Automatically sets VIEW_TEMPLATE and EDIT_TEMPLATE


This plugin sets the VIEW_TEMPLATE and EDIT_TEMPLATE variables according to a corresponding form or rule. For example, when you attach a new form to a topic, this plugin will enable the corresponding view/edit template automatically. This comes in very handy for applications where users create new topics without the help of a topic creator wizard, e.g. creating a new topic for a yet non-existing WikiWord. Together with the appropriate application settings, this plugin will then assure that the data the user enters is handled appropriately during view and edit.

Another use case is to apply a VIEW_TEMPLATE to a set of topics whose name matches a given pattern rule.

There are three base strategies on how the name of the template is derived:
  1. exist
  2. section
  3. rules

These can be combined in a priorized list defaulting to rules, exist. This will try each strategy in the given order until a matching view template is found.

TIP Note: this is a fork of the Foswiki:Extensions.AutoViewTemplatePlugin by Oliver Krüger. The difference between both is that AutoTemplatePlugin adds a rule-based strategy to derive VIEW_ and EDIT_TEMPLATEs as well as replacing the fixed selection which strategy to use with a priority of modes (see below).

TIP If you decide to install AutoTemplatePlugin then please disable the AutoViewTemplatePlugin. Do not use both in parallel.

Mode "exist"

A topic that has a MyForm WikiForm attached to it, will be displayed using the view template MyView and editted using the MyEdit if they exist. The template name is derived by stripping off the suffix ...Form from the form name and appending ...View. The Wiki engine will then use the template name MyView to search for the correct template along the template search path, for example using a topic MyView.


You have a form called PurchaseRequestForm. The plugin will now search for PurchaseRequestViewTemplate, and PurchaseRequestEditTemplate.

Mode "section"

A topic with a MyForm will be displayed/editted using the template name stored in the named section viewtemplate/edittemplate . For example given the MyForm form definition topic contains a section viewtemplate whose only content is MyOtherView, then this will be used to view the topic. Likewise, the content of the edittemplate section in MyForm will read to find the edit template.

By default existing values for VIEW_TEMPLATE and EDIT_TEMPLATE have priority. You can change this behaviour in configure so that the form defined templates have priority.


We have a form called PurchaseRequestForm which contains the usual table that defined the form fields.

We want this form to define that the topics are viewed with ViewFormAtTopTemplate and edited with EditPurchaseRequestTemplate.

Below this we place the two sections that defines the templates to be used. Note that you must ommit the ...Template from the template names.



Mode "rules"

For both view and edit, a set of rules can be specified in configure or via preference variables where each rule has got the format
   '<pattern>' => '<template name>'

A topic's name will be matched against the regular expression in <pattern> to decide on the template name to be used for the current template. A pattern can either cover the full qualified topic name (web.topic) or just the topic name. Rules are checked against the FQTN first.


$Foswiki::cfg{Plugins}{AutoTemplatePlugin}{ViewTemplateRules} = {
  'WebTopicList' => 'WebTopicListView',
  'Tasks\.Item.*' => 'Tasks.ItemView',
  'Item.*' => 'Applications.TaskApp.ItemView',
  'WebSearch.*' => 'SolrSearchView',

The same set of rules can be defined by setting VIEW_TEMPLATE_RULES and EDIT_TEMPLATE_RULES preference variables in your SitePreferences or WebPreferences:

      WebTopicList => WebTopicListView, 
      Tasks\.Item.* => Tasks.ItemView, 
      Item.* => Applications.TaskApp.ItemView, 
      WebSearch.* => 'SolrSearchView'

This will apply the WebTopicListViewTemplate to the WebTopicList topic in all webs, the SolrSearchViewTemplate to all WebSearch and WebSearchAdvanced topics in all webs and the Tasks.ItemViewTemplate to all Item topics in the Tasks web. Other Item topics will be displayed using the Applications.TaskApp.ItemViewTemplate

Configuration Settings

The following settings can be defined in configure

Setting Description Default
{Plugins}{AutoTemplatePlugin}{Debug} Turn on debugging by turning this on Default: On
{Plugins}{AutoTemplatePlugin}{Override} Form defined templates override VIEW_TEMPLATE and EDIT_TEMPLATE settings Default: Off
{Plugins}{AutoTemplatePlugin}{Mode} A priority list of strategies the plugin uses for defining templates.
exist for deriving the template name from the form name
section for defining the template in a section of the form definition topic
rules for defining the template using the two rule sets below
Default: rules, exist
{Plugins}{AutoTemplatePlugin}{ViewTemplateRules} hash of <pattern> > '<template name>' rules to be used for =view  
{Plugins}{AutoTemplatePlugin}{EditTemplateRules} hash of <pattern> > '<template name>' rules to be used for =edit  

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: Foswiki:Main.MichaelDaum
Copyright: © 2008-2011, Oliver Krüger, Michael Daum
License: GPL (GNU General Public License)
Release: 2.01
Version: 12383 (2011-08-25)
Change History:  
25 Aug 2011: added more default views for tools in the System web
05 Apr 2011: added VIEW_TEMPLATE_RULES, EDIT_TEMPLATE_RULES preference variables
09 Nov 2010: added defaults to ease templating ChangePassword, SiteChanges, WebIndex
12 Feb 2010: fixed order rules are matched against the web.topic name
15 Dec 2009: forked Foswiki:Extensions.AutoViewTemplatePlugin as rule-based feature was rejected. See Foswiki:Development.RulebasedViewTemplates
03 Nov 2009: added rule-based strategy; made mode a priority list (MD)
06 Oct 2009: Item2213: Plugin got better documentation. No change in behaviour.
20 Aug 2009: Item8248: added forward-compatibility for newer Foswikis (MD)
27 Dec 2008: Item196: moved to Foswiki namespace
15 Nov 2008: Item196: minor doc changes
11 Jul 2008: Item5770: try to derive the EDIT_TEMPLATE of a new topic using the WebTopicEditTemplate (MD)
03 Jul 2008: Item5747: fixed normalizing web part of form names (MD)
13 Nov 2007: added EDIT_TEMPLATE, speed improvements, docu (MD)
29 Oct 2007: Item4904: made specification of view template skin agnostic, fixed view templates in subwebs (MD)
04 Sep 2007: Added build script and installer, minor doc changes
05 Jun 2007: Initial version
Foswiki Dependency: $Foswiki::Plugins::VERSION 1.026
CPAN Dependencies: none
Other Dependencies: none
Home: Foswiki:Extensions/AutoTemplatePlugin
Support: Foswiki:Extensions/AutoTemplatePlugin
Topic revision: r1 - 13 Nov 2007, ProjectContributor
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