Help:TemplateData

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What is TemplateData?[edit | edit source]

TemplateData is a way of storing information about a template and its parameters, so that the VisualEditor can retrieve and display it in the template editor, thus making it easier to edit templates.

TemplateData allows users to write small bits of structured data to a template page, or to be transcluded into that template page (such as on a documentation page). Once a template has this structured data, it can be displayed properly in the VisualEditor. While this may sound complex, it's actually very easy.

Structure of TemplateData[edit | edit source]

TemplateData's structure is based around the JSON standard, and is fairly simple. Note that all descriptions in TemplateData must be in plain text (no wikitext, no links, etc.).

The first thing to do is to type out a pair of <templatedata> tags, anywhere on the template's documentation subpage, like so:

<templatedata>
{
        ...                            <-- TemplateData content goes here
}
</templatedata>

This tells the software that everything between the two tags is TemplateData, and should be referenced when the template is used.

Example[edit | edit source]

The descriptions inside TemplateData follow a standard layout; let's say that you have a template called "Commons" for linking to a Commons category about a topic. It takes one mandatory parameter: the name of the category on Commons. The TemplateData would look something like this:

<templatedata>
{
        "description": "A template for linking to a commons category about an article",
        "params": {
                "1": {
                        "label": "Commons category",
                        "description": "The commons category you want to link to.",
                        "default": "Category:CommonsRoot",
                        "type": "string",
                        "required": true
                }
        }
}
</templatedata>

This would display, in the template, like so:

A template for linking to a commons category about an article

Template parameters
Parameter Description Type Default Status
Commons category 1 The commons category you want to link to. string Category:CommonsRoot required

Description and parameters[edit | edit source]


The first tag is a "description", which describes what the template does.
"description": "A template for linking to a commons category about an article",

There is then a "params" tag, which indicates that subsequent sections cover each parameter in the template.

All the parameters that follow are included in the "params" section.

"params": {
        ...            <-- parameters go here
}

Within each parameter's subsection, the first tag is the name of the template parameter within the template.

If the parameter has a name, like {{{category-link}}}, this tag would be "category-link".

If the parameter is "unnamed", meaning it's just a number like {{{1}}}, this tag would be "1".

All the bits of information about this parameter are included in the section that starts with the parameter's name.

        "1": {                 <-- name of the parameter
                ...            <-- information about the parameter goes here
        }

Next we have "label", in which you put a human-readable title for the parameter that will be displayed within the template editor.
                "label": "Commons category",

We then have "description": this time, it's a description of the parameter, not of the template as a whole.
                "description": "The commons category you want to link to.",

Next is "default", which defines the default value for the parameter.

You can ignore this parameter if there's no default.

                "default": "Category:CommonsRoot",

After that we have "type", which controls how the template editor will interpret that parameter. This can be:
  • "string": a set of characters, like this sentence;
  • "number": a set of digits;
  • "string/wiki-user-name": a set of characters that represents a user's name;
  • "string/wiki-page-name": a set of characters that represents a page's title.
                "type": "string",

We then have "required", which can be set to either true or false.

This simply controls whether filling out the parameter is mandatory for that template.

                "required": true

Once you're done, hit "save". If you've made errors, it will not let you save (which is disruptive, but means you can't break anything). Should you run into errors, explain on the feedback page what you were trying to do, and we will be happy to help.

Note that each bit of information is enclosed in quotation marks (except for true and false), and separated from the next bit by a comma (unless it's the last one).

Parameter aliases[edit | edit source]

Some templates allow a same parameter to have different names.

For example, {{Commons|category=Apples}} could also be written as {{Commons|Apples}} or {{Commons|link=Apples}}.

To add this information to TemplateData, you simply need to add the aliases to the parameter's information:

        "params": {
                "category": {
                        ...
                        "aliases": ["1", "link"]
                }

Multiple parameters[edit | edit source]

If you have multiple parameters, just repeat each section (starting from the "1" tag) and fill it out as you see fit. Note that if a template has multiple parameters, you need to separate them with a comma in the templatedata, like so:

        "params": {
                "1": {
                        ...
                },                     <-- notice the comma here
                "2": {
                        ...
                },                     <-- and here
                "3": {
                        ...
                }
        }

Similar parameters[edit | edit source]

When a template has multiple parameters, sometimes some of them can be of the same kind. In this case, you only need to provide full properties for the first one, and the others can "inherit" their properties from it.

        "params": {
                "topic1": {
                        "label": "Topic",
                        "description": "A topic mentioned on this disambiguation page",
                        "type": "string"
                },
                "topic2": {
                        "inherits": "topic1"
                },
                "topic3": {
                        "inherits": "topic1"
                },
        }

Blank boilerplate[edit | edit source]

You can copy the blank boilerplate below to add new TemplateData to a template. Only the most common tags are included.

<templatedata>
{
        "description": "",
        "params": {
                "1": {
                        "label": "",
                        "description": "",
                        "type": ""
                },
                "2": {
                        "label": "",
                        "description": "",
                        "type": ""
                }
        }
}
</templatedata>

Limitations and questions[edit | edit source]

  • Missing features — TemplateData is very much an example of tool that was made available with few features, in hope that users would help to guide development of features that they desired. If you'd like to request new features for TemplateData, please let us know.
  • Delays in showing in templates — After adding TemplateData to a template, the metadata should be visible immediately when the template is opened in VisualEditor. However, it is possible that it takes hours before the metadata show. You can force an update by making a null edit to the template page itself (not the documentation subpage). To perform a null edit, open the template page for editing, and save the page without making any change.
  • Current issues — A list of current bugs and feature requests is available in bugzilla.

Tools[edit | edit source]

  • TemplateDataEditor — A user script that makes the process of adding TemplateData easier. It currently exists in French (contains English, Italian, Japanese and Korean translations), and can easily be translated into other languages.
  • TemplateData Wizard — A tool that generates TemplateData through an interactive interface.
  • Skeleton TemplateData generator — A tool that reads the source wikicode of a template, tries to find all the parameters used and outputs a skeleton document with the parameters listed.
  • JSONLint — A tool that allows you to validate manually-written JSON to help find errors in the syntax.