[pmwiki-users] Recommended recipes?

Petko Yotov 5ko at 5ko.fr
Thu Aug 27 10:06:29 CDT 2009

On Thursday 27 August 2009 13:15:12 Twylite wrote:
> Hi,
> I'm new here, 

Hello and welcome!

> and I have a lengthy question that comes down to: what
> recipes are recommended and/or commonly & widely used (and how does one
> find out this information)?


> And then things went wrong.  Once I had waded through the general PmWiki
> documentation it became evident that customisation (by way of recipes)
> is required for event the simplest of sites, and that the Cookbook is a
> lengthy menu into the world.  Lengthy being 955 items.


> After my experiences with Drupal I have some requirements when
> considering add-on code.  Add-ons should be:
> - actively maintained, and/or

At the recipe page and talk page there may be some indication - actively 
maintained recipes often have recent versions and generate discussions. Some 
of these discussions happen here on the mailing list.

If the developer is active either on the talk pages, RecentChanges, or here on 
the list, even for stuff other than a recipe you are interested in, it is 
probably actively maintained.

> - stable & feature complete, and/or

The recipe description should explain the features, configuration and usage; 
the ChangeLog/ReleaseNotes sections may tell you something about the 
stability. I've seen, however, a recipe author asking me to review his recipe 
and when I found some problems, he removed my replies from the recipe page.

> - being considered for inclusion in the core.

We are usually considering single features (outcomes) and not implementations 
or whole recipes for inclusion in the core.

> Many recipes have some indication of stability and maintainer, but also
> no way to tell if this information is up-to-date. 

I am not sure how to best address this. It the information is old, you could 
maybe contact the developer by e-mail and ask.

> Even then there
> appears to be no way to tell if a recipe is widely used 

On some recipe pages there are links to other sites using the recipe, and 
comments from users. But, (1) nobody is required to tell us whether they use 
our recipes, and (2) maybe nobody actually is using them. :-)

> (i.e. a
> maintainer will appear spontaneously out of enlightened self-interest if
> the recipe is abandoned),

[*] I believe this is unlikely, especially for complex recipes. A developer 
could write a new recipe faster than review, endorse, adopt and maintain 
complex code from others. Or even explain them how to improve it.

> well-regarded by the community (plays well
> with the core and other recipes),

If it is not the case, this should be mentioned in the Notes sections of the 

> or a duplicate effort of a probably
> better recipe (e.g. Footnotes vs MarkupExtensions).

There could be such cases, see my comment marked with [*] above.

> In a quest for answers I have discovered the following:
> * I figured that looking at the extensions PmWiki.org was running would
> be a good place to start. 

Recipes by developers other than Pm, that are enabled on PmWiki.org, are 
mostly dealing with display and generally do not modify wiki pages or disk 
files. So such an investigation might be incomplete and biased.

>Even if you filter the Cookbook index and consider only
> stable/maintained Recipes that sound potentially useful there are still
> _dozens_, and you're no closer to figuring out which of the duplicates
> is better.

The "Status" line is a personal appreciation by the author of the recipe. 
There could be recipes marked Beta or even Experimental which work fine and 
have no known bugs, but the author may feel they have not been extensively 
tested, or that not all planned features have been added. OTOH an author with 
little programming experience could believe his recipe is stable, but he may 
not have noticed some issues.

> * For what it's worth, Drupal now collects statistics of extension use
> and is using them to ensure that the most widely used extensions are all
> available for Drupal 7 on the day it is released.  This is in response
> to the disastrous situation with Drupal 6.

We have a policy not to break existing recipes between stable releases, so if 
it happens (by us not enough knowing the 955 recipes) we'll try to either re-
fix the core, or work with the recipe author to update his recipe.

> * Many other projects are experiencing similar problems: huge numbers of
> extensions of wildly varying usefulness and quality going into a single
> repository, and new users to the project are lost in the morass.  Many
> projects have adopted systems of rating (based on user vote, aggregate
> rating, or committee review) and/or download rank (or usage statistics
> where available) to combat this.

We have discussed such votes/endorsements systems, I hope we'll be able to add 
one soon. I also hope that users will vote.

> I have now committed quite a lot of time & effort into this research,
> and I have still failed to answer my basic questions:
> (1) which recipes does everyone find useful

Various teams of people with various needs use PmWiki, I'm not sure there is a 
single recipe that everyone uses.

> (2) is a given recipe widely used, stable and actively maintained (i.e.
> will I have peace of mind choosing that recipe)

Probably a better question is who the developer is, what other recipes he 
wrote (look at his profile page), is he active on the wiki or on the list.

And I believe you can have a peace of mind with a recipe released by Pm, 
Dominique Faure or Eemeli Aro, among others. There are other active developers 
in the community, I just haven't had the need to use and the time to review 
their recipes.

[**] There is a discussion about a "community recommended" bundle of recipes 
that are actually used, work well together, and will hopefully be fixed by the 
community if problems appear. At some places around the globe it is still the 
Summer vacation, so there hasn't been much action, but the page is here:



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