Customizations for this Foswiki installation

This topic contains a documentation of the Foswiki installation and describes all customizations of the content and visual changes to the Foswiki system. The Wiki system was migrated from TWiki to Foswiki in march 2013 (see TWikiLocalCustomizations for old documentation).


To do

  • Update to Foswiki 1.1.8
  • "Sister" websites for CMS


Installation of Foswiki 1.1.6

Server Requirements

The following modules need to be checked before installing Foswiki:
  • Perl - at least version 8.5.5
    perl –v
  • RCS - at least version 5.7
    rcs –V
  • Apache Webserver
    apachectl -v
  • Other external programs (fgrep, egrep)

Installation Steps

The following steps must be performed to install the Foswiki software (perform as webserver user):
  1. Download the Foswiki software
    wget /web/
  2. Unzip the compressed folder
    tar xvfz Foswiki-1.1.6.tgz
  3. Set symbolic link to the uncompressed Foswiki folder
    ln –s Foswiki-1.1.6 wiki
  4. [Optional] Set file and directory permissions
    chown –R www-data:www-data /web/



The Foswiki system is provided by a configuration file for the Apache webserver. Only three points are given for safety reasons:
  • Every attach, compareauth, edit, manage, previewauth, rdiffauth, rename, rest, restauth, save, statistics, upload, viewauth, viewfileauth, mail, logon and restedit operation must be performed authenticated (redirection to port 443)
  • Introduction of aliases to support URL shortening
  • Secure LDAP authentication

Foswiki 1.1.6

The Foswiki system can be configured via the comfortable configuration script or manually by editing the file "Localsite.cfg". Only a few points are listed here for security reasons:
  • Adjustment of the paths and specification of the correct hostnames for the fields "!DefaultURLHost" and "!PermittedRedirectHostUrls" to ensure the
URL shortening
  • Set new configuration password for Foswiki "superadmin" account (was given to the "Rechnerbetrieb")
  • Configure mail settings (E-Mail client, administrators mail address and verification mail for registration)
  • Set pattern for AntiSpam setting
  • LDAP authentication (primarily in the configuration file of the Apache webserver)
  • Add first Administrator to go on with the configuration
  • User interface language is English (language choice in the header is suppressed under "Internationalization" and "Languages")
  • The character set is iso-8859-1. UTF-8 is currently only supported experimental.
For more information about both aspects, please contact Mr. Bodo Riediger-Klaus.


The old TWiki installation included 22 plug-ins. Except for the "Object" and "EasyMacro" plug-ins, all other expansion are supported in Foswiki.
  • The "ObjectPlugin" can be replaced by the "MediaPlugin" (e.g. to include SVG files). See MediaPlugin
  • For the "EasyMacro" plug-in exists no equivalent Foswiki expansion. However, the functionality can be reproduced by a table having only one cell and a corresponding background color with respect to the old TWiki expansion. See WhatIsSeminar

For a complete list of all installed plug-ins see InstalledPlugins.

Content and layout of the Foswiki-Websites


The understanding of the hierarchically arranged settings in the Foswiki system are very important for the following customizations. Settings in the Foswiki system can be set essentially in the following topics:
  • DefaultPreferences, placed in the System Web for site wide settings (will be overwritten when you update the Foswiki system)
  • SitePreferences, placed in the Main Web for site wide setting and is not overwritten during an upgrade
  • WebPreferences, available in any Web and overwrite (if not otherwise defined by the macro Finalpreferences in SitePreferences) the site wide settings

(For more information see Foswiki Preference Settings.) All necessary customizations are made at the settings page in the Main Web!

Another important point is the subdivision of the Wiki pages. Essentially, a Wiki page is divided into five sections:

  1. Header
  2. Footer
  3. Menue on the left side
  4. Menue on the right side
  5. Topic area

Custom Skin

To provide the complete functionality of the old TWiki system, a skin template had to be created. The new file (view.fuskin.tmpl) is located at /templates and includes the following points:
  • A definition ("news") to display a menue on the right side (e.g. "News" at IT), the definition of "news" itself, is under templates/fuviewsidebar.pattern.tmpl and registered in view.fuskin.tmpl
  • The "Attach" button in the Topic area has been removed
  • The "Edit" button is designed by a CSS file with a modified icon (source:, author: Neurovit, creative commons - by and sa)
The new skin will be set by the macro "COVER" on SitePreferences. In addition, the new skin is not overwritten during an update.

