[pmwiki-users] Another approach to section editing

Randy Brown alongkiss at aprivatespot.com
Sat Aug 7 00:33:24 CDT 2010

I posted a question a while back, but only got one response. Let me try again with more detail.

Could someone who knows PmWiki, PHP, and javascript please give me some guidance before I embark on what for me would be a several week project that might end in total failure?

I want to make section editing easy and correct. By "section" I mean anchored section, title, or page text variable. 

I've looked at the Sectionedit and Fox recipes. Unfortunately Sectionedit requires links on the browsed page, while Fox doesn't yet handle simultaneous edits. Fox also changes unedited text slightly, which disrupts page revision comparisons. I think the simultaneous edit problems that Fox has might be avoided by taking a simpler approach.

Basically, I want my edit form to allow the user to select a section of markup to view and edit. For example the form would show (below "Editing MyPage") the following line: "Section: All Title MyPTV MyAnchoredSection" etc. These section names would be links. I already have markup that shows me these section names - so that's not an issue. 

I'd like the following behavior: action=edit would, as usual, show the user all the markup on the page in the edit form's text area. However, while editing, the user would be able to click on a link to another section to view and edit just that section. The links on the edit form that offer section editing could also be placed on the browsed page (or any other page) - they just don't have to be. 

A server-based approach could have the edit form contain links that end like "action=edit&section=MyAnchoredSection". The server would read the URL's parameters and show the user only the section to be edited. (What comes before and after would be hidden on the form.)

A client-based approach would be to have the edit form simply read the URL parameters to determine the initial section to display. Javascript would then allow the user to change to another section. The advantage of this approach is that each edited section doesn't have to be saved before another section can be edited. Save simply reassembles the parts (hidden-prefix, visible-text-to-edit, and hidden-suffix) before returning the whole to the server, reversing the splitting it did when the form was loaded. The server doesn't have to know the difference.

I'm completely ignorant about Javascript, and naive enough about PHP and PmWiki that I'm afraid I'll spend weeks trying to learn Javascript etc. and then discover it can't be done, or that I've done everything the wrong way. But I know that javascript is successfully used for spell check and guiedit buttons - so it seems like it might be possible.

Would anyone be willing to mentor me or work with me on this? Does anyone have any suggestions about which approach is more likely to work: server-based or client-based? Should I start studying Javascript, or is that the wrong direction?


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