Difference: TWikiPlugins (13 vs. 14)

Revision 142001-09-15 - MikeMannix

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TWiki Plugins

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Plugin use and development; about the Plugin API.
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Plug-in enhanced feature add-ons, with a Plugin API for developers
 

Overview

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You can add Plugins to greatly extend TWiki's functionality, without alering the program core. With a plug-in approach, you can:
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You can add Plugins to extend TWiki's functionality, without altering the core program code. With a plug-in approach, you can:
 
  • add virtually unlimited features while keeping the main TWiki code compact and efficient;
  • heavily customize an installation and still do clean updates to new versions of TWiki;
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  • EmptyPlugin is a fully functional module, minus active code; it does nothing and serves as a template for new Plugin development.
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  • InterwikiPlugin is preinstalled but can be disabled or removed. Use it for quick linking to to remote sites: TWiki:Plugins expands to TWiki:Plugins on TWiki.org. You can add your own shortcuts and URLs to the existing directory of Wiki-related and other probably useful sites.
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  • InterwikiPlugin is preinstalled but can be disabled or removed. Use it for quick linking to to remote sites: TWiki:Plugins expands to TWiki:Plugins on TWiki.org. You can add your own shortcuts and URLs to the existing directory of Wiki-related and other probably useful sites.
 

Installing Plugins

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  Special Requests: Some Plugins need certain Perl modules to be preinstalled on the host system. Plugins may also use other resources, like graphics, other modules, applications, templates. In these cases, detailed instructions are in the Plugin documentation.
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Each Plugin has a standard release page, located in the TWiki:Plugins web at TWiki.org. In addition to the documentation topic (SomePlugin), there's a separate development page.
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Each Plugin has a standard release page, located in the TWiki:Plugins web at TWiki.org. In addition to the documentation topic (SomePlugin), there's a separate development page.
 
  • Doc page: Read all available info about the Plugin; download the attached distribution files.
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  • Dev page: Post feature requests, bug reports and general dev comments; topic title ends in Dev (SomePluginDev).
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  • Dev page: Post feature requests, bug reports and general dev comments; topic title ends in Dev (SomePluginDev).
 
  • User support: Post installation, how to use type questions (and answers, if you have them) in the TWiki:Support web.

On-Site Pretesting

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 To test new Plugins on your installation before making them public, you may want to use one of these two approaches:

  • Method 1: Create Production and a Test installation of TWiki.
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    • Duplicate the twiki/bin and twiki/lib directories for the Test version, adjusting the paths in the new lib/TWiki.cfg, the twiki/data; the twiki/templates and twiki/pub directories are shared.
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    • Duplicate the twiki/bin and twiki/lib directories for the Test version, adjusting the paths in the new lib/TWiki.cfg, the twiki/data; the twiki/templates and twiki/pub directories are shared.
 
    • Test Plugins and other new features in the Test installation until you're satisfied.
    • Copy the modified files to the Production installation. You can update a live TWiki installation and users won't even notice.
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  • Method 2: List the Plugin under Test in the DISABLEDPLUGINS variable in TWikiPreferences. Redefine the DISABLEDPLUGINS variable in the Test web and do the testing there.
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  • Method 2: List the Plugin under Test in the DISABLEDPLUGINS variable in TWikiPreferences. Redefine the DISABLEDPLUGINS variable in the Test web and do the testing there.
 

Managing Plugins

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  Installed Plugins can be toggled on or off, site-wide or by web, through TWikiPreferences and individual WebPreferences:
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  • All Plugin modules present in the lib/TWiki/Plugins directory are activated automatically unless disabled by the DISABLEDPLUGINS Preferences variable in TWikiPreferences. You can optionally list the installed Plugins in the INSTALLEDPLUGINS Preferences variable. This is useful to define the sequence of Plugin execution, or to specify other webs than the TWiki web for the Plugin topics. Settings in TWikiPreferences are:
    • Set INSTALLEDPLUGINS = DefaultPlugin, ...
    • Set DISABLEDPLUGINS = EmptyPlugin, ...
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  • All Plugin modules present in the lib/TWiki/Plugins directory are activated automatically unless disabled by the DISABLEDPLUGINS Preferences variable in TWikiPreferences. You can optionally list the installed Plugins in the INSTALLEDPLUGINS Preferences variable. This is useful to define the sequence of Plugin execution, or to specify other webs than the TWiki web for the Plugin topics. Settings in TWikiPreferences are:
    • Set INSTALLEDPLUGINS = DefaultPlugin, ...
    • Set DISABLEDPLUGINS = EmptyPlugin, ...
 
