Updated 2014-04-10 11:27:43 by EMJ

Purpose: Discussion about the contents of this site, called the Tcler's Wiki.

Comment about the implementation of this Wikit should go to Suggestions for Wikit instead. There is also a Wiki Gripes page to comment on the concept of Wiki itself. And one where release changes and known bugs are listed, see Wikit problems.


LV well, this is a "how do I do this on the wiki question" - I don't know that technically I would call this "contents" of the wiki...

Anyways, here's what I wanted to do. I DON'T want to use an external search engine - why? Well, when I have tried before, I have ended up with the feeling that not all of the pages are being indexed. Maybe this is bogus - I don't have time to mess checking... So, I decided that was a dumb response on my part. So here's what I did. First, I googled for "site:wiki.tcl.tk clock" and got 86 hits. Then I came into the wiki and used "clock*" as my search term and got over 500 hits. So, googling returns me a subset of the total hits on the wiki.

So, using the wiki search engine itself, I watch to look for wiki pages that contain the words "count" "down" and "clock".

Is it possible to do this type of search? If not, I want to add that functionality to a wish list somewhere. If it is possible, what's the syntax?

  Comparison with the Java Wiki

LV Humm. I just took a look at wiki.java.net. It doesn't look bad. I don't particularly like the constant sidebar taking up valuable real estate on each page. If I ignore the side bar, which functionally is similar to the list of links we have at the bottom of each page, except that there are many more links on the side of java.net pages than there are on wiki.tcl.tk's pages (thank goodness we don't put a lot of links on the page), I don't see a lot of difference between the actual display of the wiki pages there and tcler's wiki page display. There are some style sheet differences - and I think everyone has agreed those could be tweaked, once suggestions are made. What is rather nice is that there is an integration between wiki.java.net and the java portal at www.java.net that is a smooth transition. It looks, in the first few pages I browsed, as if the same style sheets were used on the portal site, the forum site, the projects site, etc. There's quite a web team providing resources, etc. there. They do a nice job. It surely would be nice if there were people in the Tcl community who stepped forward to coordinate such work. Over the years, there have been a few volunteers, but the overall coordination remains on the To Do list.

[NullGravy] 28 May 2007 Please read what I wrote not what you think I wrote. I love Tcl/Tk and have done for years (I've got a credit in Ousterhout's book (not NullGravy) obviously) BUT:

What I am complaining about is the APPEARANCE of the wiki not, in most cases, the content {although an awful lot of pages are well obsolete}.

For people who are already converts the appearance probably doesn't matter that much. For anyone else it gives a very bad impression and if you don't think that first impressions are of vital performance what do you think the ::ttk is all about?

Suppose that you are trying to sell your boss on the wonders of Tcl and your colleague is trying to sell him on java say: - He does a quick browse of the web and finds pages like this one and pages like this one: http://wiki.java.net/bin/view/Main/WebHome - You lose.

CMcC Somebody's boss chose java because its wiki's appearance is nicer? I guess that's why they're the boss, huh. It would suck to have been selected by them for employment.

LES: I just love wikit. It's so simple, light and quick and straightforward. It looks and feels a lot like a book, not a silly magazine with a very young readership putting a lot more effort into trying to look cool than on offering really good content.

RS fully agrees. After several hundred pages I wrote here, I can't say I really missed markup features. The only thing I sometimes wish for is a diff between versions, which e.g. Wikipedia does nicely.

CMcC thinks there's always room for improvement, but honestly doesn't feel inclined to spend a lot of effort pursuing PHBs by making eye candy. Having said that, there are CSS improvements mooted.

What I would like to know, from NullGravy, is what specific features from the other wiki he cites would be useful improvements.

  Minor issues

HJG 2007-05-27 I think, the currently used wiki-software is fine, but a few things needs fixing. E.g. there is no markup for linebreak (like "<br>"), <u>underline</u> and section-headers. Markup for tables would be nice, too. But the most important item to fix is the history/revision-feature, so you can compare and see what was changed in previous versions. This is really urgent, otherwise no ordinary user can repair spam (or edit-accidents).


[NullGravy] 27 May 2007 Let's face it guys - Wikit sucks!

