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Find Elsewhere Plugin

Automatically link to another web(s) if a topic isn't found in the current web.

This plugin is useful - for example - for a Foswiki site that wants to implement a glossary/dictionary web where common terms are defined and stored. Without this plugin:

  • Each web would need to create their own topic for a common term
  • Or need to link to or INCLUDE the topic from where it is defined
  • Authors would need to remember to put the Web name in front of the topic name, such as System.WikiWord

Without this kind of plugin, it's likely that common terms or acronyms (abbreviations) used within an organization would be defined in multiple webs or the common terms will be unlinked wiki words (as if they didn't exist).

Syntax Rules

No new syntax is introduced. However, new automatic WikiWord linking will occur.

If a topic or abbreviation is not found in the current web, this plugin will look through the webs listed in the LOOKELSEWHEREWEBS variable. If the topic is found (as it looks through the webs in their listed order), it will create one or more links, depending on the number of topics found.

Single hits

Test case Input Output
(if installed)
Found here WebHome WebHome WebHome
Found singular here WebHomes WebHomes WebHomes
Found elsewhere WebSearch WebSearch WebSearch
Found elsewhere (LOOKELSEWHEREFORLOCAL enabled) System.WikiUsers WikiUsers? WikiUsers
Found elsewhere (LOOKELSEWHEREFORLOCAL disabled) System.WikiUsers WikiUsers? WikiUsers? (non-existing)
Found elsewhere [[AdminGroup][wiki admins]] wiki admins? wiki admins
Don't touch direct links [[Main.AdminGroup][wiki admins]] wiki admins wiki admins
Found singular elsewhere WebSearches WebSearches WebSearches
Found elsewhere, spaced wiki word [[Web search]] Web search Web search
Found elsewhere, abbrev ACRONYM ACRONYM (If ACRONYM is a topic defined in one of the LOOKELSEWHERE webs, a link to it should show up)
Found elsewhere, abbrev w. alt. linktext [[ACRONYM][acronym link text]] acronym link text? (If ACRONYM is a topic defined in one of the LOOKELSEWHERE webs, a link to it should show up)
Escaped with <noautolink> <noautolink> WebSearch </noautolink> WebSearch WebSearch

(Note: FindElsewherePlugin doesn't support <noautolink> in TWiki-3; WebSearch will be found anyway if you're still using this codebase) |

Multiple hits

If a word is found in two or more LOOKELSEWHERE webs, a special syntax is used:

  • Standard WikiWord: DefaultPreferences(System,Main)
  • [[Spaced wiki word]]: Default Preferences(System,Main)

Create this table in Sandbox.FindElsewherePluginTest? to try it out (use raw edit when pasting):

| *Test case* | *Input* | *Output<br />(if installed)* | *Expected* |
| Found elsewhere, spaced wiki word | [<nop>[Default Preferences]] | [[Default Preferences]] | %SYSTEMWEB%.DefaultPreferences |
| Found elsewhere | <nop>ProjectContributor | ProjectContributor | <nop>ProjectContributor<sup>([[%SYSTEMWEB%.ProjectContributor][%SYSTEMWEB%]],[[%MAINWEB%.ProjectContributor][%MAINWEB%]])</sup> |


FindElsewherePlugin handles international characters (I18N?) in links, topics and webs.


Input Output
FindElsewherePlugin#TopicAnchor FindElsewherePlugin#NewFunctionalityTest
System.WebHome WebHome
WebHome WebHome
[[System.WebHome]] System.WebHome
[[System.WikiWord]] System.WikiWord
[[System.WikiWords]] System.WikiWords
System.WikiWord WikiWord
System.WikiWords WikiWords
[[Main.WebSearch][This is a link to WebSearch in Main]] This is a link to WebSearch in Main

FindElsewherePlugin Hints

  • You can en- or disable this plugin for webs, topics or users, using the standard Foswiki preferences hierarchy
  • You can avoid single words being looked up by using !DontLookup or <nop/>DontLookup syntax
  • "Groups of webs" can use each other as lookup webs, by setting the LOOKELSEWHEREWEBS variable accordingly in their WebPreferences

FindElsewherePlugin Settings

Enabling and disabling the plugin globally

You can enable or disable the FindElsewherePlugin plugin sitewide (in SitePreferences), per web (in WebPreferences) or per topic by defining DISABLELOOKELSEWHERE = 1.

