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Generates a static view of a web, as HTML files on disc, or as a PDF, or as a zip or tgz archive file, or by uploading directly to an FTP server.

Originally written for TWiki, previously known as GenHTMLAddOn, PublishAddOn, and PublishContrib, this is the most complete publishing solution for Foswiki.

PublishPlugin provides support for the generation of stand-alone HTML from a web. It will generate fully rendered versions of a set of Foswiki pages together with any attached files.

When you want to read a document stored in Foswiki, you have to have access to the web server that hosts that document. There are times when this may not be desirable, or even possible. For example:
  1. Foswiki is used to create documentation which has to be readable off-line
  2. Published versions of Foswiki pages must be read-only
  3. The Foswiki server is inaccessible to the audience (e.g. on the other side of a corporate firewall)
  4. You want to put product documentation on a CD
The PublishPlugin supports the generation of several different read-only document formats from Foswiki pages, including HTML and PDF.


  • All standard Foswiki macros are interpreted
  • Plugins are called
  • Unresolved links to non-existent topics are silently ignored
  • Topic links internal to the wiki are translated to relative links
  • Powerful support for choosing what content gets published
  • Any links to the 'pub' areas of topics in the web are automatically resolved and the referenced files copied
  • Any links to images outside the wiki are resolved, and the image is stored in the output (requires LWP)
  • Output in HTML or PDF. HTML can be compressed in different archive formats.
  • Full support for hierarchical webs
  • Multiple instances (e.g. dev, test, prod) can be specified
  • Special output format specific templates (such as viewpdf) can be used
  • Able to publish HTML and referenced files directly to a remote server via ftp * Complete history of what was published, and when!


Publish Form

The easiest way to publish a web is from this topic, by filling in the following form.

The output is generated in a directory designated during installation. The progress messages printed during documentation generation tell you exactly where the output is. Admins can use the PublishPluginControlCentre to manage the published output.

Publishing is an access-controlled process; before you can publish, you have to have VIEW access to the topics you want to publish, and CHANGE access to the publishing history topic.

You can also create a permanent topic in a web to help with a repeated publishing process.

Choose what to publish
Web The Web to publish. web
Include (wildcard) Comma-separated list of wildcard patterns that match the names of topics to include. Use * for all topics. inclusions
Exclude (pattern) Comma-separated list of wildcard patterns that match the names of topics to exclude. Leave blank to include all topics. exclusions
Versions (topic) Name of a topic that contains a table, each row of which maps a topic names to the version of that topic to publish.
Leave blank to publish the most recent version of each topic.
The table can be generated by a %SEARCH{}% or other macro. For example: |Web.TopicName|1.33|.
If a topic does not appear in the table, the most recent version will be published.
Filter topic contents (regex) A regular expression that will cause a topic to be excluded if the RE matches the topic content.
Leave blank to include all topics.
Enable plugins (plugin names)
Comma-separated list of Plugins to enable during publish. Leave blank to enable all plugins.
You are recommended to disable any plugins that generate buttons in the output.
Output options
The output will be generated on the server, in the directory pointed to by the {PublishPlugin}{Dir} configuration setting. Administrators can manage the contents of this directory from the browser using the %PUBLISHERS_CONTROL_CENTRE% macro (See PublishPluginControlCentre).
ALERT! The rendered data can get pretty big, and the process itself puts a heavy load on the server, especially when using compression on large webs.
Publish skin The skin provides the template for how topics are published. See Skins for more informations on skins.
You are recommended to pick basic_publish, or plain, or a print skin. Your installation may also offer a special export or publish skin.
IDEA! The view template is used to generate published pages, so view.basic_publish.tmpl is the template that will be used to generate the output. You can preview any topic in this skin simply by appending ?skin=basic_publish to the end of the view URL. Note that the standard VIEW_TEMPLATE template override still works when publishing.
Output format Generates HTML output (file), HTML output compressed as zip or tgz, HTML uploaded to a ftp server, or pdf. format
Publishing history topic This is where the history of your publishing is stored. Each time you publish, this topic is re-written with the log of the publishing process. You have to have "change" access to this topic. You can specify a topic in another web using the standard Web.Topic syntax. history
Web options
Web options are only relevant for web output formats (file and ftp) The web formats generate a sitemap.xml, and can also generate default.htm, index.html and google site verification files.
Google file Generates the "HTML verification file" needed to verify your site claim. See Google webmaster tools. googlefile
Default page (topic) Name of topic to used to generate default.htm, index.html defaultpage
Relative directory Path of a directory relative to {PublishPlugin}{Dir} where you want the output generated. '/' means generate the output directly in {PublishPlugin}{Dir}. relativedir
Relative URL The base URL that your published Foswiki topics will reside at, for instance to create different publishing instances like dev, test and public. Use / if you will publish to the root of your site. See also Google webmaster tools. relativeurl
FTP options
FTP options are only relevant if the output format is ftp.
The FTP output generator was written by Foswiki:Main.SvenDowideit.
Server address Set to blank to proof the output prior to uploading to your site. destinationftpserver
Server path Path to upload to on the FTP server. destinationftppath
Username FTP server user name. destinationftpusername
Password FTP server password. destinationftppassword
Fast publish Speed up the ftp publishing by only uploading modified files. This will store a (tiny) checksum (.md5) file on the server alongside each uploaded file which will be used to optimise future uploads. Recommended. fastupload
Other output generator options
Extras Some output generators support extra options (e.g. for pdf, you can add htmldoc command-line parameters here, such as --linkstyle underline). extras