CMcC it seems to have functioned well enough in its purpose. Evidence of this is the number of pages, the fact that it seems to be used successfully by a large number of people, the frequency of edits, and the quality and utility of content. As a matter of general policy, I would recommend giving priority to the concerns of people who contribute useful and high quality content to the wiki, and to tcl. NullGravy, can you suggest any content which you have contributed which may have been improved by changes to the wiki software, or can you suggest any content which you might have contributed if not for the lack of some feature?

[NullGravy] How are we supposed to convince people that Tcl/Tk is alive and well when one of the "main" sources of information looks like it hasn't been updated since the stone age?

CMcC The main value of this wiki (and I would hope of any wiki) is its content. That content is quite frequently updated. If it looks otherwise to you, might I suggest perusing Recent Changes to dispel that impression?

[NullGravy] The great strength of Tcl is that you can lash up something that works extremely quickly.

CMcC I presume you mean that it is a strength of tcl that one can extremely quickly 'lash up' something that works. I'm not seeing the problem.

[NullGravy] The great weakness of Tcl is that you can lash up something that works extremely quickly.

CMcC Oh well, it was the best of times, it was the worst of times, and all that.

[NullGravy] Other wicki tools have moved on.

CMcC What specfic changes have they made which might be useful to this wiki's provision of content?

[NullGravy] Either someone needs to spend a lot of time improving wikit or this site should move to something like Twiki [1]

CMcC Which specific features of Twiki (and the other wikis to which you allude) do you think would be beneficial to this wiki?

  Recent Changes title

LV April 21, 2006 It seems like it would be useful for the Recent Changes page to include the web site name in the title... that is "Recent Changes to The Tcler's Wiki". Right now, the title "Recent Changes" could apply to many different web sites (including most wikits).

  Wikit source code

LV April 20, 2006

I was wondering today whether it might be worthwhile to move major chunks of code from the wiki to some sort of web repository where one could more easily pick up just the code, and could tell when code releases had occurred.

If a piece of code were to move from the wiki to the repository, a link to the repository would be left behind.

The idea is that discussion, and even suggestions of changes, would occur here. But someone could, at particular points in time, as they so desire, "promote" the code into the cvs or some other repository, against which it might be easier to write interfaces for downloading and installing.

  Advertising Tcl through the Wiki

RD: Looking at the Wiki home page, I don't see it stated in an obvious way that the Wiki is tcl powered! I know about the Wiki project and all that, but for someone cruising through it might not be obvious. I also know that I could edit the home page(maybe not) and add something, but I don't think it's my place to do that.

13mar03 jcw - Good point, fixed... thx!

LV: I hope to see people add comments here on what they like, don't like, and would like to see come in the future - Larry Virden

JC: Likewise! I've just set up a few more pages in an attempt to spark discussion and help generate ideas

LV: Should new comments go at the top of pages, or at the bottom?
  JC: At the bottom, it's what seems to be happening most of the time.
  ulis,2002-09-29: top or bottom, the point is "what is new?".

LV: Suggestion - any new page created should have the constant string "Purpose: " at the top - each page should discuss the purpose of the page up front, to let someone know if this is the place.
 JC: It's starting to happen, as you can see... :)

SB: I tried to test this integrity by searching on the word "suggestions*" on the search page, because I wanted to add some suggestions for wikit. This page came out as the topmost page because somebody has written that suggestions for wikit should go to a different page than this.Suggestions for Wikit The page where suggestions should be suggested landed a couple of lines further down. Now because I have written the word suggestions so many times here, this page will probably always win the contest when somebody want to add suggestions for wikit (Oh, no he sait it again.) I do not believe that the purpose section will serve its purpose as references for better places as they will cause the wrong place to show up in place of the right place. When this topic has been discussed and a solution has been found this confusing passage can be deleted as it serves no purpose.

  Dating comments

1999 Mar 9

DGP: How about a habit of dating comments as above so that later readers have an idea of the age of contributions? Could be handy on long-lived discussion pages.

BSA 23-Mar-1999: How about automatically linking a bulletin board page, like this one, to every page. I would consider it bad protocol to just edit someone's hard crafted page to ask a question or argue a point.

LV: 24-Mar-1999: One of the basic philosophies of a Wiki is that all pages are open for editing. While one normally would think it might be considered bad protocol, it not only isn't, but on a Wiki it might be considered bad protocol to NOT edit someone's page when one sees a possible problem, typo, etc.

