Feature Proposal: Ship the SubscribePlugin with Foswiki 1.2


  • Easy, non-geeky interface over manually editting the WebNotify page
  • Low hanging fruit to make Foswiki more usable
  • KISS

Description and Documentation

For Foswiki 1.2, ship and enable by default the SubscribePlugin





This is how it will look it both the subscribed and unsubscribed states:


If the plugin is disabled or the user is not logged in, nothing will be displayed.

A patch is attached.

It will use the access key s.

Will also update FamFamFamContrib to show the subscribe icon.

-- Contributors: WillNorris, AndrewJones - 19 Apr 2011


Great idea! Maybe it can be done using icons showing the subscription status (like in Confluence, see "watch" icon in the upper right corner of this screenshot).

-- FranzJosefGigler - 17 Apr 2009


In what way can you manage all of your subscribed pages?

Note that the display bug caused by the addtition of the button in the foswiki site skin has not been solved yet.

-- ArthurClemens - 09 May 2009

This obviously didn't make it in 1.1. Can it be included with 1.2?

Will, I don't mind doing the work if you don't have the time.

-- AndrewJones - 18 Apr 2011

sure, i don't mind if anyone works on this. but the task seems to be to drive a design and consensus before any code changes are implemented.

-- WillNorris - 18 Apr 2011

OK, I have updated the proposal with a proposed design.

Will restart the clock so we can have a discussion.

-- AndrewJones - 19 Apr 2011

1+ to make it part of the default distribution.

FamFamFamContrib is already part of the default distribution and comes with a toolbar (Topic_action_icons) that can optionally be enabled. It then should also carry the related subscribe button.

-- IngoKappler - 20 Apr 2011

Yeah good idea. I will also update the FamFamFamContrib template as part of this proposal.

-- AndrewJones - 20 Apr 2011

Updated the patch to show the changes to FamFamFamContrib and to use the s access key.


-- AndrewJones - 03 May 2011

I would say that the principle of adding the plugin in 1.2 does not seems to have been argued against.

But I still fail to see the solution to the UI problem that Arthur raised.

I am equally concerned that we get a confused toggle. The subscribe feature is a toggle. By default you are not subscribed. Once you have clicked the button you are. How is this displayed? With an unsubscribe button? Is this obvious?
  • It is using a toggle icon, as the plugin does by default. See the attached image to see how it will look in both states. So it is using a "flip-flop" button. It seems obvious to me, but if anyone has a better idea then I would be happy to consider it. -- AndrewJones - 04 May 2011

And what if you are already subscribe in a larger context? Like - if you already added yourself to be subscribed to the entire web. Do you then show unsubscribe? And will unsubscribing then mean you are being notifed about all topics EXCEPT this one? If not - then an unsubscribe message may be misleading.
  • Yes, this is how the plugin currently works. If you are subscribed to all topics in a web, you are shown unsubscribe buttons. If you click unsubscribe on a topic, you will unsubscribe from that topic only. You will still be subscribed for all the other topics in a web (i.e. if you unsubscribe from WebHome, you end up with this in WebNotify: Main.AndrewJones: * - WebHome) -- AndrewJones - 04 May 2011

It is also important that the feature will work without enabling the entire FamFamFamContrib button bar. You may want the feature available without having all the other icons.

It is possible to find a proper solution to these issues but they need to be designed before the feature is added to a release. And whatever needs to be done is probably a matter of design and a little docu.
  • I'm not sure where documentation would be. Presumably something in the release notes will be enough? If an admin does not want it, they can simply disable the plugin and the buttons will disappear. -- AndrewJones - 04 May 2011

I hope you do not mind if I put my concern after the 14 day expire. I was in France for more than two weeks so I could not react before. My concern is only around the UI design and not anything related to be against adding the plugin.

-- KennethLavrsen - 04 May 2011

Added my comments in-line.

Think most the issues are solved, with the exception of the "flip-flop" buttons (which I think was raised by WillNorris, who uploaded the paragraph above). But I can't think of any other way to show it, and you see these buttons all over the web, so I personally think its fine.

-- AndrewJones - 04 May 2011

Buttons labeled "Subscribe" and "Unsubscribe" won't confuse as to what "state" the user is in.

-- ArthurClemens - 04 May 2011

Confluence has nice toggle icons for this kind of 'watching' feature. Buttons with clumsy labels must be translated and would IMHO clutter the interface. Confluence distinguishes between Favorites (represented by a star icon) and Watches (represented by a letter icon). You will be notified via mail (hence the letter) when a topic that you 'watch' did get changed. So you actually subscribe/unsubscribe to a topic by simply clicking the letter icon which then toggles between a filled (subscribed) and an empty (unsubscribed) letter. I guess we can do even better.

-- FranzJosefGigler - 04 May 2011

Icons without labels are too often confusing. I even find our own famfamfam icons not clear.

Github uses small icon+label buttons: Watch and Unwatch (with an eye icon). Because the icon is integrated with the button (not a square box) this looks very natural.

-- ArthurClemens - 04 May 2011

Yeah, I like the way Github does it. But for now, we can just use the text label to be consistent with our current buttons. Can hopefully be improved when RethinkingTopicInteraction is completed.

-- AndrewJones - 04 May 2011

Kenneth, have your concerns been met? I believe we have a consensus over the UI.

-- AndrewJones - 10 May 2011

Yes concern has been met. I am OK

-- KennethLavrsen - 01 Jun 2011

I know this is accepted - but I'm really concerned about enabling this by default. We had to revert it off of foswiki.org.
  • Tasks subscriptions take forever. It was adding 5-7 seconds to view. It's actually an issue in the MailerContrib subscription handling.
  • Tasks can't be manually subscribed anyway.
  • No way to exclude webs. It's all or nothing.
Item11326 is a release blocker for 1.2

-- GeorgeClark - 23 Feb 2012
Topic revision: r25 - 05 Jul 2015, GeorgeClark
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