Layout (CSS)

The design of the Wiki websites is implemented by default over three CSS files. These three files are located after the installation in the directory pub/System/PatternSkinTheme/. However, the default path will be overwritten during an update. So the files are copied to a different directory for the necessary customizations:

  1. /pub/System/FuBerlinSkin/layout.css: This file sets the height, width and position of the main elements of a Wiki page
  2. /pub/System/FuBerlinSkin/style.css: In this design template distances, sizes and fonts are defined
  3. /pub/System/FuBerlinSkin/colors.css: With the help of the layout instructions from this file, the colors for frames, fonts, and backgrounds are set

All new paths to the custom CSS files must be assigned to the macros "FOSWIKI_LAYOUT_URL", "FOSWIKI_STYLE_URL" and "FOSWIKI_COLORS_URL" in SitePreferences In order to design the header and the font based on the FU Berlin website, two more CSS files are required:

  • /pub/System/FuBerlinSkin/variant_foswiki_noframe_fu.css: Here, the orientation and dimension of the header elements are described
  • /pub/System/FuBerlinSkin/fonts.css: The fonts of the FU Berlin web presence must also be defined in a new file to overwrite the rules in the colors.css. The CSS file is included by the macro "USERLAYOUTURL"

The CSS rules for the navigation bar and the quick search are based on the FU Berlin website. Each custom CSS rule is appropriately commented.

The original file WebTopBarExample is copied (WebTopBar) and customized according to the FU Berlin website:
  • All header images originate from the FU Berlin website and are stored in the directory /pub/System/FuBerlinSkin
  • The background color was removed via the macro "WEBHEADERART"
  • The Javascripts for the navigation bar and the quick search originate also from the FU Berlin website; the script for the quick search (fancy box) is stored in the directory /Pub/System/FuBerlinSkin; the script for the navigation bar was adjusted and is directly located in the WebTopBar
  • The jquery.fancy script is integrated via an import command in the file template/css.pattern.tmpl
  • For the logo, the macros "WIKILOGOIMG", "WIKILOGOALT" and "WIKILOGOURL" have to be adjusted on SitePreferences
  • The header is available in two languages: German (WebTopBarDe) and English (WebTopBarEn)
  • Depending on the macro "FUHEADERLANG" (de/en) the appropriate language is selected (see WebTopBar)

All design instructions are located in the mentioned CSS files.

The original file WebBottomBarExample is copied (WebBottomBar) and customized according to the FU Berlin website:
  • The content was defined by using the macro "WEBCOPYRIGHT"; this macro has been removed and the links are entered directly into the topics
  • The footer is available in two languages: German (WebBottomBarDe) and English (WebBottomBarEn)
  • Depending on the macro "FUBOTTOMLANG" (de/en) the appropriate language is selected (see WebBottomBar)

All design instructions are located in the mentioned CSS files.


The System Web uses the WebLeftBarExample as default. Every other Web uses the WebLeftBar. In order to standardize the information and to provide assistance for the users, a custom FubLeftBar has been created according to the TWiki system. The use of FubLeftBar is specified by an include command in the WebLeftBar. The FubLeftBar includes the following points:

  • The macro "WEBTOPICLIST", which can be set per Web or per topic with individual links.
  • The "Create Personal Sidebar" shortcut has been removed with a conditional command (see WebLeftBarLogin)
  • The lock icon has been inserted in the file /template/foswiki.pattern.tmpl in line 11

All design instructions are located in the mentioned CSS files.


The WebRightBar is not supported by default from the PatternSkin theme. In order to realize this function, the author created a new skin (see Custom Skin). Each Web or topic that wants to display this section must define the macro "NEWSTOPIC" and can link this to a new topic. Depending on the definition of the macro, the topic width is reduced and the rightbar is displayed.

All design instructions are located in the mentioned CSS files.

Special Topic Templates

Special Macros

  • "FU_WEBSEARCHFOCUS", to disable/enable the onload focus of the WebSearch input field
  • "FU_PERSONALSIDEBAR", to disable/enable the entry "Create personal sidebar" in the WebLeftBar
  • "FAVICON", to set the Favicon for the browser
  • "NOWYSIWYG", to disable/enable the WYSIWYG editor
  • "EDITBOXSTYLE", to disable/enable monospaced font in the raw editor

Pages and CSS-Files that need to be saved before updating Foswiki

  • SiteMap (custom table with less information to obtain a better overview of Webs)
  • UserRegistration (custom form)
  • WebLeftBarLogin (if statemant to enable/disable the "personal sidebar")
  • /pub/System/PatternSkin/print.css (text resize automatically to the browser zoom)
  • Main
  • /template/foswiki.pattern.tmpl (lock Icon in WebLeftBar)


This site is powered by FoswikiCopyright © by the contributing authors. All material on this collaboration platform is the property of the contributing authors.
Ideas, requests, problems regarding Foswiki? Send feedback