Wildcard Patterns

A wildcard is a special string that you can put into a filename so that it matches a whole range of files:
String What it does Example What the example matches
* Matches any string, including an empty string. *Cheese* Every topic with "Cheese" somewhere in the name (but not "cheese")
? Matches any single character. Example1? Example10 and Example 1X but not example1
[...] Matches any one of the enclosed characters. A pair of characters separated by a hyphen denotes a range expression; any character that sorts between those two characters, inclusive, using the current locale's collating sequence and character set, is matched. If the first character following the [ is a ^ then any character not enclosed is matched. A - may be matched by including it as the first or last character in the set. A ] may be matched by including it as the first character in the set.
Within [ and ], character classes can be specified using the syntax [:class:], where class is one of the following classes defined in the POSIX.2 standard: alnum, alpha, ascii, blank, cntrl, digit, graph, lower, print, punct, space, upper, word, xdigit. A character class matches any character belonging to that class. The word character class matches letters, digits, and the character _.
B[aeiou]g Bag, Bog, Big, Beg, Bug

Regular Expressions

A perl regular expression. You can use a simple string here, which will be matched exactly, or you can read up on perl regular expressions on the web.


Publishing a single topic

Create a link that invokes the rest script and pass the current topic in param inclusions:
<a class='foswikiPopUp'
Publish this page
(added newlines for readability).

Now you can use this link in a skin adaption to put the link (or button) on all pages. Example of a template:


%TMPL:DEF{"printable"}%<span><a class='foswikiPopUp'
rel='nofollow'>Publish this page</a></span>%TMPL:END%

Using a Publish Topic (configtopic)

You can create a publish topic in a web that contains all the details needed to publish that web. This is just a topic with a series of standard preference settings (which correspond to the form parameters) in it. You can use the PublishWeb topic in this web as a template for your own topics.

Alternatively you can just take a copy of the form in this topic, paste it into your own topic, and change the defaults.

To use a publish topic, you must pass the configtopic parameter to the publish script set to the name of the topic to use to control publishing. You can specify a topic in another web using the standard Web.Topic syntax.

Publishing from the command line

Just cd to the bin directory, and perl -T rest /PublishPlugin/publish. Parameters are passed as name=value pairs, for example:
perl -T rest /PublishPlugin/publish web=Book exclusions='Web*' format=file
perl -T rest /PublishPlugin/publish web=Book inclusions=WebBook format=pdf extras='--book --duplex --toclevels=5'
The available parameter names are shown in the publish form above, in the last column.

