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Announcement: TWiki-6.0.0 Released - Better Usability, Scalability & App Platform

2013-10-22 - 09:07:22 by PeterThoeny in Deployment
TWiki-6.0.0 is released, shipped through the virtual door! This is a major release that has a shiny new dashboard look, brings many usability enhancements, strengthens TWiki as an application platform, and scales to very large deployments with thousands of webs and a tens of thousands of users. The new release can be downloaded from TWiki.org and SourceForge.net. The TWiki-VM, a VMware based virtual machine will be updated shortly.

"Peter Thoeny's concept of the structured wiki has been successful in a variety of environments, most prominently Google, but many others as well. Structured wikis add data in records and grids to be added the shared pages at the foundation of a wiki. This approach, developed to its fullest extent in Twiki, the open-source project Thoeny founded, allows users to take an unstructured data first approach and add structured data as needed."
~ Dan Woods, Forbes.com, 2013-08-12
TWiki's user base consists of millions of users on tens of thousands of installations in over 130 countries, backed by an open source community of hundreds of contributors and 60,000 twiki.org users.

The TWiki community worked hard on this release for two years. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who contributed to this release. Special kudos to Hideyo Imazu and Morgan Stanley team for making the open source TWiki scalable to very large deployments! In all, 95 people are listed in the Jerusalem Hall of Fame. Thank you, Thank You, THANK YOU!

Here are a few feature highlights:

Watch Pages To Keep Yourself In The Loop

watch pulldown
Do you wish you could watch pages like in Wikipedia? The pre-installed WatchlistPlugin is a new addition that adds watchlist feature to TWiki topics. Topics of interest can be watched and unwatched. A user can see recent changes of all watched topics. A user can also subscribe to get e-mail notification of changes, either immediately on each topic save, or in digest mode once a day. The top-menu has a new "Watch" pulldown to watch and unwatch the current topic.

The WatchlistPlugin will eventually replace the MailerContrib, e.g. the current WebNotify based subscription is deprecated and will be retired in a future TWiki release.

New Dashboard Feature

A dashboard comes into play when users need to get an overview of their work and want to navigate quickly to relevant places. The TWikiDashboardAddOn application is designed to give administrators a tool to quickly create dashboards for the intranet home, knowledge base, team homepages, project homepages, and more. The TWiki web homes are now dashboards, and we invite you to use this to prettify your own team homepages and TWiki applications.

A simple dashboard with three tiles is defined as follows:

%DASHBOARD{ section="dashboard_start" }%
%DASHBOARD{ section="box_start" title="Tile 1 title" }%
Tile 1 content
%DASHBOARD{ section="box_end" }%
%DASHBOARD{ section="box_start" title="Tile 2 title" }%
Tile 2 content
%DASHBOARD{ section="box_end" }%
%DASHBOARD{ section="box_start" title="Tile 3 title" }%
Tile 3 content
%DASHBOARD{ section="box_end" }%
%DASHBOARD{ section="dashboard_end" }%
Dashboard screenshot (click to enlarge)
You can add a banner image to spice up your dashboard. TWikiDashboardImages has a collection of over 100 images to chose from.

Three-way replication at Morgan Stanley
Scalability To Very Large Deployments

TWiki has been enhanced to support and manage large site with thousands of users, hundreds of webs, and a million pages:

  • You can enable the MetadataRepository to enumerate webs. If you have thousands of webs, it takes a while to traverse the data directory to find out all webs, which happens e.g. when showing the selection of move destination. MetadataRepository can house additional information for your custom user mapping manager to consume.

  • You can make webs autonomous, which means that each web has its owners, who get full access to the web regardless of access restriction setting. If you have thousands of webs, you may be fed up with web owners asking for help when they lock themselves out by mistake.

  • You can use multiple disks. If you have thousands of webs, all webs may not fit one single disk.

More on managing a large site.

TWiki Variables Wizard

TWiki Variables are text strings - %VARIABLE% or %VARIABLE{ parameter="value" }% - that expand whenever a topic is rendered for viewing. This is used to create dynamic content and TWiki applications. TWiki Variables bring a lot of flexibility to power users. They are a much underutilized feature of TWiki.

In the past many people did not know about TWiki Variables, and it was hard to find the right ones. All TWiki variables are now categorized and a new TWiki Variables wizard makes it much easier to find the right TWiki Variable for a certain task.

A future TWiki release will embed the wizard into the WYSIWYG editor. The goal is to make TWiki Variable selection a simple point and click operation.

Much Better WYSIWYG Editor, Now With Auto-Save

The WYSIWYG editor has been upgrade to the latest TinyMCE-3.5.8. The TML (TWiki Markup Language) to HTML to TML roundtrip translation has been improved - TML content is now much better represented in the WYSIWYG editor.

The new editor also has search & replace, full-screen mode, multiple undo & redo, and an auto-save & restore feature. The latter is handy in case of a browser crash.

Better Application Platform

TWiki applications are a wonderful part of TWiki. They help automate workflows you have at the workplace. As a Structured Wiki, TWiki has a built-in database - use some TML (TWiki Markup Language) to write custom web applications that run in TWiki pages. Add some HTML and JavaScript/jQuery to the mix, and you get sexy looking and usable web applications.

TWiki-6.0 has many feature enhancements that make the Structured Wiki aspect of TWiki more accessible to your user base. The blog post How to Create a TWiki Application is a tutorial to get started. It has been updated with some of the TWiki-6.0 specific features.

