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TWiki Templates

Definition of the templates used to render all HTML pages displayed in TWiki

Overview

The new modular template system offers flexible, easy control over the layout of all TWiki pages. The master template approach groups parts that are shared by several templates - like headers and footers - in a common file. Special variables allow individual layouts to include parts from a master template - variables are mixed with regular HTML markup for template-specific content. Templates are used to define page layout, and also to supply default content for new pages.

Major changes from the previous template system

Where the old templates were each complete HTML documents, the new templates are defined using variables to include template parts from a master file. You can now change one instance of a common element to update all occurrences; previously, every affected template had to be updated. This simplifies the conversion of templates into XHTML format, and provides a more versatile solution for templates and for TWikiSkins. The new system:

How Template Variables Work

Types of Template

There are three types of template:

Master Templates

Common parts, appearing in two or more templates, can be defined in a master template and then shared by others: twiki.tmpl is the default master template.

Template variable: Defines:
%TMPL:DEF{"sep"}% "|" separator
%TMPL:DEF{"htmldoctype"}% Start of all HTML pages
%TMPL:DEF{"standardheader"}% Standard header (ex: view, index, search)
%TMPL:DEF{"simpleheader"}% Simple header with reduced links (ex: edit, attach, oops)
%TMPL:DEF{"standardfooter"}% Footer, excluding revision and copyright parts
%TMPL:DEF{"oops"}% Skeleton of oops dialog

HTML Page Templates

TWiki uses HTML template files for all actions, like topic view, edit, and preview. This allows you to change the look and feel of all pages by editing just a few template files.

Templates are stored either in the twiki/templates directory or in user topics. As an example, twiki/templates/view.tmpl is the template file for the twiki/bin/view script.

HELP Templates can be overloaded by individual webs.

HELP TWikiSkins can overload the standard templates.

TWiki uses the following search order to determine which template to use:

If a skin is specified up If no skin is specified
templates/script.skin.tmpl templates/script.tmpl
templates/%WEB%/script.skin.tmpl templates/%WEB%/script.tmpl
data/TWiki/SkinSkinScriptTemplate.txt data/TWiki/ScriptTemplate.txt
data/%WEB%/SkinSkinScriptTemplate.txt data/%WEB%/ScriptTemplate.txt
Legend:
script refers to the script name, e.g view, edit
Script refers to the same, but with the first character capitalized, e.g View
skin refers to the skin name, e.g dragon, pattern
Skin refers to the same, but with the first character capitalized, e.g Dragon
%WEB% refers to the current web

Additionally (and primarily for use in %TMPL:INCLUDE{}%) the template name may be a wiki topic name, specified as Web.Topic, in which case the search is:

If a skin is specified If no skin is specified
templates/web/Web.Topic.skin.tmpl templates/web/Web.Topic.tmpl
templates/Web.Topic.skin.tmpl templates/Web.Topic.tmpl
data/Web/Topic.txt
If Web is not specified in the INCLUDE, it defaults to TWiki, and the search to the first type.

Special variables are used in templates, especially in view, to display meta data.

Template Topics

Template topics define the default text for new topics. There are three types of template topic:

Topic Name: What it is:
WebTopicViewTemplate Error page shown when you try to view a nonexistent topic
WebTopicNonWikiTemplate Alert page shown when you try to view a nonexistent topic with a non-WikiName
WebTopicEditTemplate Default text shown when you create a new topic.
All template topics are located in the TWiki web. The WebTopicEditTemplate can be overloaded. When you create a new topic, TWiki locates a topic to use as a content template according to the following search order:

  1. A topic name specified by the templatetopic CGI parameter.
  2. WebTopicEditTemplate in the current web
  3. WebTopicEditTemplate in the TWiki web

Edit Template Topics and Variable Expansion

The following variables get expanded when a user creates a new topic based on a template topic:

Variable: Description:
%DATE% Current date, e.g. 30 Aug 2014
%USERNAME% Login name, e.g. jsmith
%WIKINAME% WikiName of user, e.g. JohnSmith
%WIKIUSERNAME% User name, e.g. Main.JohnSmith
%URLPARAM{"name"}% Value of a named URL parameter
%NOP% A no-operation variable that gets removed. Useful to prevent a SEARCH from hitting an edit template topic; also useful to escape a variable like %URLPARAM%NOP%{...}%
%NOP{ ... }% A no-operation text that gets removed. Useful to write-protect an edit template topic, but not the topics based this template topic. See notes below. Example:
%NOP{
   * Set ALLOWTOPICCHANGE = Main.TWikiAdminGroup
}%

Notes:

All other variables are unchanged, e.g. are carried over "as is" into the new topic.

