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TWiki.TWikiSkinsr1.17 - 25 Jan 2006 - 22:01 - AngeloDiIoriotopic end

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TWiki Skins

Skins overlay regular templates with alternate header/footer layouts; topic text is not affected


Skins are customized TWikiTemplates files. You can use skins to change the look of a Fabio's Wiki topic, for example, the layout of the header and footer. Rendered text between header and footer does not change. You can also use skins to define an alternate view, like a view optimized for printing.

Defining Skins

Skin files are located in the twiki/templates directory and are named with the syntax: <scriptname>.<skin>.tmpl. For example, the Printable skin for the view template is view.print.tmpl.

Use the existing TWikiTemplates (like view.tmpl) or skin files as a base for your own skin, name it for example view.myskin.tmpl.

Variables in Skins

You can use template variables, TWikiVariables, and other predefined variables to compose your skins. Some commonly used variables in skins:

Variable: Expanded to:
%WIKILOGOURL% Link of page logo
%WIKILOGOIMG% Image URL of page logo
%WIKILOGOALT% Alt text of page logo
%WEBBGCOLOR% Web specific background color, defined in the WebPreferences
%WIKITOOLNAME% The name of your TWiki site
%SCRIPTURL% The script URL of TWiki
%SCRIPTSUFFIX% The script suffix, ex: .pl, .cgi
%WEB% The name of the current web. Note: It is recommended to URL-encode the variable in form actions with %INTURLENCODE{"%WEB%"}% for proper handling in an internationalized environment
%TOPIC% The name of the current topic. Note: It is recommended to URL-encode the variable in form actions with %INTURLENCODE{"%TOPIC%"}% for proper handling in an internationalized environment
%WEBTOPICLIST% Common links of current web, defined in the WebPreferences. It includes a #GoBox
%TEXT% The topic text, e.g. the content that can be edited
%META{"form"}% TWikiForm, if any
%META{"attachments"}% FileAttachment table
%META{"parent"}% The topic parent
%EDITTOPIC% Edit link
%REVTITLE% The revision title, if any, ex: (r1.6)
%REVINFO% Revision info, ex: r1.6 - 24 Dec 2002 - 08:12 GMT - Main.guest
%WEBCOPYRIGHT% Copyright notice, defined in the WebPreferences
%BROADCASTMESSAGE% Broadcast message at the beginning of your view template, can be used to alert users of scheduled downtimes; is set in TWikiPreferences

The "Go" Box and Navigation Box

The %WEBTOPICLIST% includes a "Go" box to jump to a topic. The box also understand URLs, e.g. you can type to jump to an external web site. The feature is handy if you build a skin that has a select box of frequently used links, like Intranet home, employee database, sales database and such. A little JavaScript gets into action on the onSelect method of the select tag to fill the selected URL into the "Go" box field, then submits the form.

Here is an example form that has a select box and the "Go" box for illustration purposes. You need to have JavaScript enabled for this to work:

Bare bones header for demo only
Welcome | Register | Changes | Topics | Index | Search | Go

Using Cascading Style Sheets

Although work is underway at TWiki:Codev.CssClassNames, the regular templates files currently do not use style sheets. Many skin developers, however, choose to use them; it helps in separating style from content.

Example: To use a style sheet for the broadcast message, add this to view.myskin.tmpl:

<style type="text/css">
.broadcastmessage {
    background: yellow; display:block;
    border-style:solid;border-width: 2px;border-color:red;
.broadcastmessage strong {color: red}

Then add a div tag to the %BROADCASTMESSAGE% variable located after the #PageTop anchor or after the opening form tag:

<div class="broadcastmessage"> %BROADCASTMESSAGE% </div>

Attachment Tables

Controlling the look and feel of attachment tables is a little bit more complex than for the rest of a skin. By default the attachment table is a standard TWiki table, and the look is controlled in the same ay as other tables. In a very few cases you may want to change the content of the table as well.

The format of standard attachment tables is defined through the use of special TWiki template macros which by default are defined in the templates/twiki.tmpl template using the %TMPL:DEF macro syntax described in TWikiTemplates. These macros are:

Macro Description
ATTACH:files:header Standard title bar
ATTACH:files:row Standard row
ATTACH:files:footer Footer for all screens
ATTACH:files:header:A Title bar for upload screens, with attributes column
ATTACH:files:row:A Row for upload screen
ATTACH:files:footer:A Footer for all screens
The format of tables of file versions in the Upload screen are also formattable, using the macros:
Macro Description
ATTACH:versions:header Header for versions table on upload screen
ATTACH:versions:row Row format for versions table on upload screen
ATTACH:versions:footer Footer for versions table on upload screen

The ATTACH:row macros are expanded for each file in the attachment table, using the following special tags:

Tag Description
%A_URL% URL that will recover the file
%A_REV% Revision of this file e.g. "1.1"
%A_ICON% A file icon suitable for representing the attachment content
%A_FILE% The name of the file
%A_SIZE% The size of the file
%A_DATE% The date the file was uploaded
%A_USER% The user who uploaded it
%A_COMMENT% The comment they put in when uploading it
%A_ATTRS% The attributes of the file as seen on the upload screen e.g "h" for a hidden file

Note: it is easy to change the look and feel for an entire site by editing the twiki.tmpl template file. However, to simplify upgrading, you should avoid doing this. Instead, write a skin-specific template file e.g. attach.myskin.tmpl and use %TMPL:INCLUDE{attach.myskin.tmpl}% to include it in each of your skin files. As long as it it included after twiki.tmpl, your macro definitions will override the defaults defined there.

Packaging and Publishing Skins

See TWiki:Plugins/SkinPackagingHowTo and TWiki:Plugins/SkinDeveloperFAQ

Browsing Installed Skins

You can try all installed skins in TWikiSkinBrowser.

Activating Skins

A skin can be activated in two ways:

The ?skin=name URL parameter overrides the SKIN Preference value.

-- TWiki:Main.PeterThoeny - 25 Jul 2004

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