r3 - 12 Mar 2004 - 13:30:00 - GrantBowmanYou are here: OSAF >  Jungle Web  > WikiPowerUserHints
Here's a page for those that have found tools or tricks to make life on the wiki more enjoyable. TWiki is a mission critical system, so specific references for those that use TWiki often are helpful. Because TWiki is a unique tool, I feel this unlocks new challenges to communication that do not exist with less effective tools. Thus I would prefer to put education first. However this is a page for power users...

TWiki Preferences

  • Change preferences on your Home.UserName page
    • width and height of html editing box
    • Email address - if set correctly your WebNotify pages don't need an email address specified manually unless you want to use an alternate address
    • write-protect that one page - this isn't very wiki-like but it's reasonable, especially if you also have a Home.UserNameDiscuss page that allows people to talk with you that isn't write-protected.
    • Keep updated on the status of pages you have edited in the past - create searches to find all pages that mention your name using TWiki "formatted searches."

TWiki Features

  • Searches - use built-in WebSearch pages to search for topic name text only - often quick and effective.
  • Go box - this is a VERY powerful feature if you understand it's intent. If you already know where to go, typing Web.PageName will take you there instantly. Similar capabilities are also possible by editing the URL destination directly.
  • WebStatistics - each web tracks it's own - very useful. Some sites show summaries on TWiki web pages to show visitors top viewed topics.
  • Back links - see what wiki pages link to a page
  • Parameters via URLs - many options are possible if you keep an eye on the URL that's used for each page, including searches.
    • adding ?raw=debug to the URL will allow viewing of the exact text as stored via RCS on the server without having to edit the file.
    • skins - no alternate skins are installed as of yet, but some skins all skipping the preview cycle, reducing clicking to get work done.
  • Forms & topic metadata - powerful features once basics are understood
  • Subscribe to TWiki TWiki.WebRssBase feeds, a standard feature. Effectiveness depends on software client choice & end-user familiarity.
  • It is safer to create page/topic names that are not plurals. The first item and third item have real pages behind the names. Notice the link that doesn't show a page. (please nobody create the page. smile ) - TestingPlurals TestingPlural? TestSingular TestSingulars

Browser Features

  • configure your web browser to use an external editor - specific to platform & browser
    • using Mozilla's electrix extension. Unfortunately I learned that the installer for this extension needs to be updated.
    • using w3m on Unix/Linux, an external editor is used. On my Debian system this is set via an EDITOR environment variable, mailcap or mime.types setting
  • Font size, default window management, effective bookmarking, toolbar configuration (custom javascripts?) and other browser features can make a difference

Education

  • See how others use the wiki at Projects.WikiSurvivalGuide
  • See the TWiki.WebHome web in general and specifically TWiki.TextFormattingRules for further information
  • Canonical source - is the TWiki a place for original content or a chore to copy to? Do key people have private MS Word local documents?
  • Page design - professional authors and editors are professionals for a reason! It's not as easy as it looks.
  • Everything looks like a nail when a hammer is handy - is use of the TWiki appropriate? TWikis are great for brainstorming, but dated content in a free form environment is a risk. Effective partitioning of content (such as the TWiki webs here) is novel perhaps because it's not possible with other tools.
  • Effective communication choices - a 1972 study and extensive research since then has shown that textual information alone without verbal or non-verbal cues contains only 7% of effective communication when compared to face to face communication. Even if not completely accurate, written only communication is far less effective than other means available, especially with today's technology. This statistic by Dr. Mehrabian is often quoted or misquoted.
  • Effective editing delegation - those in charge of functions need to participate. Suggestions offered about more effective content (and/or a culture where group-editing is encouraged) for less elegant writers can help
  • Templates - if consensus and/or editing assistance is provided. Real Knowledge Management is an art.
  • Internal portals - effective for larger organizations
  • Visit the http://TWiki.org Codev & Plugins webs to learn more about TWiki
  • Learn some Perl & assist in TWiki's evolution. Large TWiki installations (see TWiki.org) often contribute back their own features & enhancements. Due to Perl's native ability to deal with streams of data the feature set of TWiki is potentially far richer than it is now. Use of standard RCS storage underneath is not fully exploited.
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