[Pmwiki-users] Page preview mode

Alain Farmer farmer
Sun Dec 19 09:31:11 CST 2004

Hello Robin and y'all,

I have been using PmWiki for about 1.5 years. It is the centerpiece of
all of of my communities-of-practice, e.g. web-based collaborations
focused on something practical. I have experimented with a dozen wikis
before casting them all off in favour of PmWiki. PmWiki is the simplest.
PmWiki's syntax is easy to learn and easy to use. The PmWiki
user-community is an attraction as well!  ;-)

> Hey there, I'm wondering if there is a way to preview a page
> via a POST request, similar to what happens when you hit
> preview on the edit page, only have it look exactly as though
> it were the real page in place (i.e. without the edit form, and
> 'unsaved' messages, and so forth).

I have never done this before but ... it seems to me that this could be
achieved by merely twiddling a little bit with the source of PmWiki.
Locate the code where PmWiki generates the preview ... and remove from
it whatever you no longer want to appear, e.g. the edit-form and so on.

> The reason for this is that I've decided to learn XUL

This is FAR more interesting [to me].  :-)

> (a UI language understood by Firefox,
> Mozilla, and the newer Netscapes)

Actually "a growing number of browsers" is more like it. :-)

With Mozilla, it is a cinch to craft a custom browser in a few hours,
so I imagine that web browsers will become quite plentiful indeed!  :-)

> an idea for a not-too-complex program to start with
> is a special edit form for PmWiki.

Excellent idea! I am game to work with you on it. I've been considering
this for some time. Most of my thoughts on this matter involved creating
the GUI with MetaCard, which would subsequently be downloaded and
launched just as you can do with any "Helper Application". The user
interacts with the GUI, and then submits his changes to a server, via a
POST [coded as XML-RPC]. My approach is a bit of a hack though. It would
be much better to use a GUI that is NATIVE to the web, which is what it
would be with XUL of course.

> that has two tabs: edit and preview. The edit tab is similar
> in content and features to the current edit system. When
> the preview tab is selected, it sends the current form contents
> to the wiki, requesting a preview, which is brought up in that
> tab, allowing reasonably quick on-the-fly previewing of
> what you've done.

XUL provides widgets that implement tabbed dialogs ( tabBox, tabGroup,
etc ).

Btw we could also add other tabs : "Meta info", "Prefs", "Attachments",
"SuscribeToPage", "Comments", etc.

> Ideally, I'd have it set so that if you hit the edit link in a capable

> browser, you get the fancy XUL form, otherwise you get the
> standard one.

JavaScript has some syntax for detecting which client is requesting the

> It's mainly a project for my own learning ...

I am at the learning-stage too.  :-)

> ... but it would be nice to be able to make it
> a PmWiki addon if I get far enough with it

My aim is to be able to create web-native applications with XUL. I am
already an expert in DHTML, e.g. HTML, CSS and JavaScript. I am becoming
increasingly familiar with XML, as well as some of the technologies that
are derived from XML, such as : XML-Schema, XML-RPC, etc. So I figure
that it won't be a quantum leap to adapt (grow into) to XUL.

As I pointed out at the beginning of this letter, I am also an intensive
user of PmWiki. I am therefore interested in augmenting PmWiki's
abilities with value-added *features*, such as those that can be crafted
with XUL w/o value added server side services in the mix. These
"add-ons" could transform PmWiki into something more powerful than any
existing wiki. A wiki without any need for learning or using
markup-tricks, e.g. WYSIWYG editing. A wiki with structured data-entry
for each type of data. A wiki with a menubar, and all of the other GUI
widgets we are accustomed to in deskrop software, instead of the spartan
interface that we've adapted to by necessity, e.g. in order to preserve
wiki's simplicity-of-use and ease-of-contribution.

My next aim, after transforming the wiki into a WYSIWYG
knowledge-management system, is to extend my use of XUL with the aim of
crafting web-based *applications* that are indistinguishable from their
desktop counter parts. My first project aimed at achieving this
application-ness in web stuff is FreeGUI, the MC prototype of the GUI of
FreeCard, which in turn is a "clone" of HyperCard. Yup! My goal in this
project is to create a web-native equivalent of HyperCard, entirely in

Visit my PmWiki for more information :

Contact me :  farmer at ufp.uqam.ca



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