 years.
I think that extending and updating this information - particularly 
http://www.pmwiki.org/wiki/Cookbook/Bundle - will be very helpful.

(B) Perhaps the most useful feedback I have received is this from Petko
> And I believe you can have a peace of mind with a recipe released by Pm, 
> Dominique Faure or Eemeli Aro, among others. There are other active developers 
> in the community, I just haven't had the need to use and the time to review 
> their recipes.
... along with responses from Chris Cox and Kathryn Andersen.  This is 
community knowledge that is not readily available to a newcomer.  This 
gives me a lot more confidence in selecting recipes.

Question: what about John Rankin and HansB - they also seem to be listed 
as maintainers for a lot of extensions?

(C) Eemeli Aro wrote:
> Regarding recipe status, perhaps we need some kind of recommended set
> of terms to use, along with a page giving a slightly longer
> description of each term, as I for example have ended up with a
> perpetual beta for all my recipes since "stable" seems like a rather
> strong term to use.
I think this is a really excellent idea.  At the very least it should be 
possible to distinguish "not for production use" from "probably good 
enough for production use and a couple of people are using it" and 
"running without problems for a year on our huge public site".

(D) Eemeli Aro wrote:
> 2009/8/27 Peter Bowers <pbowers at pobox.com>:
>> > On Thu, Aug 27, 2009 at 11:06 AM, Petko Yotov<5ko at 5ko.fr> wrote:
>>> >> We have discussed such votes/endorsements systems, I hope we'll be able to add
>>> >> one soon. I also hope that users will vote.
>> >
>> > +100 on adding one soon!
>> >
>> > [He said, without much hope and completely in the dark as to why
>> > previous seemingly fruitful discussions on the topic[1] have fallen
>> > flat.]
> Seconding Peter on this. Is it Petko or PM we should be prodding to get this moving?
May I suggest a download count on each recipe?  To my mind this would 
produce valuable information more quickly and with less dependence on 
community participation than a voting scheme.  Combining the two would 
be first prize.


What I'd like to do next is get some feedback on the recipes I listed 
above (Table of Contents .. NotSavedWarning) and use that feedback to 
update http://www.pmwiki.org/wiki/Cookbook/Bundle.   I'm also keen to 
hear any other similar suggestions (generally useful recipes that 
provide functionality common in other Wikis or CMSs).

I also have a notion that the concept of Bundles could be supplemented 
by a FAQ-like list of recommendations, preempting the sort of questions 
that would be asked on this list.  This would be similar to the 
"Questions answered by this recipe" section in each recipe, but focused 
on recommending one of several possible answers.
Q: I want a Table of Contents, what recipe should I use?  A: 
PageTableOfContents is right for most people; it produces a ToC and 
optionally numbered headings...
Q: I want to add an Issue Tracker to my Wiki, what recipe(s) should I 
use? A: ...


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