Template:Documentation

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This template automatically displays a documentation box like you are seeing now, of which the content is transcluded from another page. It is intended for pages which are transcluded in other pages, i.e. templates, whether in the template namespace or not.

Usage

Normal

<noinclude>{{documentation}}</noinclude>
or <noinclude>{{documentation|template:any page/doc}}</noinclude>

This code should be added at the bottom of the template code, with no extra space before "<noinclude>" (which would cause extra space on pages where the template is used). The parameter can be used as shown above to transclude an arbitrary documentation page.

Add categories and interwiki links to the documentation page inside includeonly tags.

If the documentation page contains includeonly or noinclude tags as part of the documentation, replace the "<" with "&lt;".

Customizing display

Overrides exist to customize the output in special cases:

  • {{documentation|heading=}}: change the text of the "documentation" heading. If this is set to blank, the entire heading line (including the first [edit] link) will also disappear.

Functions

If the documentation page doesn't exist, the "edit" link includes a preload parameter so that clicking it will pre-fill the edit form with the basic documentation page format.

Advantages

Transclusion of a documentation page makes it possible to protect the page of the template itself while allowing anyone to edit the template's documentation, categories, and interwiki links.

Use of msgnw to show the content of a template is less cluttered with wikitext from the noinclude-part.

Disadvantages, substitution as alternative

Transclusion of a documentation page increases its expansion depth, for which a limit applies. In particular a demo showing an example within the limits and one exceeding them should itself not be transcluded. Instead the content of the /doc page include links to one or more demo subpages of the /doc page or to other template pages using it.

Another disadvantage is that when applying WhatLinksHere to a page the documentation links to, both the template page and the documentation page is listed, which clutters the list somewhat.

To avoid the disadvantages, yet get the same lay-out for the resulting template page, substitute Template:Docsubst by putting {{subst:docsubst}} inside <noinclude> tags. If the documentation page already exists, subsititute it and remove the text and links which are no longer applicable, or do like above, and copy the relevant content from the existing documentation page to the noinclude part of the template page.

But substituting transcluded doc pages also has its own more severe caveats : protected templates can no longer be recategorized and their doc updated (for example to update lists of dependencies with subtemplates, or to include more links to demos, discussions, usage policies, etc.), and it requires modifying the template itself, which could drain many more resources on the server. Generally the depth expansion should never be a problem : doc pages should show simple examples (most doc pages that explode the expansion depth are using deprecated tricks of MediaWiki, such as emulated loops, or are using the doc page to show the result of testcases which should be separated).

See also