An easy section editing facility


This plugin implements a simple section editing feature comparable to the one available for MediaWiki. It adds link urls to headings so that users can edit the section below. Edit links are enabeld only for those users that have edit access. Edit links are hidden unless you hover with the mouse pointer over them and then displays the "Universal Wiki Edit Button" .

Once installed, the plugin automatically enables sectional editing without any further provisions. Note, that it will only detect headings created using TWiki-markup, that is writing ---++ heading and the like. It is not sensitive to normal HTML-markup, so it does not add an edit link to normal <h2>headings</h2>.

Sections might be included into the current topic using INCLUDE. The edit link will be adjusted approriately, allowing to edit the correct target topic and then redirect back to the current topic it has been included to.

Previous work

There are a couple of other plugins that try to implement a section editing feature, along with some other more exotic features. The first plugin of that kind was TWiki:Plugins/SectionalEditPlugin. Later on, its functionality was extended to process sections in a broader sense in the TWiki:Plugins/MultiEditPlugin. By the time of this writing both plugins were about to be merged again into one TWiki:Plugins/EditSectionPlugin. These three plugins all depend on an extra package called TWiki:Plugins/EditContrib which factors out common code. In addition EditContrib contains a patch to the TWiki core engine, available for TWiki-4.0 and TWiki-4.1.x. All these plugins are currently non-functional on TWiki-4.2.

While first looking at the code of SectionalEditPlugin, it was clear very soon, that it would be better to start from scratch and remove some features for the sake of a cleaner implementation, that is in sync with recent developments, i.e. PatternSkin, NatSkin and NatEditContrib in this area.

The other substantial difference between SectionalEditPlugin and EditChapterPlugin is that while the former introduces additional code to save an isolated subsection back into the topic, the latter always saves complete topics, despite the fact that only part of it is editable.


There are a couple of preference variables to influence how and which headings are processed:

Name Description Default
EDITCHAPTERPLUGIN_MINDEPTH min depth of heading to edit the sections, 1=h1, 2=h2, 3=... 1
EDITCHAPTERPLUGIN_MAXDEPTH max depth of headings to edit 6
EDITCHAPTERPLUGIN_EDITIMG icon to be used in the edit link <img src="%$nopPUBURLPATH%/%TWIKIWEB%/EditChapterPlugin/uweb-g.gif" height="16" width="16" border="0" />
EDITCHAPTERPLUGIN_EDITLABELFORMAT full format string to render the detected heading of a chapter <span class="ecpHeading">$anchor</a>$heading<a class="ecpEdit" href="$url" title="Edit this chapter">$img</a></span>
EDITCHAPTERPLUGIN_ENABLED variable to enable/disable the EditChapterPlugin on



In addition to enable/disable the plugin using the EDITCHAPTERPLUGIN_ENABLE preference variable, it can also be enabled disabled using the %ENABLEEDITCHAPTER% / %DISABLEEDITCHAPTER% tags.


Dedicated chapters of a topic can be extracted using the %EXTRACTCHAPTER{}% tag. It takes the following parameters:

Name Description Default
topic target topic name to extract the chapter from %BASETOPIC%
web target web name %BASEWEB%
nr specify a single chapter to be extracted  
from specify first chapter to be extracted, use to to specify the last chapter 0
to specify last chapter to be extracted, mostly used together with from 9999999
before specify to extract all chapters before the given one  
after specify to extract all chapters after the given one  
encode enable/disable entity encoding, used when embeding into an HTML input element on


<textarea style="display:none">
  %EXTRACTCHAPTER{nr="1" encode="on"}%
<textarea style="display:none">

See the edit.chapter.tmpl for a real-world example, used as a cover to the standard edit templates, thus hooking in section editing into the standard editing process.


For the purpose of simplicity a couple of shortcomings have to be accepted.

  1. Parametrized includes:
    The plugin does not know anything about parametrized includes, that is it won't work as expected if a topic includes text from a named section of another topic using %INCLUDE{"TargetTopic" section="onlythis"}%.
  2. Wysiwyg editor:
    It currently does not work work together with TWiki:Plugins/WysiwygPlugin
  3. Explicit sectioning:
    Users can't specify any other section to be editable in isolation (e.g. using some <section> ... </section> markup) other than by giving the respective section a heading.
  4. JQuery:
    The EditChapterPlugin currently depends on the JQueryPlugin, used to hook into the edit interface. You may be facing an increased javascript download overhead in your TWiki html pages as you are already using TWiki:Plugins/BehavourContrib, TWiki:Plugins/TwistyContrib and TWiki:Plugins/TwistyPlugin. Consider uninstalling these three and replace them with TWiki:Plugins/JQueryTwistyPlugin. You should have installed JQueryPlugin anyway already. Last not least you get less javascript but more features.

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 where TWiki is running.

Like many other TWiki extensions, this module is shipped with a fully automatic installer script written using the BuildContrib.

  • If you have TWiki 4.2 or later, you can install from the configure interface (Go to Plugins->Find More Extensions)
  • If you have any problems, then you can still install manually from the command-line:
    1. Download one of the .zip or .tgz archives
    2. Unpack the archive in the root directory of your TWiki installation.
    3. Run the installer script ( perl <module>_installer )
    4. Run configure and enable the module, if it is a plugin.
    5. Repeat for any missing dependencies.
  • If you are still having problems, then instead of running the installer script:
    1. Make sure that the file permissions allow the webserver user to access all files.
    2. Check in any installed files that have existing ,v files in your existing install (take care not to lock the files when you check in)
    3. Manually edit LocalSite.cfg to set any configuration variables.

Plugin Info

Many thanks to the following sponsors for supporting this work:

Plugin Author: TWiki:Main/MichaelDaum
Copyright: © 2008, Michael Daum http://michaeldaumconsulting.com;
© 2005-2010, TWiki:TWiki/TWikiContributor
License: GPL (GNU General Public License)
Plugin Version: v1.2
Change History:  
2010-04-30: TWikibug:Item6433 - doc improvements; changing TWIKIWEB to SYSTEMWEB
26 Jun 2008: new universal edit button
29 Apr 2008: removed "literal" hack again; removed check for body_text context; only the icon is clickable - was all of the heading before
13 Mar 2008: add <literal> ... </literal> for TWiki engines before 4.2
14 Feb 2008: have a little space in the default heading format to let TWikiMarkup do its job; added support for legacy heading markup like --------#####
05 Feb 2008: compatibility with old PatternSkin versions
03 Jan 2008: initial release
Plugin Home: http://TWiki.org/cgi-bin/view/Plugins/EditChapterPlugin
Feedback: http://TWiki.org/cgi-bin/view/Plugins/EditChapterPluginDev
Appraisal: http://TWiki.org/cgi-bin/view/Plugins/EditChapterPluginAppraisal

Related Topics: TWikiPlugins, DeveloperDocumentationCategory, AdminDocumentationCategory, TWikiPreferences

Topic revision: r0 - 2010-05-01 - TWikiContributor
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