AK, Mar 24, 1999: I usually mark a discussion area on my pages, between 2 horizontal rules, either at the beginning or at the end. If there is no marked area it is implitly located at the end. This should be sufficient for small discussions. If they grow too large I/we can still relocate them to a separate page.

DL, 4/4/1999:

First of all, glad we all agree on how to format dates :-)

Am I missing something - is there NO way to put a URL in a Wiki page and have it appear with a tag that is not the URL or a number in brackets? If I was writing the raw HTML, I would just embed the tag I want to see between <a> and </a>. How do I do it here?

LV: April fourth, nineteen hundred and ninety-nine - you are right, there is no way to do what you want.

JC: Cinqieme Avril, mille neuf cents quatre vingt dixneuf - let's keep in mind that wiki is more about content than about style. The primitive text-based markup is just a hack to give everyone a little markup. And there's a perfect excuse for it, too: if you want good-looking pages, use HTML, put it on the web somewhere and link to it. Personally, I tend to like the fact that there is only a full URL or a very inconspicuous hint for links. For one, both are clear hints that the link is off-site, whereas all tagged links are on-site.

DL: today, can't tell the exact time because sun is behind a cloud - Granted, but I wanted to drop in a really-long URL (CGI script name with LOTS of parameters) and I don't think it enhances readability in the least! To the contrary, a simple phrase explaining what it means is much more helpful. Many URL's are similarly goobledigook. Indeed, the wiki URL's are a good example. It doesn't seem fair that the wiki URL's get to have meaningful tags and everything else has to go through this awkward extra-page maneuver or display goobledigook.

JC: same day, not behind a cloud, but under the horizon - now it's my turn to ask "am I missing something?". If you don't want to show long URLs, then why not use the bracket notation? Perhaps like this: A DejaNews thread on invoking executables [2]. I see your point. The problem is that this Wiki also works in local mode (i.e. Tcl/Tk, no HTML in sight), so web-specific solutions are not optimal. Another argument I could use, is: "other wiki's work the same way". But I won't... :o)

RS 1999-08-04: I like the Wiki very much, and slow by slow will contribute what I have in potentially useful (or fun) Tcl stuff. I think the vitality of the Wiki will come out better if people reading it try to also write something (meaningful, of course). If one routinely checks the [Recent] page, it's easy to keep up-to-date with the discussion. Maybe the link "Changes" (hmm;-) could be made more conspicuous, e.g. by a clickable logo in the title line -- even if we writers from outside can't do much more than HTML 1.0, inside the Wikit code inline GIFs and whatever can of course be generated. Another idea: the TCP/IP numbers on the Recent page are pretty anonymous. I respect anonymity if desired, but maybe contributors could voluntarily register a string (e.g. their name) for display instead of, or along with, (that's me;-)

  Code on pages

November 06, 2000 LV: One of the things that has happened in the past year is a trend for adding pages with source code on the site. This is great for reviews and commentary. However, it is less wonderful for the joe average user/amateur programmer who is then uncertain how to go about getting the code from the wiki into some sort of organized manner into tcl for reuse.

I wonder if an effort to build some sort of contributed tcl library in a TEA or other format for installation would be something in which people would have an interest?

(DKF: Since this comment was made, tcllib was created.)

  Wiki features/comparisons

September 21, 2001

WHD: I really like a lot of the content of the Wiki, but I think that as it's currently constituted the Tcl'ers Wiki fails on two fronts. The first is that as Wikis go, Wikit is fairly primitive. Take a look at, say, http://emacswiki.org for an example of a UseMod Wiki site. Check out the Recent Changes page, the Preview capabilities, etc., etc., etc. Very nice. To really blow your mind, go look at http://twiki.org for an industrial strength Wiki. I use a UseMod Wiki for my personal notes, and find it much more pleasant to use than Wikit. Unfortunately, it's not in Tcl.

But even without updating Wikit, we can make the site easier to use by establishing certain conventions. For example, most Wikis have the notion of "categories". Simply, if you're going to have a page about coding tricks, call the page Category Tricks. Then, instead of including all of the tricks on that page, put each one on its own page. At the bottom of each such page, put a simple, unadorned link to it, i.e., [Category Tricks], and list each such page on the Category Tricks. What's neat about this is it makes searching work for you: by searching on "Category Tricks" you can find all pages in that category whether they are explicitly listed on the Category Tricks page or not. Again, see http://emacswiki.org for an example. -- William Duquette

LV Will, I tried to do something like that with the BOOK pages and Cameron did something similar with the COMPANY pages. Adding suggestions like yours to some sort of Wiki style guide makes a lot of sense.