Template Topics in Action

Here is an example for creating new topics based on a specific template topic:

The above form asks for a topic name. A hidden input tag named templatetopic specifies ExampleTopicTemplate as the template topic to use. Here is the HTML source of the form:

<form name="new" action="%SCRIPTURLPATH%/edit%SCRIPTSUFFIX%/%INTURLENCODE{"%WEB%"}%/">
   * New example topic: 
     <input type="text" name="topic" value="ExampleTopic%SERVERTIME{$yearx$mox$day}%" size="23" />
     <input type="hidden" name="templatetopic" value="ExampleTopicTemplate" />
     <input type="hidden" name="topicparent" value="%TOPIC%" />
     <input type="hidden" name="onlywikiname" value="on" />
     <input type="hidden" name="onlynewtopic" value="on" />
     <input type="submit" value="Create" />
     (date format is <nop>YYYYxMMxDD)
</form>

The edit scipt understands the following parameters, typically supplied by HTML input fields:

Parameter: Description:
topic Name of topic to create. Can be set in a text field, or is set programmatically (e.g. with a sequential number)
onlywikiname If set, TWiki will complain if the topic name is not a WikiWord
onlynewtopic If set, TWiki will complain if a topic of the same name already exists
templatetopic The name of the template topic, e.g. topic used to copy the initial content
topicparent Sets the parent topic
TopicClassification Assuming the template topic has a form with a field called "TopicClassification", it will set the value of the field
contenttype Optional parameter that defines the application type to write into the CGI header. Defaults to text/html. May be used to invoke alternative client applications
anyname Any parameter can passed to the new topic; if the template topic contains %URLPARAM{"anyname"}%, it will be replaced by its value

TIP TIP: You can use the %WIKIUSERNAME% and %DATE% variables in your topic templates to include the signature of the person creating a new topic. The variables are expanded into fixed text when a new topic is created. The standard signature is:
-- %WIKIUSERNAME% - %DATE%

Templates by Example

Attached is an example of an oops based template oopsbase.tmpl and an example oops dialog oopstest.tmpl based on the base template. %A% NOTE: This isn't the release version, just a quick, simple demo.

Base template oopsbase.tmpl

The first line declares a delimiter variable called "sep", used to separate multiple link items. The variable can be called anywhere by writing %TMPL:P{"sep"}%

%TMPL:DEF{"sep"}% | %TMPL:END%
<html>
<head>
  <title> %WIKITOOLNAME% . %WEB% . %TOPIC% %.TMPL:P{"titleaction"}%</title>
  <base href="%SCRIPTURL%/view%SCRIPTSUFFIX%/%WEB%/%TOPIC%">
  <meta name="robots" content="noindex">
</head>
<body bgcolor="#FFFFFF">
<table width="100%" border="0" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="0">
  <tr>
    <td bgcolor="%WEBBGCOLOR%" rowspan="2" valign="top" width="1%">
      <a href="%WIKIHOMEURL%">
      <img src="%PUBURLPATH%/wikiHome.gif" border="0"></a>
    </td>
    <td>
      <b>%WIKITOOLNAME% . %WEB% . </b><font size="+2">
      <B>%TOPIC%</b> %TMPL:P{"titleaction"}%</font>
    </td>
  </tr>
  <tr bgcolor="%WEBBGCOLOR%">
    <td colspan="2">
      %TMPL:P{"webaction"}%
    </td>
  </tr>
</table>
--- ++ %TMPL:P{"heading"}%
%TMPL:P{"message"}%
<table width="100%" border="0" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="0">
  <tr bgcolor="%WEBBGCOLOR%">
    <td valign="top">
      Topic <b>%TOPIC%</b> . {
        %TMPL:P{"topicaction"}%
      }
    </td>
  </tr>
</table>
</body>

Test template oopstest.tmpl

Each oops template basically just defines some variables and includes the base template that does the layout work.

%TMPL:DEF{"titleaction"}% (test =titleaction=) %TMPL:END%
%TMPL:DEF{"webaction"}% test =webaction= %TMPL:END%
%TMPL:DEF{"heading"}%
Test heading %TMPL:END%
%TMPL:DEF{"message"}%
Test =message=. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah...

   * Some more blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah...
   * Param1: %PARAM1%
   * Param2: %PARAM2%
   * Param3: %PARAM3%
   * Param4: %PARAM4%
%TMPL:END%
%TMPL:DEF{"topicaction"}%
Test =topicaction=:
[[%WEB%.%TOPIC%][OK]] %TMPL:P{"sep"}%
[[%TWIKIWEB%.TWikiRegistration][Register]] %TMPL:END%
%TMPL:INCLUDE{"oopsbase"}%

Sample screen shot of oopstest.tmpl

With URL: .../bin/oops/Sandbox/TestTopic2?template=oopstest&param1=WebHome&param2=WebNotify

testscreen.gif

Known Issues

-- TWiki:Main.CrawfordCurrie - 30 Jun 2004
-- TWiki:Main.PeterThoeny - 15 Aug 2004
-- TWiki:Main.MikeMannix - 14 Sep 2001
-- TWiki:Main.DavidLeBlanc - 11 Mar 2002