For example, TWiki Forms are now auto-detected. You no longer need to declare them in a WEBFORMS setting in the WebPreferences. The form selection has been moved from the edit screen into the "more topic actions" screen to reduce the odds of a user accidentally adding/changing/removing a form.

It is now much easier to create custom forms by using the new EDITFORMFIELD variable.

The SpreadSheetPlugin has been enhanced and now offers 120 functions. Noteworthy is the support for hash variables. For example, in a formatted search that queries a contact database, you can now temporarily store the name, title, address and phone of contacts in hash variables, and then display the data in any format to want.

Want to create applications with social media features? TWiki has now a number of User Reports available to show user data in various formats.

These are just a few of the features that make TWiki a better application platform.

More Feature Highlights

  • Usability Enhancements
    • Upgrade to TinyMCE WYSIWYG editor to version 3.5.8
    • New TOPICTITLE variable for non-WikiWord topic titles
    • Show topic title in square bracket links using [[+TopicName]] syntax
    • Icon bullet lists: Specify any TWiki doc graphics icon as a bullet
    • WebSearch and WebChanges has now search result pagination
    • WebChanges shows topic age instead of topic date
    • Auto-discover TWikiForms, e.g. no need to set in WEBFORMS preferences setting
    • Move change TWiki Form from edit screen to "more topic actions" screen
    • Show link to older versions of attachments in attachment table
    • Automatically link @Twitter handles
    • Add comment section to new topic template
    • Copy/clone topic function in more topic action screen
    • Configurable signatures with profile pictures
    • Open external links in new browser window or tab; show external link icon

  • Scalability Enhancements
    • Read-only and mirror web support for distributed TWiki sites
    • MetadataRepository for site metadata and web metadata to speed up operations across many webs
    • Rename topic operation with option to not replace web internal references
    • Rename web operation can cope with a large site and read-only/mirror webs
    • Introducing web-level administrator for higher web autonomy; web specific WIKIWEBMASTER
    • Support for multiple disk drives for data and pub directories

  • TWiki Application Platform Enhancements
    • New EDITFORMFIELD variable to easily create custom forms to create/change topics with TWiki Forms
    • Add rev parameter to FORMFIELD variable
    • New combobox TWiki Form field type
    • New ENTITY variable to entity encode content
    • Add createdate, default, encode parameters to SEARCH variable
    • SEARCH variable with sort by parent feature
    • SEARCH variable extended to make results pagination possible
    • Add encode, newline, nofinalnewline, allowanytype to INCLUDE variable
    • Add subwebs and depth parameters to WEBLIST variable
    • Add section parameter to ADDTOHEAD variable
    • Add encode and decode functions to TWiki::Func
    • Add LWP parameters to TWiki::Func::getExternalResource
    • Conditional Skin based on group membership and other criteria
    • Finer-control variable expansion in topic creation
    • Add topic parameter to VAR variable to get settings defined in another topic
    • Add raw parameter to INCLUDE variable to include a topic in the raw mode

  • Security Enhancements
    • Support for an implicit "all users" group
    • Empty DENY setting means undefined setting
    • Dynamic access control (experimental)
    • Upgrade support for secure email notification
    • Restrict HTTP variable to not reveal certain header fields
    • User masquerading to check if access restriction is working as expected for another user
    • Disable XSS Protection for JavaScript

  • Miscellaneous Feature Enhancements
    • CGI Engine to be made Fast CGI compatible
    • Empty IF condition to be regarded valid and false
    • Add seconds to the timestamp in debug/log/warn
    • Viewing topic text with variables expanded
    • WEBLIST canmoveto and cancopyto
    • Add viewRedirectHandler callback to plugins API
    • No such topic, no such web, access denied are done right
      • Return "404 Not Found" status for topic not found instead of 200 OK status
      • Return "404 Not Found" status and show "No Such Web" page title for no such web without redirecting to an oops URL titled "Access Denied"
      • Return "403 Access Denied" status for access denied without redirecting to an oops URL whose status code is "200 OK"
    • Statistics enhancements to show most viewed webs, most updated webs, most popular webs, top viewers, # of unique users who viewed, saved, and uploaded on the web/site, affiliation breakdown
    • Specifying webs to be excluded from WebStatistics update
    • Statistics topics can be annualized to e.g. WebStatistics2013, WebStatistics2014. This prevents statistics topics from growing indefinitely
    • For paragraphs generate <p>...</p> instead of <p/>
    • 20 new TWikiDocGraphics icons Analyze Control panel Counter Factory Transparent LED Minus node graph Minus node graph right Minus node graph up-down-right Minus node graph up-right Plus node graph Plus node graph right Plus node graph up-down-right Plus node graph up-right Opportunity Pick Phone extension Toll-free Phone Switch off Switch on Watchlist

To learn more:

How You Can Help: Spread the Word!

Word of mouth is an effective way to spread TWiki - we appreciate your help tremendously! More exposure means more contributions, and a better system! Please spread the word in Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, blogs etc. You can point your connections to this blog post at http://twiki.org/cgi-bin/view/Blog/BlogEntry201310x1 - short link http://bit.ly/twRel600

Sample tweet you could use:

New TWiki-6.0 release for enterprise collaboration & apps: Get. Work. Done. http://bit.ly/twRel600 #socbiz #e20 #enterprise #wiki

TWiki keeps getting better and better thanks to the community. Please let us know in the comments below what you think of this new release!

Peter Thoeny - founder of TWiki.org



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Topic revision: r6 - 2014-03-05 - PeterThoeny

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