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ALERT! NOTE: This is a HistoricalDocument topic. It used to be distributed in an earlier TWiki release, but is no longer part of the official TWiki distribution. Post questions, error notes, and suggestions concerning the documentation of this topic in the comments section below! Use the Support web for problems you are having using TWiki.

5-Minute TWiki

This is the crash-course on getting started with TWiki. It's intended to get you started contributing to TWiki as quick as possible (as it should be).

1. Get set...

Open two browser windows, so that you can follow these steps in one window, while trying things out in the other. We'll even do that for you when you click on the link in next step.

2. Register on the site

To edit topics, you need to register on this site.

Go to the Registration Page (link opens new window) to create your TWiki account. When you complete this process, you'll end up at your personal user page. When you get there, look at this page again for the next step.

3. Create your first topic

After registering, you should end up at your user page. Under "My Links" you will see a link that begins with your user name followed by "Sandbox" and a question mark. To create your first topic, simply click on the question mark. Further explanation (if you care):

  • In TWiki, as in many wikis, links are automatically created by what's known as WikiWords. The question mark indicates that this is a link to a potential topic (it doesn't exist yet ).
  • Clicking on the question mark puts you immediately to edit mode on the newly-created topic. In this case, the new topic will be in the "Sandbox" that's intended specifically for playing around with TWiki for learning or testing features.

4. Edit your new topic

You should now be in edit mode your own personal Sandbox topic for playing around, experimenting or whatever you'd like. At the top of the page is the topic name with "edit" in parenthesize above a text box where you do your editing. At the bottom of the page is a summary of the basic formatting rules for creating headings, bold text, italic text , etc.

Go ahead and start writing! Try out some of the different formatting. Remember: you can't break anything, so don't worry & have fun!

When you're finished click on the "Save" button below the text box.

Congratulations: you have successfully created and edited your first wiki topic!

5. Have at it!

Look out world, you're on your wiki-way! Chances are you'll soon realize that there's lot's more fun to be had with TWiki by delving a bit deeper into its many features. Here's some good places from which to launch your further explorations:

  • TextFormattingRules for a full explanation of TWiki's powerful formatting syntax.
  • TWikiTutorial for the 20-minute lesson that covers such useful items as attaching files to topics, getting email updates of topics that have changed, and more.
  • GoodStyle for hints on TWiki-style collaboration.
  • InstalledPlugins for learning how to tap the awesome power of TWiki plugins.


Comments & Questions about this Historical Document Topic

This is my response to what I perceived as a gap in TWiki documentation of a tutorial to get folks started as quickly as possible (as in wiki). TWikiTutorial is OK (although due for a reworking) but 20 minutes is still more than many people are willing to give to get started.

-- LynnwoodBrown - 07 Oct 2004

Thanks Lynnwood. How do you suggest to use this? I'd rather not add yet another getting started (WelcomeGuest, TWikiTutorial, ATasteOfTWiki, TWikiSite, etc), we have already too many. Replace one of them?

-- PeterThoeny - 08 Oct 2004

nice work, lynnwood. screenshots (probably cropped) would be a nice addition (especially pretty ones from a mac wink )

-- WillNorris - 08 Oct 2004

If there is room for all of these tutorials, I would recommend naming them according to the something that descriminates them: e.g. TwentyMinuteOverview FiveMinuteQuickTour

-- MartinCleaver - 08 Oct 2004

Thanks for the feedback! Regarding the question of how this fits into the complete TWiki tutorial package, I don't have a quick answer. Eventually, I feel the package is due for a complete overhaul. In writing QuickStartTutorial, I had in mind something along lines of Martin's suggestion - the time-honored wiki tradition of OneMinuteTWiki, FiveMinuteTWiki, TwentyMinuteTWiki, etc. Am I ready and able to take this on right now? No.

So for now, I'm only offering this up by itself. I wrote it for folks I work with that are already generally sold on the idea and just want to get started using it. Since none of the existing tutorials appeared to me to address this need, I wrote a new one. If others feel the same way, they can copy and use this topic.

When I do get some time to work more on the tutorial package, I'd start with reworking WelcomeGuest by breaking it up into smaller, more digestible pieces with branching options to suit individual interests/learning styles. I'd make the initial topic guest are sent to no more than 3 paragraphs max, plus a list of options. See further comments in WelcomeGuest.

Will - I like the idea of screenshots. I'll give this some more thought.

-- LynnwoodBrown - 08 Oct 2004

Thanks, this is just what we've needed ! (Do I hear an echo in here?) I have a few comments to throw in.

We can never have too many of this kind of starter doc, because everyone thinks different. Yes, displaying them as planned alternatives is a very good idea.

People I've taught seem to be juggling three things simultaneously: [1] new terms=concepts (topic, web, wikiwords and "?", etc), [2] mind map for navigation and general reader learning (topics within webs within TWiki within site; location clues e.g. colours; searching; user registration and login), and [3] learning how to edit topics and/or use the TWiki applications set up for them. The third is ignored while fretting about the first two. Some people even think they can't use the data yet because they're still coming to terms with having to change it!

It might be more comfortable for them to have a safe confidence-building 2 minute reader orientation doc (oh is that all it is, ok, I've got that now), followed by very brief easy editing instructions as a separate chunk (I can add this skill to what is already comfortable). Even power users want to spend some time exploring the existing space before altering it. Where I use TWiki, only 5% need to use the editing instructions and the other 95% use it as a web site that's seen as a little harder to fathom than others (because of being taught about editing, and different terminology, and having to login to view most of our webs).

I'm not real sure what "have at it" means, we never say that here. From the text it would seem to mean have a go, let her rip, or get into it, but we might always run into problems using freindly colloquialisms internationally. It's a pity, they're so reassuring when familiar.

One thing that would be really handy is a picture containing a screen shot with all parts identified with labels and arrows to them, e.g. "this shows you which web you are currently in", "List of all topics in this web, each topic displays as a web page in your browser", "More detailed list of topics", "current revision number and timestamp", "automatic table of contents for this topic", "the person's name is a clickable link to her 'home page' on this TWiki site" ... Of course it differs depending on the skin being used, but once done it's easier to copy the idea for one's own use. Would seeing a different skin (in any type of screen shot) confuse users, though? I'm not sure.

-- SueBlake - 24 Oct 2004

Please use the Support forum if you have questions about TWiki features. This comment section is about the documentation of this topic.
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Topic revision: r10 - 2006-02-04 - PeterThoeny
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