Controlling which parts of a topic get published

You can control what gets published from a topic using %STARTPUBLISH% and %STOPPUBLISH% control tags:
  • If %STARTPUBLISH% is the first control tag seen in the file, everything before it will be ignored.
  • Everything between %STOPPUBLISH% and the next %STARTPUBLISH% (or the end of the topic) will be ignored.
  • %STARTPUBLISH% and %STOPPUBLISH% will be visible in the viewed topic, so you can easily see what will be published from the topic.
Note: the old <nopublish> tag is deprecated and should be replaced in topics

Another good trick is to set up a special "publishing" web. Create topics in the web that %INCLUDE the topics from other webs that you want to publish. You can use STARTSECTION and ENDSECTION to highlight what you want published. This way the "publishing" web gives you a view of exactly what will be in the published output, without the need for special publishing tags.

Publishing History

Every time a web is published, then the results of that publishing step are stored in a topic in the web. By default this topic is called PublishPluginHistory, but you can choose another name (see the form, above). In order to publish a web, you have to be able to write to this topic. If you need to add access controls to the topic, then make sure you do that right at the beginning of the topic, or in the hidden preferences.

The history topics contains a list of all the parameters used, and the versions of the topics that were published, so it is very useful for tracking exactly what you publish. it is written every time you run publish.

Installation Instructions


Note: If you want to generate PDF files, you will need an installation of htmldoc. This program is available from for free, but you are strongly recommended to buy the commercial version. Your support for open-source projects helps make open-source software possible.

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.

Run configure and complete the installation in the PublishPlugin section.

PDF output

Install htmldoc from

Note that htmldoc can also be used to generate PostScript by using the -t option in the Other output generator options above. See the htmldoc man pages for details.

.tgz (tar) output

Install Archive::Tar and everything it depends on

.zip output

Install Archive::Zip and everything it depends on

WARNING! Anything published is no longer under the control of Foswiki access controls, and if you make the publish output directory visible on the web then you may need to take precautions to prevent accidental leakage of confidential information by restricting web access to this directory, for example in the Apache configuration.


This add-on started life as the GenHTMLAddon, written by Foswiki:Main/CrawfordCurrie at Motorola. It was then extended by Eric Scouten, and then further fixed and enhanced by Foswiki:Main/CrawfordCurrie ( It has also been extended by Foswiki:Main/SvenDowideit and Foswiki:Main/MartinCleaver, and most recently refactored for Foswiki by Foswiki:Main/CrawfordCurrie.