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Plugin execution order in TWiki is determined by searching Plugin topics in a specific sequence: First, full web.topicname name, if specified in INSTALLEDPLUGINS; next, the TWiki web is searched; and finally, the current web.
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Plugin execution order in TWiki is determined by searching Plugin topics in a specific sequence: First, full web.topicname name, if specified in INSTALLEDPLUGINS; next, the TWiki web is searched; and finally, the current web.
  Plugin-specific settings are done in individual Plugin topics. Two settings are standard for each Plugin:
  1. One line description, used to form the bullets describing the Plugins in the TextFormattingRules topic:
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    • Set SHORTDESCRIPTION = Blah blah woof woof.
  1. Debug Plugin, output can be seen in data/debug.txt. Set to 0=off or 1=on:
    • Set DEBUG = 0
  • The settings can be retrieved as Preferences variables like %<pluginname>_<var>%, ex: %DEFAULTPLUGIN_SHORTDESCRIPTION% shows the description of the DefaultPlugin.
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    • Set SHORTDESCRIPTION = Blah blah woof woof.
  1. Debug Plugin, output can be seen in data/debug.txt. Set to 0=off or 1=on:
    • Set DEBUG = 0
  • The settings can be retrieved as Preferences variables like %<pluginname>_<var>%, ex: %DEFAULTPLUGIN_SHORTDESCRIPTION% shows the description of the DefaultPlugin.
 

Listing Active Plugins

Plugin status variables let you list all active Plugins wherever needed. There are two list formats:

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  • The %ACTIVATEDPLUGINS% variable lists activated Plugins by name. (This variable is displayed in TWikiPreferences for debugging use.)
  • The %PLUGINDESCRIPTIONS% variable displays a bullet list with a one-line description of each active Plugins. This variable is based on the %<plugin>_SHORTDESCRIPTION% Preferences variables of individual topics and is shown in TextFormattingRules.
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  • The %ACTIVATEDPLUGINS% variable lists activated Plugins by name. (This variable is displayed in TWikiPreferences for debugging use.)
  • The %PLUGINDESCRIPTIONS% variable displays a bullet list with a one-line description of each active Plugins. This variable is based on the %<plugin>_SHORTDESCRIPTION% Preferences variables of individual topics and is shown in TextFormattingRules.
 
