Templates Project Guidelines

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Project:Templates > Templates Project Guidelines

Caution: Do not experiment on existing templates. Any changes made to a template will appear on all the pages that call them, so your change may affect hundreds or even thousands of profiles.

Guidelines for New Editors

New Editors who are just learning the ropes will work one-on-one with an Advanced Editor. They will work primarily in a user sandbox where they can develop new, or test changes to, templates. After review and approval by a Templates Project Leader, the editor can move the content from their sandbox to a template page.

This partnership with an Advanced Editor will help ensure that new editors are familiar with the:

  1. Purpose of the Template: namespace - All templates should be in the "Template:" namespace and should not be used to transclude content into the main body of a profile, category, or other page, as this makes it more difficult to edit the content. Other pages (e.g., Space:, Category:, Help:, Project: and person profiles) should not be transcluded onto other WikiTree pages. This may be programmatically forbidden at some point. The only exception to this is transclusion from the Automated: namespace, but this can only be edited by AleŇ° Trtnik.
  2. Template Name Rules - The name of the template should clearly communicate what it is used for. Acronyms should be avoided.
  3. Formatting and Styling of Templates - Since styles are subject to change based on overall website design considerations, the styling of templates themselves should be standardized. Ideally, all template styling should be done with separate container (base) template (e.g., Template:Project Box for project boxes, Template:Sticker for stickers, and Template:Research Note Box for research notes).
  4. Magic words - Features of wiki markup that give instructions to to WikiTree's underlying MediaWiki software. For example, magic words can suppress or position the table of contents, or produce output based on user-defined logic. Some of these features are especially useful for templates:
    • Behavior switches: often appear in double underscores, all uppercase, e.g., . They will change the behavior of a page, rather than return a value. [Read More...]
    • Parser functions: used in all lowercase, will be followed by colon and pipe-separated parameters, e.g., Expression error: Unrecognised word "y", wrapped in double braces. They will take a value and return a value. [Read More...]
    • Variables: are all uppercase, e.g., Templates Project Guidelines. A variable will be wrapped in double braces and will return a value in its place. [Read more...]
    • WikiTree Variables: are custom variables for Wikitree database fields. The following variables for WikiTree database fields can be included in a template:
      • Prefix: {{#profile:Prefix}}
      • Preferred First Name: {{#profile:RealName}}
      • MiddleInitial: {{#profile:MiddleInitial}}
      • Last Name at Birth: {{#profile:LastNameAtBirth}}
      • Current Last Name: {{#profile:LastNameCurrent}}
      • Suffix: {{#profile:Suffix}}
      • BirthDateDecade: {{#profile:BirthDateDecade}}
      • DeathDateDecade: {{#profile:DeathDateDecade}}
      • When you want a full name, you can use Template:Name, i.e. {{Name}} as a template-within-a-template (see below.) It combines the following names fields in one string. There is a conditional so that the Last Name at Birth only appears if it's different from the Current Last Name.
        • {{#profile:RealName}} ({{#profile:LastNameAtBirth}}) {{#profile:LastNameCurrent}} {{#profile:Suffix}}

Guidelines for Advanced Editors

WikiTree encourages members to be bold; however, one must be especially careful when working with templates, since updating them can have far reaching consequences.

Since templates could form part of uniform system of templates across WikiTree, may have complex source code that can easily be broken by untested changes, or can affect a large number of pages with a single edit:

  • all changes should be discussed and reviewed with affected Project Leaders (for project specific templates) and/or with the Wikitree community (through G2G) before any revisions are made.
  • all changes should be tested in a user sandbox.
  • all changes should be communicated to the Templates Project Leaders. The Leaders will then review the changes and update the Database Definitions as needed.

Because of these concerns, many high usage templates are protected so that only the WikiTree Team can edit them. These templates are either 'base templates' that are used to style other templates, or are used on a large number of profiles. In both cases, any edits to these templates will trigger updates to thousands of profiles, so changes to these templates should be discussed thoroughly in G2G, discussed with Leaders, and have consensus of the WikiTree Team before any changes can be made.

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