In some sites (mine, for example), the pages are quasi-static, while the sidebar must be updated at each commit (because it contains some lists, like "last posts" or "last updates", or a tagcloud). As this sidebar is included in every page of the site, many commits can potentialy leat to a full re-compilation....

I think a sidebar included after the compilation (via a SSI mechanism for example) would make sense and reduce the dependencies.

Different things could be possible:

  • output as .shtml instead of .html
  • ignore the sidebar->page dependency links
  • consider the real dependencies; pageA may include the title (only) of pageB, but don't need to be recompiled after each typo correction on pageB.

shtml output with open cgi web access is a potential security hole and can DoS the site, but it's not a problem for a single-editor site.


This is a good idea, though sadly not portable enough to be the default. Especially if the only way to do it is with .shtml. But I really like the idea of not rebuilding the sidebar all the time. Definitly a TODO, for me, if I can figure out how to do it. Patches eagerly accepted.

I have implemented a htmlext configuration item, that lets you control what extension ikiwiki uses for output html pages. So in theory, a sidebar could be done as you describe using .shtml. --Joey


I have a plan for a way to avoid unecessary rebuilds caused by the sidebar. The idea is to use wikistate to store what a sidebar renders to. Then in the needsbuild hook, render sidebar(s) and compare with their previous stored rendering. If a sidebar's rendered content has changed, then all pages that display that sidebar need to be forced to be rebuilt.

Also, if there is no previous stored rendering for a sidebar, or if there is a stored rendering for a sidebar page that no longer exists, then the pages need to be rebuilt. (This should deal with the Building a sidebar does not regenerate the subpages bug.

This would also save significant time, since the stored sidebar rendering could just be dumped into the page by the pagetemplate hook. Current code re-loads and renders the same sidebar file for every page built!

The sticky part is (relative) links on the sidebar. These would need to be modified somehow depending on the page that the sidebar is placed on, to not break the link.

Another wrinkle is changing subpage links on a sidebar. Suppose a sidebar links to page foo. If page bar/foo exists, the sidebar on page bar will, currently, link to that page, in preference to a toplevel foo. If bar/foo is removed, it will update to link to foo. With the new scheme, the stored sidebar rendering is not for page foo, and so the change of the bar/foo link will not be noticed or acted on. Granted, it's unlikely that anyone relies on the current behavior. You generally want links on a sidebar to link to the same place on every page that displays it. So finding some way to force all links on a sidebar to be handled absolutely and documenting that would avoid this problem.

So, one way to handle both the above problems would be to use the pre-rendered sidebar for each page, but use a html parser to look for links in it, and munge them to work as relative links on the page the sidebar is being added to. Or, if the wiki's url is known, just do this once when rendering the sidebar, adding the full url to the links. (Maybe require url be set when using sidebar?) --Joey