As for more advanced features, I've always wondered by all the wonderfully talented Tcl programmers never got around to enhancing the scripts for this web site.

EE: Ack. did you HAVE to do that, WDH? I had a look at TWiki like you suggested, and it blew my mind through overload... NOTE: Despite the fact that the whole purpose of a wiki is to share information, I at least, and possibly others, find a page where every other word is a hyperlink to be pretty intimidating. While our first page isn't as bad as the TWiki first page, I'd still pretty heavy as a complete newcomer. -- actually, now I look again, I see that http://purl.org/tcl/wiki/ (and similar) point to a very simple front page... heh, and far from being too intimidating, I think it could stand to be spruced up a little.

After looking at TWiki, I wonder why we don't consider migrating to it. The Tcl'ers Wiki is a great resource, and I've certainly benefited from it. But I'm not one that feels it's necessary to always reinvent the wheel, and I also don't like the 'not invented here' syndrome.

Is the Tcl'ers Wiki supposed to be a showcase for Tcl (i.e., built with Tcl only), or as I believe, a knowledge conduit for Tcl? If the latter, why not use the best tools at hand?

I don't mean to denigrate our current Wiki, but it pales in comparison to TWiki. Now I know some will say, "Well, let's roll up our sleeves and get to work improving the Tcl Wiki to improve it". But as I continue aging, my free time becomes less and less. Again, why reinvent the wheel.

Let's acknowledge where the Wiki has taken us, applaud it, and move on.

Just some thoughts... Marty Backe

JCW - Bravo, Marty, I for one think you make a very valid point. Whenever I look, I continue to be impressed by what some of the other wiki clones have to offer (and appalled by others). Seeing half the planet build alternate wiki's sure looks like a bad use of scarce human resources - especially in the scripting world, where there is so much more to be done. I'll refrain from making comments about your suggestions for now, but hope the space below will get filled by perhaps a list of considerations, concerns, and pro/con items. There are many trade-offs, it'd be nice to try to figure out a good strategy for the future.

While twiki is powerful, I think it loses some of the simplicity that the wiki concept was based on. I don't know if that's good or bad; it's just an observation. The revision feature is nice, though.

RS: And they still have CloseTogetherTitles - I looked around, but didn't have the feeling that our Wiki is worse.

LV considering the bad rap that the perl based chat software has around here, and the static I got from using persistent URLs because the name _sounds_ like the Perl programming language, I'd sure not want to see us move to a Perl based Wiki unless there was a really, really, really good case for doing so. Larry. I would encourage you to take a look at the TWiki referenced above (I don't know if your comment here was based on any investigation of the TWiki). It seems strange to cast aspersions on any Perl software because of some negative experiences with some chat software. Marty Backe

On the other hand, there's no reason why there should only be ONE wiki. If one or more people would like to try a Tcl Twiki, I would encourage them to set one up and announce it. Let the customers decide based on where they spend their time.

MR I've actually been working on another Tcl based Wiki implementation in my spare time (which should be greatly increasing over the summer). I think one of the things thats gone wrong is that the more complex Wiki implementations become, well, more complex, and that ends up destroying a lot of the simplicity inherent in the concept. In other words, perhaps not the best tool to be designed by technical crowds. :-)

Ro Simplicity is underrated. The TWiki featuritis gives me the heebee-jeebees.

Marty Backe I'm (slowly) writing a utility to convert the entire Wiki into a TWiki implementation. What I mean by this, is that each Wiki page will be reformatted per the TWiki rules, and inserted into a new Tcl TWiki (hosted on my site - for demonstration purposes). The point of this excercise will be to let people experience all of the Tcl Wiki's knowledge via the TWiki wiki. I feel it will make a compelling case for switching.

I have already installed the TWiki on my site to fulfull all of my personal needs, and have been successful in getting one going at work.

