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This page describes the Wiki v2 template system, which lets you adjust the appearance of your JSPWiki installation without worrying about losing your changes the next time you update JSPWiki.

(This text is copied from doc/Templates.txt in the JSPWiki distribution.)

If you're looking for ready-made templates, please go to ContributedTemplates. If you on the other hand are looking for ideas to implement in your templates, go to WantedTemplates.


JSPWiki v2 now supports the concept of "templates" and "skins". These are actually two different things:

  • Templates are set up by the site administrator. They are a core set of HTML and JSP files, that define how your site looks. All templates are located in the JSPWiki/templates/<template name> directory.
  • Skins are modifications on the basic templates. Each template may have one or many skins available, and these are chosen by the user. These are based on stylesheets, and some templates might not support any skins at all.

JSPWiki comes currently with a single template, called "default". This is also the template that gets used if no template has been defined. Unfortunately, the default template has only one "skin".

Rolling your own#

To make your own template, just make an another subdirectory in "templates", copy all the files from the "default" -template, and modify them at your will.

To specify which template your site should use, just change the definition of "jspwiki.templateDir" in

More details#

OK, here's how it works

Main JSP pages: Wiki.jsp, Edit.jsp, Preview.jsp, PageInfo.jsp, etc.#

JSPWiki has a bunch of main JSP pages. These work as the "Controller" - they basically control the processing of the request. They take care of saving your document, or making sure that there are no concurrent changes, etc. You can modify these files, if you want - they're written as JSP pages to make your modifications easier. However, when you upgrade to a new JSPWiki version, you'll need to modify these pages again.

The main JSP pages will then figure out which template to use, and will include the appropriate template file, which decides what the "View" is going to be like.

There are two basic templates: ViewTemplate and EditTemplate. ViewTemplate gets all requests from any page that does not have to care about changing the page contents, and EditTemplate gets all those requests that do.

Each template MUST have both of these files, or else there will be trouble.

View pages: ViewTemplate.jsp, EditTemplate.jsp#

ViewTemplate.jsp gets all requests from Wiki.jsp, Preview.jsp, PageInfo.jsp, etc. Modify this file to change the visual outlook of your Wiki site, as your average browsing user would see it.

EditTemplate.jsp on the other hand gets all Edit.jsp requests. Modify this file so that people who edit it get to see stuff.

OK. But we still have a problem: Displaying Page Info is totally different from showing the rendered text - yes? The other one has plenty of lists and items, and the other one has nice HTML text. But they are both handled by ViewTemplate.jsp!

Here's where it gets complicated: The "default" template handles this by including different content files depending on the Page Request Context. The Page Request Context basically tells you whether you're asking for "info", or "diff", or whatever. The default template uses the CheckRequestContext tag to see which context you're in at the moment, and includes then a proper "Content" -file.

For example, in an excerpt from the default template:

      <wiki:CheckRequestContext context="view">
         <wiki:Include page="PageContent.jsp" />

This basically means that "if the request context is 'view', i.e. someone just wanted to see the rendered HTML content, then include a JSP page called 'PageContent.jsp'". The PageContent.jsp then just basically says that:

      <wiki:InsertPage />

           This page does not exist.  Why don't you go and
           <wiki:EditLink>create it</wiki:EditLink>?

That is: "insert the page content in HTML. If there is no such page, display a simple note to the user, requesting him to fix this."

So, it's not that difficult. Take a look at "ViewTemplate.jsp" to see what kind of different request contexts there are, and how to handle them.

"Content" pages#

These are the different "content" pages that are included by "ViewTemplate.jsp". For example, "PageContent.jsp" displays HTML, "DiffContent.jsp" displays the diff, etc. You can just easily reuse these, or do something else.

Explanation of the different tags#

JSPWiki templates are heavily based on JSP tags. An explanation on them will be shortly coming, but in the mean time, just run "ant javadoc" and see what kind of stuff appears in "docs/".

You could alternatively just look at the default template, since it basically uses all of the tags. They're not that hard to figure out.

Addendum: Style Sheets#

The default template directory contains a small JavaScript file, cssinclude.js, which attempts to load the right CSS definitions for client browsers. Notice that this file is template specific; you will need to modify it to use your template directory, if you have template-specific CSS. Modify this line (around 28):

document.write("<link rel=\"stylesheet\" href=\"templates/default/"+sheet+"\">");

and replace default with your template dir name.


I've noticed that certainly in 2.0.7-cvs this is not the only location that this needs to be changed. For instance Diff.jsp has a hard coded reference to the default style. Also somehow the css files from the default template get called no matter what I specify in the ccsinclude.js for my specific template.

-- RobertMcGovern

Whoops, that's (the Diff.jsp thing) definitely a bug. Will be fixed. (was fixed in 2.0.14 or something.)

However, I have no answer to the latter part. Of course, you can just delete the whole cssinclude.js file altogether from your template, and just use a direct reference. I was certainly planning to do that at some point.


I think I figured out the latter part, I started using templates after having first started using the wiki with the default one. So the java files had copied in css_include.js which points to default and compiled the classes with that. Something like that anyway, can't quite check as I'm at work.


OK, sounds plausible. The Diff.jsp problem was fixed in 2.0.12.


This problem has been fixed since 2.1.18 with the TemplateDirTag, which can be used to figure out the used template at run time.

Setting CSS classes to change the appearance of links, etc. on page parts#

Something I noticed while playing around with templates: if you want a clear contrast between wiki controls (LeftMenu, the top bar...) and page content, you'd want to be able to make text and links in various locations use different CSS classes. For example, you might want to render the control areas with darkish, earthy tones and light text/links, and normal dark-on-white on the content area.

This doesn't seem like a trivial change at the face of it. How could we indicate what css styles to use in the template files?


Trivial. In the template file, wrap the LeftMenu inside a <div class="leftmenu"> ... </div> block, then use a CSS selector to transform all anchors in that div to something else. Like thus:

DIV.leftmenu A { font-size: 200px }

CSS is cool :-).


Since both Janne's home page and my layout do have leftmenu actually on the right side, I wonder if we could call it just menu.jsp. In fact, I'm thinking about the ViewTemplate loading (if it is present) a username + menu or pagename + menu. This would be handy is some cases, to have different views or several blogs having different menus. I'm not sure if it is FlexibilitySyndrome, though. Also, the class for the div should be "menu", or "navmenu", for navigation menu. --SantiagoGala

I'd go for navmenu. There could be need for more menus, depending on the site builder's preferences. --ebu

A Wiki Template example# is an example of JSPWiki looking somehow 'nice' using Templates -- Steven Noels

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