Joe,

Your analysis is mostly correct, except that the caching behavior you observe is actually a function of MediaWiki, rather than Semantic MediaWiki. You could eliminate the behavior, I believe, by tweaking MediaWiki's configuration. But you're also correct that in many cases this can be good--the cached output is a performance saver, especially for large wikis/highly trafficked wikis/wikis where the data doesn't change that often. I think if the feature you suggested were made a default part of SMW, it would largely negate the benefits of the caching mechanism, because people would tend to click that "refresh" button just because it was there.

However, there's an easy way to do what you describe, and I have this exact feature in one of my wikis. Just add a template named Template:CacheBust to your wiki with the following contents:

Data current as of {{CURRENTMONTHNAME}} {{CURRENTDAY}}, {{CURRENTYEAR}}, {{CURRENTTIME}}. [{{fullurl:{{FULLPAGENAME}}|action=purge}} Clear cached data]

...Then, add a call to the template {{CacheBust}} either above or below queries you anticipate needing frequent refreshing. This template shows the age of the data (because the variables are cached at the same time), and makes it easy for the user to purge the cache if it looks too old. You might have to tweak the {{fullurl:...}} part if your wiki isn't set up with rewrite rules, but other than that, this solution should be pretty generally applicable.

-Matt


On Fri, Apr 25, 2008 at 1:16 PM, Joe Clark <joeclark@joeclarkia.net> wrote:
I've done a little more testing of the SMW "inline query" mechanism.  My
"use case" here is creating an automatically up-to-date list of TODO
items.  Consider this:

* I created a template using two annotation types: todo-title, todo-text.
* I create a Todo List page which will store the list of todo items.. that
is, it contains the inline query.
* I create a few pages which use the template, in effect adding "TODO"
items to those pages.
* I reload the Todo List page, and.. nothing -- no entries.
* I edit/save the Todo List page, and.. all the todo items show up.

I assume this is the way that SMW works.  This is not really intuitive and
seems to lead to confusion about what is really in the "database" that is
the wiki.

I suppose there is a good reason for this: too much database overhead to
query every time, etc.

As a workaround, I would propose a button/icon on the list (query) display
that would refresh the data (in effect edit/save the page, but without the
user steps).  This would fit nicely into the column headers I think.  It
would also make it more obvious that the user might have to do something
to see the current list.

Any thoughts?  Am I missing something?
 - Joe


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