The TWiki's strong points:

  • Complete revision control
  • Logins (for editing, not reading)
  • Plugins
  • Skins
  • Attachments
  • Complete html compatibility
  • Usage statistics
  • Topic moves/renames
  • Sophisticated search
  • Built-in indexes.
  • etc.,

-- 15 Apr 2002

Ro June 20, 2002

Personally I like this Wiki wayyyyy more than the Twiki. This one is so simple, and if it wasn't, I wouldn't bother contributing. I have enough things to learn and worry about;>

Well, the TWiki offers a lot more capability (and I guess complexity), but doesn't force you to use any of it. You can still simply hit the edit button (like the Tcl Wiki), enter your text (like the Tcl Wiki), and click the save button (like the Tcl Wiki). I don't see how this would dissuade people from using it. Marty Backe


KPV Three comments on this Wiki, two technical, the other social.

First, I'd love for each edited page to show change bars to indicate what has changed.

Second, while editing, I'd like, in addition to the Save button, a Preview button. Not a huge need, but I get embarrassed by how many formatting mistakes I tend to make.

Third, sometimes I think a more jeopardy-like commented style is appropriate for many pages, i.e. comments at the beginning ala the Ask, and it shall be given. page. Most of my wiki pages are short little programs, like octabug. For these pages I'd much rather see the comments at the top with the code at the bottom. Otherwise you're forced to scroll past several hundred lines of code to find the comments.

29sep02 jcw - First one, I agree with 100%, it really would make this wiki more usable. Second one, I cannot quite grasp: is saving, reviewing the results, and editing again not equally practical?

The third one is indeed a social one - maybe this can one day be introduced by having source code in separate pages (with version tracking and even colorization to tempt people to use that mechanism), then the remaining text would be easier to read through again?

sm 23 Jan 2004: With regards to the "second one" (Preview button suggestion), there's a patch to Wikit to add this functionality described at Wikit web Preview button.


There are lots of nice examples of source code in the Wiki, but it is not clear what license the code might be available under. Is there any default license we can assume (e.g., the code is in the public domain unless specified), or should we assume "all rights reserved by the author"?

David S. Cargo ([email protected])

RS: Everything I put on the Wiki is free for all purposes, but no warranty, and I assume that holds for all contributors.

See Who owns the content on this Wiki.

  Page length

07oct02 To me it appears as if the Ask, and it shall be given page has gotten too big to edit in the text box that pops up in the form created by my version of Internet Explorer (Version 6, SP1). That means that it cannot be edited by me, and might mean that it could be accidentally truncated by people trying to edit it. Is there a maximum length to a Wiki page? Can there be a warning when somebody tries to edit a maximum length page? escargo

07oct02 jcw - Nasty... how far should one go in accommodating buggy (or perhaps just ancient) browsers? One solution would be to auto-generate a page, listing all pages over 30 Kb (32 Kb is the danger zone, AFAIK). That allows us all to stay out of trouble... and anyone to decide to split it up.

I'm all in favor of splitting up pages btw - I find wiki pages very awkward well before that limit.

07oct02 escargo Could the wiki be easily enhanced to show the length of the page in bytes (or kilobytes) somewhere? Is there a wiki style for invisible text that would reside on the input page but not be shown on the HTML page?

26nov02 jcw Missed this before - good idea, thx. I'll look into it next round of changes.


CliC 2010-11-28 -- As wiki layouts and usability go, the Tclers' Wiki is one of the better ones I've seen. Not much glitz and glitter, but that's a feature IMHO. I guess my only complaint, if I have one, is the speed (or lack thereof) of the wiki itself. Page generation can take a long time (>10 seconds at times) and that time is quite inconsistent. Not sure if this is hosting bandwidth, server resources, the hundreds of millions of Tcl fans out there, or what :). My DSL connection is solid, and other websites (well, at least those not called Facebook :) work fine.

I can easily overlook this, however, as this wiki is such a fantastic source of information. Thanks to the contributors, and especially the maintainers!

DKF: I wonder what's up, since it seems very snappy to me these days. (It was having lots of problems a month ago though; a bunch of bugs have been squelched between then and now.)

CliC After posting this yesterday, I did a bit of other unrelated research on the wiki, and I too noticed that it seemed faster. It's fine today as well. I'll pay closer attention over the next week or so if I'm on it; the problems likely have been fixed. Thanks.

  Rendering bugs

CliC Anyone else notice that this Wiki's left-side menu bar recently appears below the page text on Linux Firefox 3.6.13, as opposed to beside it? It's fine in Chromium, and on Firefox in Windows. May be a Firefox bug...

DKF: Rendering bugs should be reported through the Wikit problems page...

See Also edit