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Semi-Structured Pages and Templates

Development & deployment issues (to be adjusted duly)

These UNIWIKI extensions have been installed on http://dev.waterwiki.net/

http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Extension:Uniwiki_Layouts http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Extension:Uniwiki_Generic_Edit_Page

These provide pre-set layouts for creation of new pages; and an improved editor, broken down by sections; and the ability to set restrictions on sections.

Layouts live in the "Layout" namespace. For example, copied the mockup for the Region category page to


Now we should iterate on functionality there. The first task for Katy would be to make this a starting text .. remove anything specific to the mockup and create the bare structure. The sidebar should become a mediawiki template .. Katy, do you know how to work with templates? Where necessary, add "directives"


Once a first pass is done, and I receive feedback from you both, I'll investigate what technical changes might be necessary to adapt this plugin for our needs. Once that is settled, we can devise our set of layouts, and work to bring current wiki pages in-line with the new layouts. This will likely require automated edit (wikibots) and I'm building a framework to make these sorts of changes easier (though, for technical reasons, it will probably always require developer intervention to apply layout changes).

Layouts we want

Available for users when creating new pages

  • Layout:Article: as to add the standard "See else" et al. sections whenever anybody creates a new (also "empty") Wiki-page. Alternatively, and maybe an even better solution, can we create a super-layout that would add these standard sections to each and every page-type.

Only for Admins (= NOT available for users)

Controlling Layouts

  • @optional: The section will not be added to the new page as default, but a relevant checkbox will be added to the "sections" menu in the top-right of the Generic Editor.
  • @required: The section will be added to the new page, along with a checkbox in the menu, but it will be disabled, dissuading (not preventing) the user from removing the section. The user is still able to remove the section via the "Classic Mode" of the Generic Edit Page.
  • @lock-header: The section will be added to the new page, but the ==Title== will not be editable in the usual way. As above, this is not enforced in "Classic Mode".
  • @lock-text: As above, but applied to the section body.

See all: on MediaWiki


  • "Show Preview" (in edit mode) seems not to function (= doesn't produce the preview)
  • Project layouts will be our first migration. Look into tools for assisting manual correction
  • unnecessary intermediate page when directly loading an unknown article?
  • Cannot "show preview" in the Generic Mode OR classic mode. Neither works.
  • how should map work in this layout? (see Layout:Project)
  • feature request: assign layout to existing page
  • feature request: REORGANISATION of section headings
  • allow sysop to edit restricted sections (just like locked pages).
  • TABLESEC .. works but this is fragile. need better solution.
  • Sections-list inteferring with edit-box still
  • Trouble if same section title is used twice. Possibly problems with blank sections titles. Extension should check and enforce errors.
  • Troubles with using

{{VARIABLES}} (try creating a new page using Layout:Country/Sector_coordination)

Required Changes/Hacks
  • When creating new page using a layout, 1 line-break should be added in each box by default (reason: for the cursor to be easily placed BELOW possible INSTRUCTION TEXT)
  • related or alternative: hack the extension so it preserves/imposes line-breaks when it's used to create a new page (reason: would help us move down possible instruction text or templates in a given box)
  • can size of the various edirt-boxes be changed (TABLESEC-boxes can be smaller, but others must be a bit bigger for comfort for users)
  • until we have a WYSIWYG solution, re-introduce the convenient style/format-buttons above each edit-window


  • it appears '/' cannot be used in chapter headings (see http://waterwiki.net/index.php/Case_Study_mockup).
    • Can't reproduce, is this still a problem? -Mikel)
  • Subsections not parsed correctly in Layout:X
    • Subsections not allowed in layouts .. can we live with this? -Mikel
  • @lock-header does not prevent it from being removed by right side menu as it should
    • use @required -Mikel
  • on layout choice page, not all layouts should be available (this is configurable in the layout itself)
    • use @namespace directive without no arguments



one step towards a database. consistent structure of page types.

  • use: transclusion and cross linking.
  • user wizard/interface to make these either.
  • leads to the db fields, UI layout & content questions. need good admin interface for this.
  • templates with additional stuff, on particular page types
  • Templates (per content type)
  • break down pages into sections, which are semi-structured, and some UI element to show/hide sections
  • subpages
  • some uneditable sections within the semi-structured pages (like complex DPL functions? .. "mediawiki templates" might be more suitable)
  • usability of layout construction -- directives into UI components
  • automatic maintenance and application of new layouts. updating layouts.
  • customize layout screen according to type of section (standard 3 last Wiki-chapters ("See also'", "References" and "External resources") could be in single wide bottom box)


wiki bots are to migrate existing content to new schemes

Change existing TABLESEC-formated pages
(A) for the current para-titles to become (pre-defined and protected!) sub-sections (= one level down from the standard section headings) in the semi-structured lay-outs
(B) once the semi-structured extension and respective templates are up and running, change some of the headings as follows:
  • Change all existing Report-pages (see the new template created on 26 March 2008 - NB: all report-pages created after that date should be according to the new layout already)
    • change "Type of report" into "Type" and move it down just below "Author"
    • change "Year published" into "Date"
    • add a new heading reading "ISBN/ISSN" just below "Date"
  • Change all existing organization-pages (see the new template created on 26 March 2008 - NB: all organization-pages created after that date should be according to the new layout already)
    • add a new title "Contact" after "Address"
  • Change all existing CoP-Member-pages (see the new template created on 26 March 2008 - NB: all pages created after that date should be according to the new layout already)
    • check if all contain "SKYPE" in the heading "Telephone / SKYPE"
  • Change all existing Contact-pages (see the new template created on 26 March 2008 - NB: all pages created after that date should be according to the new layout already)
    • replace the separate "Telephone" and "SKYPE" headings by a combined one ("Telephone / SKYPE")
  • convert all old "TABLESEC"-pages that contain

<nobr>-like code still into TABLESEC-pages (see e.g. Dialogue_on_Effective_Water_Governance)

  • IF POSSIBLE: add on each TABLESEC-styled page (and particularly the templates) an advisory text that is viewable in edit-mode only, saying something like "DON'T REMOVE THIS CODE-LINE OR CHANGE THE HEADINGS IN THE SECTION ABOVE" or so..
  • in project pages (and template) exchange "Region" with "Location"