We are all quite excited about the recent and upcoming changes on the Foswiki project. Now Koen Martens has set up a new hardware for the Foswiki main server and migrated the site. Big big thanks to Koen and his company Sonologic hosting it and all people that donated money to buy the new iron.
I've been thinking about doing some more work on the PublishContrib, to make it more useful for people who want controlled publishing processes, for example those who publish process manuals.
Here are some of the requirements I've been thinking about:
More flexible specification of publish sets, including publishing groups of webs
Record keeping (who published what, when, and what they published)
Michael Daum has related, but slightly different requirements. Michael publishes by copying content to a static web where it is picked up by a different CMS. So he has a common requirement to specify publish sets, but has additional requirements such as unpublishing, and automation of approval processes. Anyway, the upshot of the conversation was that we should have some common way of specifying "publish sets". The current method – regexes in the publish topic – is so crude as to be laughable. The obvious approach to specifying publish sets would be to use WebNotify, but as Michael points out that's far too geeky. Another approach would be to think about "specification" and focus on the UI, perhaps build on the SubScribePlugin. Another approach would be to use a wiki app to gather published content into one place, similar to the genwebnotify.pl approach taken to generate the notification mails from the Foswiki:Tasks web. Record keeping means maintaining unforgeable records of a publishing event. That means stamping the published docs with publishing information, including the history in the published data, and publishing to publish-event specific targets (e.g. directories named by the current date).
It would be interesting to hear what other ideas people have had.
Dinky little quiz plugin adds value to TWiki-based training
I was asked on #twiki the other day if there was any support for generating online quizzes. I wrote something to do that years ago, so I got the garden spade out and went digging. The result is the TWiki:Plugins.QuizPlugin, an ultra-lightweight plugin that lets you develop simple quizzes. These are just the thing for embedding in online training, where you want to checkpoint a reader's learning in a non-threatening way.
At the moment the plugin doesn't capture any statistics about how well the quiz was answered, but it could be rather amusing to log that data. If your training course is working well, then the reader will answer the questions correctly. If it isn't, then it would be helpful to gather information about what parts of the message aren't getting through.
To avoid forcing people to log in to take the training, the data could be logged to the plugins work area. By saving that data as a CSV file it could easily be imported into a spreadsheet for analysis.
It will be interesting to hear feedback, and see if anyone is interested in taking it further.