Scope of the plugin - webs to find topics in

You can list other webs in which to look for topics that don't exist in the current web by defining LOOKELSEWHEREWEBS to be a comma-separated list of webs - for example, System,Main

Singular and plural topics

If the WikiWord is plural but doesn't exist, FindElsewherePlugin also looks for the singular word in other webs. You can disable this behaviour by setting DISABLEPLURALTOSINGULAR = 1. (Note this setting is for looking in other webs only (plural to singular is still automatically done in the current web, dependent on the setting in configure).

ACRONYM link settings

A setting called "LOOKELSEWHEREFORACRONYMS" can be set to a value of none, first or all (all is default).

none means that non-forced acronyms in topics are never found elsewhere, first that they are linked only at the first occurence and all that every occurence is linked. Especially topics with many occurences of the same acronym will experience improved readability by use of the first setting.

Overriding forced local links

Even if a link refers explicitly to the current web and a topic name (for example, [[Thatweb.ThatTopic]], you can still trigger FindElsewherePlugin to look in other webs for that topic. To enable this behaviour for a web, define LOOKELSEWHEREFORLOCAL = 1 in the WebPreferences. This is particular useful when you have moved topics from one web to another, but you don't want to rewrite all the links in the source web.

Enabled for demo and testing - try it on and off


Plugin Installation Instructions

You do not need to install anything in the browser to use this extension. The following instructions are for the administrator who installs the extension on the server.

Open configure, and open the "Extensions" section. Use "Find More Extensions" to get a list of available extensions. Select "Install".

If you have any problems, or if the extension isn't available in configure, then you can still install manually from the command-line. See for more help.

Plugin Info

Plugin Author: TWiki:Main.MikeBarton, Foswiki:Main.KennethLavrsen
License: GPL (GNU General Public License)
Change History:  
Version: 2.0.1 (25 Mar 2009)
25 Mar 2009: (v2.0.1) Foswiki:Main.KennethLavrsen - Plugin fixed so it does not remove square bracket links to non-existing topics. Example in plugin topic fixed
16 Dec 2008: (v2.0.0) Foswiki:Main.KennethLavrsen - rebranded to Foswiki
19 Dec 2007: TWiki:Main.SteffenPoulsen - Link none, first or all standalone abbreviations (LOOKELSEWHEREFORACRONYMS option added)
18 Dec 2007: TWiki:Main.SteffenPoulsen - Abbrev with alternative linktext found elsewhere again
25 Sep 2007: TWiki:Main.CrawfordCurrie - Added redirect support, removed illegal calls, and made more efficient
20-Apr-2006: (v1.9) - Now repects <noautolink> ... </noautolink> blocks (Dakar only) and a new NOAUTOLINK preference flag - TWiki:Main.MichaelDaum
07-Apr-2006: (v1.8) - Replaced direct usage of %regex with TWiki::Func::getRegularExpression(), replaced some implicit scalar references with explicit $ notation - TWiki:Main.ScottHunter
08 Apr 2005: (v1.7) - Negated vars DISABLELOOKELSEWHERE and DISABLEPLURALTOSINGULAR can now be set per web (WebPreferences) or per topic. - TWiki:Main.SteffenPoulsen
05 Apr 2005: (v1.6) - Bugfix: Preambles for ACRONYMS were doubled. - TWiki:Main.SteffenPoulsen
04 Apr 2005: (v1.5) - Plugin less greedy - now leaves linktext in [[WikiWord][long links with ACRONYMS or WikiWords]] alone - TWiki:Main.SteffenPoulsen
03 Apr 2005: (v1.4) - Documentation update. - TWiki:Main.SteffenPoulsen
02 Apr 2005: (v1.3) - I18N?-support added. New link style. TWiki:Codev.WebNameAsWikiName supported - TWiki:Main.SteffenPoulsen
12-Feb-2004: Matt Wilkie - put all of above into twikiplugins cvs, - removed "/o"'s as there may be issues with modperl (ModPerl?)
25-May-2003: Martin Cleaver - patch to add WebNameAsWikiName? (cvs rev1.4)
25-Sep-2002: PeterHErnst? - modified webname to show as superscript, - some other changes (chiefly "/o" regex modifiers) (cvs rev1.3)
15-May-2002: Marco Carnut - patch to show webname, e.g. Main (cvs rev1.2)
01 Feb 2002: Initial version
Plugin Home:
Topic revision: r1 - 31 Aug 2010 - 15:12:38 - AdminUser?
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