DEMO: Active Plugin Variables
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%ACTIVATEDPLUGINS%
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%ACTIVATEDPLUGINS%
 On this TWiki site, the active Plugins are: SpreadSheetPlugin, BackupRestorePlugin, BatchUploadPlugin, ColorPickerPlugin, CommentPlugin, DatePickerPlugin, EditRowPlugin, EditTablePlugin, HeadlinesPlugin, ImageGalleryPlugin, InterwikiPlugin, JQueryPlugin, LinkOptionsPlugin, PreferencesPlugin, SetGetPlugin, SlideShowPlugin, SmiliesPlugin, TablePlugin, TagMePlugin, TinyMCEPlugin, TwistyPlugin, WatchlistPlugin, WysiwygPlugin.
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%PLUGINDESCRIPTIONS%
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%PLUGINDESCRIPTIONS%
 You can use any of these active TWiki Plugins:
  • SpreadSheetPlugin (2013-10-10, $Rev: 26482 (2013-10-14) $): Add spreadsheet calculation like "$SUM( $ABOVE() )" to TWiki tables or anywhere in topic text
  • BackupRestorePlugin (2013-02-16, $Rev: 25448 (2013-10-14) $): Administrator utility to backup, restore and upgrade a TWiki site
  • BatchUploadPlugin (1.4, $Rev: 17006 (12 Dec 2008) $): Attach multiple files at once by uploading a zip archive
  • ColorPickerPlugin (2013-02-15, $Rev: 25074 (2013-10-14) $): Color picker, packaged for use in TWiki forms and TWiki applications
  • CommentPlugin (2013-02-10, $Rev: 24977 (2013-10-14) $): Quickly post comments to a page without an edit/preview/save cycle
  • DatePickerPlugin (2013-09-04, $Rev: 26272 (2013-10-14) $): Pop-up calendar with date picker, for use in TWiki forms, HTML forms and TWiki plugins
  • EditRowPlugin (2011-01-20, $Rev: 20282 (2011-01-20) $): Inline edit for tables
  • EditTablePlugin (2013-01-13, $Rev: 25108 (2013-10-14) $): Edit TWiki tables using edit fields, date pickers and drop down boxes
  • HeadlinesPlugin (2013-02-16, $Rev: 25104 (2013-10-14) $): Show headline news in TWiki pages based on RSS and ATOM news feeds from external sites
  • ImageGalleryPlugin (2011-07-21i - v3.74, $Rev: 21797 (2011-07-21) $): Show image gallery with auto-generated thumbnails from attachments
  • InterwikiPlugin (2013-02-12, $Rev: 25126 (2013-10-14) $): Text ExternalSite:Page links to a page on an external site based on aliases defined in a rules topic
  • JQueryPlugin (2013-09-28, $Rev: 26439 (2013-10-14) $): jQuery JavaScript library for TWiki
  • LinkOptionsPlugin (2010-12-11, $Rev: 19934 (2010-12-11) $): Extends the "Forced Specific Links" syntax [[URL or TopicName][Link Text][Options]]
  • PreferencesPlugin (2013-09-08, $Rev: 26286 (2013-10-14) $): Allows editing of preferences using fields predefined in a form
  • SetGetPlugin (2013-01-28, $Rev: 24822 (2013-10-14) $): Set and get variables in topics, optionally persistently across topic views
  • SlideShowPlugin (2013-04-07, $Rev: 25715 (2013-10-14) $): Create web based presentations based on topics with headings.
  • SmiliesPlugin (2013-01-13, $Rev: 24784 (2013-10-14) $): Render smilies as icons, like  :-)  as smile or  :eek:  as eek!
  • TWikiNetSkinPlugin: (disabled)
  • TablePlugin (2013-09-25, $Rev: 26425 (2013-10-14) $): Control attributes of tables and sorting of table columns
  • TagMePlugin (2013-03-12, $Rev: 25778 (2013-10-14) $): Tag wiki content collectively to find content by keywords
  • TinyMCEPlugin (2013-09-18, $Rev: 26397 (2013-10-14) $): Integration of the Tiny MCE WYSIWYG Editor
  • TwistyPlugin (2013-03-22, $Rev: 25508 (2013-10-14) $): Twisty section JavaScript library to open/close content dynamically
  • WatchlistPlugin (2013-09-15, $Rev: 26361 (2013-10-14) $): Watch topics of interest and get notified of changes by e-mail
  • WysiwygPlugin (2013-09-18, $Rev: 26391 (2013-10-14) $): Translator framework for WYSIWYG editors
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Available Core Functions

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The lib/TWiki/Func.pm implements ALL official Plugin functions. Plugins should ONLY use functions published in this module.
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The lib/TWiki/Func.pm implements ALL official Plugin functions. Plugins should ONLY use functions published in this module.
 
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DevALERT: If you use functions not in Func.pm, you run the risk of creating security holes. Also, your Plugin will likely break and require updating when you upgrade to a new version of TWiki.
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DevALERT: If you use functions not in Func.pm, you run the risk of creating security holes. Also, your Plugin will likely break and require updating when you upgrade to a new version of TWiki.
 
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  • For best performance, enable only the functions you really need. NOTE: outsidePREHandler and insidePREHandler are particularly expensive.
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  • For best performance, enable only the functions you really need. NOTE: outsidePREHandler and insidePREHandler are particularly expensive.
 

Predefined Hooks

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In addition to TWiki core functions, Plugins can use predefined hooks, or call backs, listed in the lib/TWiki/Plugins/EmptyPlugin.pm module.
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In addition to TWiki core functions, Plugins can use predefined hooks, or call backs, listed in the lib/TWiki/Plugins/EmptyPlugin.pm module.
 
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  • All but the initPlugin are disabled. To enable a call back, remove DISABLE_ from the function name.
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  • All but the initPlugin are disabled. To enable a call back, remove DISABLE_ from the function name.
 

Plugin Version Detection

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To eliminate the incompatibility problems bound to arise from active open Plugin development, a Plugin versioning system and an API GetVersion detection routine are provided for automatic compatibility checking.
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To eliminate the incompatibility problems bound to arise from active open Plugin development, a Plugin versioning system and an API GetVersion detection routine are provided for automatic compatibility checking.
 
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  • All modules require a $VERSION='0.000' variable, beginning at 1.000.
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  • All modules require a $VERSION='0.000' variable, beginning at 1.000.
 
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  • The initPlugin handler should check all dependencies and return TRUE if the initialization is OK or FALSE if something went wrong.
    • The Plugin initialization code does not register a Plugin that returns FALSE (or that has no initPlugin handler).
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  • The initPlugin handler should check all dependencies and return TRUE if the initialization is OK or FALSE if something went wrong.
    • The Plugin initialization code does not register a Plugin that returns FALSE (or that has no initPlugin handler).
 
