Difference: TWikiPlugins (11 vs. 12)

Revision 122001-09-07 - MikeMannix

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TWiki Plugins

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TWiki Plugins

  Plugin use and development; about the Plugin API.
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Overview

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Overview

  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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  Everything to do with TWiki Plugins - demos, new releases, downloads, development, general discussion - is available at TWiki.org, in the TWiki.org Plugins web.
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Preinstalled Plugins

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Preinstalled Plugins

  TWiki comes with three Plugins as part of the standard installation.
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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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Installing Plugins

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Installing Plugins

  Each TWikiPlugin comes with full documentation: step-by-step installation instructions, a detailed description of any special requirements, version details, and a working example for testing.
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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.
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On-Site Pretesting

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On-Site Pretesting

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

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Managing Plugins

  Ideally, after you've installed a Plugin, just read the instructions and you're set. In fact, some Plugins require additional settings or offer extra options that you can modify on Preferences pages. You may want to make a Plugin available only in certain webs, or temporarily disable it. And having to list all available Plugins will probably come up. You can handle all of these with simple procedures.
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Setting Preferences

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Setting Preferences

  Installed Plugins can be toggled on or off, site-wide or by web, through TWikiPreferences and individual WebPreferences:
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    • 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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Listing Active Plugins

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Listing Active Plugins

  Plugin status variables let you list all active Plugins wherever needed. There are two list formats:
  • The %ACTIVATEDPLUGINS% variable lists activated Plugins by name. (This variable is displayed in TWikiPreferences for debugging use.)
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The TWiki Plugin API

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The TWiki Plugin API

  The Application Programming Interface (API) for TWikiPlugins provides the specifications for hooking into the core TWiki code from your external Perl Plugin module. The Plugin API is new to the Production version of TWiki with the TWikiReleaseSpring2001.
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Available Core Functions

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Available Core Functions

  The lib/TWiki/Func.pm implements ALL official Plugin functions. Plugins should ONLY use functions published in this module.
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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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Predefined Hooks

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Predefined Hooks

  In addition to TWiki core functions, Plugins can use predefined hooks, or call backs, listed in the lib/TWiki/Plugins/EmptyPlugin.pm module.

  • All but the initPlugin are disabled. To enable a call back, remove DISABLE_ from the function name.
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Plugin Version Detection

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Plugin Version Detection

  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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Creating Plugins

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Creating Plugins

  With a reasonable knowledge of the Perl scripting language, you can create new Plugins or modify and extend existing ones. Basic plug-in architecture uses an Application Programming Interface (API), a set of software instructions that allow external code to interact with the main program. The TWiki Plugin API Plugins by providing a programming interface for TWiki.
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The DefaultPlugin Alternative

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The DefaultPlugin Alternative

 
  • DefaultPlugin can handle some outdated TWiki variables, found, for example, in sites recently updated from an old version. Settings are in TWikiPreferences. You can also add your own simple custom processing rules here, though in all but very simple cases, writing a new Plugin is preferable.
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Anatomy of a Plugin

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Anatomy of a Plugin

  A basic TWiki Plugin consists of two elements:
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  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.
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Creating the Perl Module

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Creating the Perl Module

  Copy file (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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Writing the Documentation Topic

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Writing the Documentation Topic

  The Plugin documentation topic contains usage instructions and version details. It serves the Plugin files as FileAttachments for downloading. (The doc topic is also included in the distribution package.) To create a documentation topic:
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Packaging for Distribution

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Packaging for Distribution

  A minimum Plugin release consists of a Perl module with a WikiName that ends in Plugin, ex: YourPlugin.pm, and a documentation page with the same name(YourPlugin.txt).
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    • pub/TWiki/YourPlugin/uparrow.gif

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Publishing for Public Use

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Publishing for Public Use

  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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