[Textbook-l] wish list

darklama darklama at gmail.com
Thu Nov 15 17:51:55 UTC 2007

Florence Devouard wrote:
> Hello
> Does Wikibooks have a wishlist in terms of technical developments that 
> might be useful for the project ?
> I am currently hacking down a quick grant request with another 
> organization, and, if I do it well, we'll be concerned. So, if there are 
>   specific development which might be super useful, please say so, I 
> might get it added somewhere.
> Thanks
> Ant

I got a wishlist for Wikibooks of technical developments that would be a
boon for Wikibooks I think.

1. Extend Special:Random to be able to return a random book rather then
a random module from a random or specific namespace. Right now we do
this in JavaScript, so anyone not using a JavaScript-enabled browser
can't benefit from this.

2. Extend Special:Search to be able to search in only a specific book.
Right now we use JavaScript and make use of Google to return search
results for only a specific book. Which like the previous one can't be
used by anyone not using a JavaSript-enabled browser. Would also be nice
to remove the dependency on an external search engine.

3. Extend Special:AllPages so that it can optionally list books instead
of all pages.

4. {{NUMBEROFBOOKS}} to return the total number of books Wikibooks has,
as opposed to {{NUMBEROFPAGES}} which returns the total number of pages.
Would be useful to be able to display on the front page how many books
Wikibooks has rather then listing the total number of pages we have.

5. Add a book organization meta page, which defines the book layout and
how each page in a book relates to another page in the book. This would
be the bases of many features:
   a) adding navigation buttons to the previous and next page in a book
      for online reading in a consistent way
   b) generating a book's table of contents
   c) generating headers and footers that should appear on every page
   d) generating printable versions of an entire book and for saving an
      entire book in different formats like PDF for easy redistribution.
   e) listing all required licenses for inclusion in redistributed
      form and attributing the authors in order to comply with licenses.
      This would make the job much easier and create a consistent way
      to do so.
   f) adding css stylesheet elements that are used on every page of a
      book to encourage consistency and uniformity for a book, both
      for online viewing and in printed form. This would make it much
      more practical to have style guidelines work for each book and for
      everyone to see the same thing.

The basic idea is that by knowing how each page relates to one another
and how elements on a page should look it becomes much easier to create
consistency between all the pages, to read a book, and reuse and
redistribute our books.

6. Add a <includeonce></includeonce> tag so that something can be 
included once. Example: Template:A has "<includeonce>Hello<includeonce>"
Template:B includes {{A}}, and Template:C includes {{B}}. "Hello" would 
appear on Template:A and Template:B, but not on Template:C, because 
Template:A was indirectly included in Template:C. This would be useful
for inclusion of content directly within another template, but in which 
should go no further then that.

7. Add {{CURRENTPAGENAME}} or similar for getting the name of PageA
within PageB when PageA is included in PageB.

8. Add an extension for being able to display musical symbols,
programming symbols and other symbols found in other fields of study not
covered by the <math></math> tag.

9. Caching needs to be improved to be more intuitive for pages that are
included a lot or include a lot of inclusions, because when they are
updated, the updates are not reflected and creates a lot of strange

10. On the same bases as #9, Fix template inclusion limitations. I can
understand having a limit to including a template within itself and 
templates that include each other, in order to prevent infinity loops.
However limiting how many times a template can be included on a 
different page that isn't included in the template being used directly
or indirectly has caused some problems, which shouldn't be at risk of
causing infinity loops if such limitations are removed and is needed.

If caching is part of the reason for having this limitation, then a
possible solution might be to make use of IFRAME's, so that the server
only has to process and/or retrieve once and caching can happen on the
client side for each repeated appearance of a template.

Thats all I can think of for now. I'm sure I'll think of others and
I'm sure other people have ideas as well that they will want to mention
as well. Someone has already informed those on English Wikibooks about
this wish list message.

-- darklama

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