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Creating Plugins

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  A basic TWiki Plugin consists of two elements:
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  • a Perl module, ex: MyFirstPlugin.pm
  • a documentation topic, ex: MyFirstPlugin.txt
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  • a Perl module, ex: MyFirstPlugin.pm
  • a documentation topic, ex: MyFirstPlugin.txt
  The Perl module can be a block of code that connects with TWiki alone, or it can include other elements, like other Perl modules (including other Plugins), graphics, TWiki templates, external applications (ex: a Java applet), or just about anything else it can call.
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In particular, files that should be web-accessible (graphics, Java applets ...) are best placed as attachments of the MyFirstPlugin topic. Other needed Perl code is best placed in a lib/TWiki/Plugins/MyFirstPlugin/ directory.
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In particular, files that should be web-accessible (graphics, Java applets ...) are best placed as attachments of the MyFirstPlugin topic. Other needed Perl code is best placed in a lib/TWiki/Plugins/MyFirstPlugin/ directory.
  The Plugin API handles the details of connecting your Perl module with main TWiki code. When you're familiar with the Plugin API, you're ready to develop Plugins.

Creating the Perl Module

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Copy file lib/TWiki/Plugins/EmptyPlugin.pm to <name>Plugin.pm. EmptyPlugin.pm contains no executable code, so it does nothing, but it's ready to be used. Customize it. Refer to the Plugin API specs for more information.
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Copy file lib/TWiki/Plugins/EmptyPlugin.pm to <name>Plugin.pm. EmptyPlugin.pm contains no executable code, so it does nothing, but it's ready to be used. Customize it. Refer to the Plugin API specs for more information.
 

Writing the Documentation Topic

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Packaging for Distribution

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A minimum Plugin release consists of a Perl module with a WikiName that ends in Plugin, ex: MyFirstPlugin.pm, and a documentation page with the same name(MyFirstPlugin.txt).
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A minimum Plugin release consists of a Perl module with a WikiName that ends in Plugin, ex: MyFirstPlugin.pm, and a documentation page with the same name(MyFirstPlugin.txt).
 
  1. Distribute the Plugin files in a directory structure that mirrors TWiki. If your Plugin uses additional files, include them ALL:
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    • lib/TWiki/Plugins/MyFirstPlugin.pm
    • data/TWiki/MyFirstPlugin.txt
    • pub/TWiki/MyFirstPlugin/uparrow.gif [a required graphic]
  1. Create a zip archive with the Plugin name (MyFirstPlugin.zip) and add the entire directory structure from Step 1. The archive should look like this:
    • lib/TWiki/Plugins/MyFirstPlugin.pm
    • data/TWiki/MyFirstPlugin.txt
    • pub/TWiki/MyFirstPlugin/uparrow.gif
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    • lib/TWiki/Plugins/MyFirstPlugin.pm
    • data/TWiki/MyFirstPlugin.txt
    • pub/TWiki/MyFirstPlugin/uparrow.gif [a required graphic]
  1. Create a zip archive with the Plugin name (MyFirstPlugin.zip) and add the entire directory structure from Step 1. The archive should look like this:
    • lib/TWiki/Plugins/MyFirstPlugin.pm
    • data/TWiki/MyFirstPlugin.txt
    • pub/TWiki/MyFirstPlugin/uparrow.gif
 

Publishing for Public Use

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You can release your tested, packaged Plugin to the TWiki community through the TWiki:Plugins web, where all Plugins submitted to TWiki.org are available for download and further development discussion. Publish your Plugin in three steps:
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You can release your tested, packaged Plugin to the TWiki community through the TWiki:Plugins web. All Plugins submitted to TWiki.org are available for download and further development in TWiki:Plugins. Publish your Plugin in three steps:
 
  1. Post the Plugin documentation topic in the TWiki:Plugins web:
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  1. Attach the distribution zip file to the topic, ex: MyFirstPlugin.zip.
  2. Link from the doc page to a new, blank page named after the Plugin, and ending in Dev, ex: MyFirstPluginDev. This is the discussion page for future development. (User support for Plugins is handled in TWiki:Support.)
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  1. Attach the distribution zip file to the topic, ex: MyFirstPlugin.zip
  2. Link from the doc page to a new, blank page named after the Plugin, and ending in Dev, ex: MyFirstPluginDev. This is the discussion page for future development. (User support for Plugins is handled in TWiki:Support.)
  -- AndreaSterbini - 29 May 2001
-- MikeMannix - 01 Sep 2001
 
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