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TWiki.TWikiAdminCookBookr1.3 - 15 Aug 2004 - 09:12 - PeterThoenytopic end

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TWiki Admin Cook Book

This page has many tips and tricks, particularly useful when you're installing TWiki for the first time. This guide is most useful before or immediately following a TWiki installation!

See also:

  • InstantEnhancements - how to easily enhance a default TWiki using only your browser. Each item is designed to be quickly implemented.
  • TWiki:Codev.UsabilityIdeas - has additional useful ideas.


During Installation

Rename Main web to User web

You can rename the Main web to User. It will make WikiWord links to usernames more meaningful (User.UserName instead of Main.UserName); but does not bring much gain for other types of topics like (User.EngineeringGroup or User.TokyoOffice). Just rename data/Main to data/User, and change $mainWebname variable in lib/TWiki.cfg file. Signatures in all existing topics need to be fixed as well.

See also TWiki:Codev.RenameMainWebToHome, TWiki:Codev.RenameTheMainWeb, TWiki:Codev.SeparateHowtoWeb for arguments pro and con.

Help with remembering passwords

Users keep Forgetting Passwords (see TWiki:Codev.ForgettingPasswords ). When demonstrating TWiki to new users and/or helping them with TWikiRegistration, do not forget to show the user how to use the "remember my password" feature in their browser.

A quick way to check the guest password is to view the .htaccess file.

AuthName 'TWiki UserName (i.e. TWikiGuest/guest)'


Before First Presentation

Tips about first presentation -- ATasteOfTWiki is a handy presentation you can give to your users. Read also TWiki:Main.TWikiCourseOutlineExample and TWiki:Codev.HowToGetInternalBuyInForTWiki. The TWiki:Codev.TWikiPresentation05Aug2004 talk given by TWiki:Main.PeterThoeny during LinuxWorld gives some background on TWiki collaboration.

How to build participation: read WikiOrg?:TipsForSiteOperators - advice directly from Ward Cunningham, author of Wiki concept and first Wiki.

Consider installing #CommentPlugin and #SlideShowPlugin before your first demo.

Simplify menu in page templates

How to get nice pages with simpler menu options for beginners

A Skin is TWiki's way to present different system-generated formats (like header/footer/sidebar menu) and exactly the same information from the page body (see TWikiSkins). The "Classic" TWiki skin is oriented towards advanced power users. Newbies may feel overwhelmed by the number of options. Many simpler custom skins are in development at TWiki:Plugins.WebHome. Consider using a simpler custom skin to make a better "first impression": TWiki is simple to use.

There is currently a discussion at TWiki:Codev.SimplerDefaultTemplates about simpler default template for TWiki:Codev.SimplerTWikiDistribution.

Customize tutorial for beginners

Select simpler skin and customize beginner's help topics accordingly.


Ongoing admin tasks

Admin Tools

AdminTools has most of the tools you need to administer a TWiki site - on one page. You can link it from SiteMap.


Best of Plugins

With more than 100 TWiki plugins (and counting), there are a lot to choose from. Plugins are mainly contributed by TWiki users who are software developers. Plugins are a relatively new TWiki addition, so there are fewer established standards than for the core TWiki code. This means that not all plugins are equal in ease of installation, operation, or compatibility with each other. Here are selected plugins that are reliable, easy-to-use and offer basic enhanced functionality.

CommentPlugin -- TWiki:Plugins.CommentPlugin

User-friendly alternative of Edit, without losing Wiki spirit. Comments can be entered in a conventional Web form style with a text box and a submit button. This is all displayed on a TWiki page without having to use TWiki's Edit. Text added appears exactly as if edited normally, and topic can be edited also using the full TWiki Edit. This is useful to encourage participation among your users who are not yet comfortable with TWiki capabilities.

SlideShowPlugin -- TWiki:Plugins.SlideShowPlugin

This Plugin allows you to convert topics with headings into web based presentations. This is a useful alternative to PowerPoint, especially if you need to link to related content.

SpreadSheetPlugin -- TWiki:Plugins.SpreadSheetPlugin

This Plugin allows you to add spreadsheet calculation like "$SUM( $ABOVE() )" to tables located in TWiki topics.

TablePlugin -- TWiki:Plugins.TablePlugin

A must-have, this Plugin allows you to control attributes of tables and sorting of table columns.

TopicVarsPlugin -- TWiki:Plugins.TopicVarsPlugin

This lets you create variables, like a graphics icon library, in any topic - instead of only in WebPreferences - and refer to them from other topics within the same web.


TWiki-based applications

  • Simple workflow application: TWiki:Sandbox.ItemToDo
  • Simple inventory system with filtering capabilities: TWiki:Main.TWikiInstallation
  • Simple change request application: TWiki:Sandbox.ChangeRequest
  • Extended SEARCH capabilities: TWiki:Codev.SearchWithAnd


Please add your favorite TWiki tips/trick to TWiki:TWiki.TWikiAdminCookBook to help the next new TWiki admin. (One BIG area: include pages of implemented basic SEARCHes, like, to generate a straight TOPICS list (alphabetical web topic titles only); also, simple combos of forms + search, like one- and two-category forms to use to classify pages, and then searches to find and display in few useful formats; more in that general area.)

Contributors: TWiki:Main.GrantBow, TWiki:Main.JonReid, TWiki:Main.MikeMannix, TWiki:Main.MikeMaurer, TWiki:Main.PeterMasiar, TWiki:Main.PeterThoeny
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