TitleAbility to view WikiMarkup from PageInfo
Date11-Mar-2007 11:16:04 EET
JSPWiki version2.4.100
SubmitterMorten Hattesen
Idea CategoryUserInterfaceIdea
Idea StatusNewIdea

I frequently need to copy/paste content and/or formatting details from one Wiki page to another, or simply wish to learn how a certain page-detail was written using WikiMarkup.

Right now, the only way to view the WikiMarkup text of a page, is to enter edit mode Edit page. This method has a couple of unfortunate side-effects:

  1. It creates an redundant read-lock on the page.
  2. If the user navigates away from the page while in edit-mode, the page is marked as "read locked" for an hour (or so).
  3. There is a risk that the user accidentally saved modifications made to the page.

I suggest that the raw WikiMarkup text may be viewed from Page info page.

This may be implemented fairly easy in one of two ways:

  1. As a separate View WikiMarkup or View source tab (in addition to the current Page Info, Outgoing Links, Incoming Links, Attachments). Such a tab is available in MediaWiki, on which Wikipedia is based.
  2. As a link from the Page info page, possibly linking to a new jsp, e.g. ViewMarkup.jsp?page=<pagename>.

Another benefit of this View WikiMarkup feature is that, even though you do not have Edit rights to a certain page, you may still view the source.

I also think it's a good idea !
It will certainly encourage less experienced wiki users to start using wiki text, and I guess it is not extremely difficult to implement.
I would also like this to be implemented in the BrushedTemplate.

Yup, good idea. Thanks for this!

--JanneJalkanen, 11-Mar-2007

I don't quite understand the need for this. If you start editing a page and then cancel, the read lock should be removed from the page immediately. If it's not, that sounds like a bug (which should be filed and fixed). And regarding people getting access to the wiki text of a page that they don't have edit rights for, I'd think not letting them have access to the page text is probably the correct approach. I.e., if a wiki admin doesn't want somebody editing a page they probably don't want them baldly copying the page either. If someone has edit rights they then have ready access to the wiki text. There may also be perfectly reasonable licensing issues justifying such a restriction (in my case I can think of a few). If this gets implemented, can we make it optional?

-- MurrayAltheim

My experience, is that most inexperienced people, who initiates an Edit session to have a look at the WikiMarkup will not press Cancel to release the read-lock, but simply navigate away, thus leaving the Read-lock in place for an hour (as I indicated above).

With regards to the issue about revealing the WikiMarkup on protected pages, I really do not see the problem here. The WikiMarkup contains absolutely no more vital information than the HTML view does. What is problem revealing the WikiMarkup to the world beats me!

Any other opinions on this one?

--Morten Hattesen, 11-Mar-2007

Inexperienced people could just as easily ignore any new feature too.

This is much the same issue as with PDFs, and has much less to do with access and more with both legal restriction and restricting the ease of mass copying, which are related. With a PDF you can often do a cut-and-paste of all the text, and do a screen grab of the images to recompose the content. But in addition to making this more difficult, it's patently obvious to anyone that if the page is copyrighted and they are going to the trouble of recreating the page, they're doing so illegally. Certainly, wiki pages are as easily copied as any web page, but in the absence of the source text someone has to — just like a PDF — recreate the page manually. If you don't want people either by hand or by bot copying the contents of say, hundreds of your wiki pages (i.e., as wiki text), then you don't want this feature, for whatever reason (a legal one, or you simply want to discourage mass copying of your wiki's content). For one-off viewing of a single page the current ability is fine, and I am skeptical that one hour page locks are having such an impact as to warrant this proposed feature. If some people want it, okay, but I think it should be optional since some of us are going to be required to disable it.

-- MurrayAltheim

Response to Murray,

I still think that trying to hide the WikiMarkup source is a case of Security by obscurity, similar to www pages that attempt to hide the HTML source code by disabling the context menu in the browser.

But I guess that, as long as someone is concerned about this feature making JSPWiki less secure, it should be seriously considered if the feature should be made "disablable" ;-) in JSPWiki.properties, like so:

# Determines whether the "Page Info" page should have a WikiMarkup/Wiki Source tab.
# The default for this option is "true".
jspwiki.pageinfo.showmarkup = true

--Morten Hattesen, 12-Mar-2007

Like I said, this is more about mass-copying and legal issues, not about access to generated Web page content. My guess is that inexperienced people will be unlikely to even see this feature on PageInfo, and we can quibble over whether the default should be true or false (given this is a change in existing policy/functionality), but yes, that's basically what I'd suggest if this is implemented. I'd probably be more specific about the property name (also, we usually CamelCase them), e.g., jspwiki.pageinfo.showSourceTab or jspwiki.pageinfo.showMarkupSourceTab.

-- MurrayAltheim

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« This page (revision-15) was last changed on 26-Sep-2007 23:28 by JanneJalkanen