Authors: Foswiki:Main/CrawfordCurrie, Eric Scouten, Foswiki:Main.SvenDowideit, Foswiki:Main.MartinCleaver, Foswiki:Main.ArthurClemens
File::Spec>0Required. Used to analyse URL paths.
File::Copy>0Required. Used to move files around.
File::Path>0Required to manipulate directories.
File::Temp>0Required for temporary files.
LWP>0Optional. Used to include images referenced by absolute URLs
Archive::Zip>=0Optional. Required to generate .zip output
Archive::Tar>=0Optional. Required to generate .tgz output
Net::FTP>0Optional. Required for ftp publishing.
htmldocOptional. Required to generate .pdf output
Digest::MD5>0Optional. Required for fast upload to ftp servers.
License: GPL
Version: 9813 (2010-11-01)
Release: 01 Nov 2010
Change History:  
01 Nov 2010 Foswikitask:Item8658: fix rest output when publishing to file, pdf and ftp
29 Oct 2010 Foswikitask:Item8522: support for Foswiki 1.1.x and also 1.0.x+ZonePlugin Foswikitask:Item1638: fixed finding resources with parameters (e.g. ?t=2365421)
05 Feb 2010 Documentation update.
12 Jan 2010 Foswikitask:Item2557: fixed publish head elements added by ADDTOHEAD
11 Jan 2010 Foswikitask:Item2615: fixed finding resources not inside quotes
30 May 2009 Foswikitask:Item8168: fixed genopt (extras)
22 May 2009 Foswikitask:Item8165: fixed missing BASEWEB and other internal preferences. This was resulting in the wrong web being used for some operations
16 May 2009 Foswikitask:Item1626: fixed META{"formfield" Foswikitask:Item8150: (Marc Schaefer) fix for -skin parameter Foswikitask:Item1557: doc fix Foswikitask:Item1585: allow history topic in different web Foswikitask:Item871: add missing newline at start of topic text. Foswikitask:Item1449: topic publisher was not popping the context correctly Foswikitask:Item1632: improve backporting support
18 Mar 2009 Foswikitask:Item804: automatically create publish dir Foswikitask:Item8078: support publishing to a subdir of the publish dir, under url param control
14 Feb 2009 Foswikitask:Item1033: fixed button in PublishWeb
27 Nov 2008 Foswikitask:Item8019: refactored as a plugin and tested in Foswiki
27 Oct 2008 Item5385: Fixed doc for configtopic Item5388: $WEB and $TOPIC were not correct in %IF statements Item5390: remove comments from .css before processing for included resoures Item5706: Improved FTP upload process for incrementally maintained webs Item6029: expand config topic on load to support use of searches Item6030: respect VIEW_TEMPLATE in published topics Item6092: expand common tags in configtopic Item6094: move sitemap options into base file generator Item6110: rename settings in config topic to avoid clashes with other plugins
11 Dec 2007 Item5099 fixed
10 Nov 2007 Tested on 4.2.0. Item4624:, Item4625: Item4830: fixed. Item4825: added a basic skin to avoid the confusion caused by text skin. Item4951: added interface to allow management of output files
13222 fixed ftp publish, added doco, and added enabled plugin selection funcitonality
13064 Item3722 worked around core attaching URL params to internal URLs
12961 Item3671 cannot publish without write access to history topic, so security now checked early. Item3619 Cleaned up error handling from writers. Item3675 added history topic to record changeset. Plus major refactoring of main class to get rid of some of the cruft that had built up from many authors. Item2726: uses getExternalResource now, so should obey proxy settings (untested)
12824 Added support for new internal api - no user changes
12708 Added UI for FTP. Added .spec file. Fixed Item3515 and Item2725
12028 Michael Daum - create a new TWiki object for every topic, don't reuse the current one (Item3139)
10412 Correction to the correction for anchors.
10345 Correction to support anchors in URLs properly
10242 Martin Cleaver - changes to allow generation of viewprint and viewxxx when specified by TEMPLATE; multiple INSTANCE (dev/test/prod); (Item2269)
10063 Bugfix Item2216
10006 Crawford Currie - fixed problem where it was failing to remove <base> tags completely (Item2200)
9986 Crawford Currie - added doc on usage from command line, corrected sense of topicsearch filter (Item2120, Item2121), renamed parameters (old ones are still valid), corrected handling of empty web refs (Item2128), deprecated nopublish html-style tag in favour of PublishWebPlugin-compatible style (though with richer semantics) (Item2196)
9823 Crawford Currie - added support for hierarchical webs, and inclusion of external images.
9773 Crawford Currie - added tgz and pdf support
9725 Michael Daum - fixed rewriting urls; fixed nested resources issue; creating a new prefs object for each topic
9713 Corrected form action so it uses up the right web preferences
9695 Michael Daum - recursively archive resources imported by css files; fixed several html errors in the PublishPlugin and PublishWeb topics; removed hardcoded reference to print.pattern
8959 TWiki-4 version. Also supports publishing to a file area, making TWiki easier to use as a CMS (see also Foswiki:Extensions/PublishWebPlugin, which does almost the same thing frown, sad smile )
6276 Item196 - bugfix for HTTP_HOST, as described in the Dev topic for the contrib
5566 Changed interface to support wildcards, and lightened the plugin by replacing a lot of files with simpler ways of doing things.
5499 Added Compress::Zlib dependency, as requested by Brad Taylor
27 Apr 2005 1.301 Crawford Currie - fixed minor issues highlighted by Bruce Dillahunty and Scott Claridge
11 Apr 2005 1.3 Crawford Currie - reworked the interface and code to work better
13 October 2004 1.200 Crawford Currie - Cairo compatible
7 Jan 2003 1.1 Initial version

Related Topics: DefaultPreferences, SitePreferences, Plugins


This code is a development of the Architectures and System Platforms group of Motorola Inc. and is protected by the following copyrights:
  • Copyright © 2001 Motorola. All Rights Reserved.
  • Copyright © 2002-2003, Eric Scouten.
  • Copyright © 2004-2006 Crawford Currie
  • Copyright © 2006 Martin Cleaver

The 2005 functionality improvements were sponsored by Wind River Systems

The pdf and tgz output formats were made possible by Sabio Labs

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details, published at
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