Commit Code

Note: Git is now the preferred method for contributing to Tiki, please see the Git Workflow for instructions (and update them where necessary).

You can now simply make a merge request at https://gitlab.com/tikiwiki/tiki/merge_requests thanks to the Git and SVN combined workflow

How to Submit Tiki Code Changes

Here are step-by-step instructions on how to submit Tiki code changes under two different situations: when using a hosted server and when using your own PC as a server for development purposes. How to get commit access and Where to commit are recommended reading before starting these instructions.

Although the process is a little different for each situation, the basic idea is the same. First, you check out the developer version you wish to make changes to. Checking out means downloading the entire developer version from the repository (SourceForge.net) to your server using a SVN program. An SVN program is used because it will keep track of the changes you make and allow you to upload only the changed files to the repository. The entire Tiki program is downloaded (not just the files you want to change) so that you can install and test the Tiki version with your changes. After making and testing your changes, you commit them to the repository using the SVN program, which means your changed files are uploaded into the repository, creating a new Tiki development version that includes your changes.

Below, the processes for both situations (hosted server and PC as the server) are described.


In Either Situation

The following are must-haves in order to commit whether you are using a hosted server or your own PC as the server:

  • SourceForge Account: You will need to have an account at SourceForge.net - click here to register for one.

  • Project Administrator Permission: A Tiki Project Administrator will need to grant you permission to write to the code repository by adding your SourceForge username to the Tiki project as a developer. Project Administrators are listed at http://sourceforge.net/projects/tikiwiki/develop.

  • Decide Version: There are different developer versions that changes can be made to. Before you begin, decide or get advice on which version you should download and make changes to. See Where to commit for more information. Which version you intend to change affects the path you will need to specify when checking out and downloading those files. The paths for the different versions can be found at SourceForge.net at https://svn.code.sf.net/p/tikiwiki/code/.

With a Hosted Server

The following are must-haves in order to commit on a hosted server in addition to the general prerequisites noted above:

  • SSH/Shell Access: You will need to access your server using shell access. This may be available from your web host (or you may be able to request it). If so, it will show up on the cPanel (if you have one) in the Security section. Otherwise, there are free third-party programs that do the same thing (like PuTTy - and here's a list of such programs).
     Linux and Mac
    Linux and Mac machines already include a system utility called Terminal that provides shell access.
  • SVN: Your server will need to have SVN installed. If it's not installed, try typing apt-get install subversion while connected through shell access to install it.

With Your PC as Server

In addition to the must-haves noted above for either situation, here are additional must-haves in order to commit when using your PC as a server:

  • Third-Party SVN Program: You will need to install a third-party SVN program. A list of such programs can be found on this Wikipedia page, or see the Setup a Development Environment page on this site which links to pages documenting how to create a development environment.

  • Third-Party source code editor: You will need to download and install a third-party code editor to make the changes you wish to make. Do not use a plain text editor (like Word). A list of code editors can be found on this Wikipedia page, or see the Setup a Development Environment page on this site for some tips.
    It's very important to set your code editor to:
    (1) use Unix-style line breaks (LF) and not Windows style breaks (CRLF), and
    (2) encode documents with UTF-8 without BOM (the "without BOM" is important).

Of course other software is required to set up your PC as a server in the first place (see Using Your PC as the Server on the next page or see Setup a Development Environment for some tips.

Using a Hosted Server

Overview of Steps

Here's an overview of the steps for committing using a hosted server:

  • Get onto your server through SSH/Shell Access
  • Run the svn command to download the development version you want to change onto your server
  • Make the code changes you want to make and save them
  • Run the svn command to check your changes
  • Test your the Tiki install that you just changed to see if it functions
  • Run the svn command to commit your changes
  • End the SSH/Shell Access connection

These steps are described in detail below.

These instructions assume you are using a standard shell on a Linux machine (i.e., your server is running Linux). If the server is using Windows, please make sure to run something like dos2unix before you commit.

Step 1: Get on Your Server Using SSH/Shell Access

  1. Access the server you want to download to through SSH/Shell Access (through cPanel or third-party software). You will need to enter the following at a minimum:
    1. The server's host name or IP Address
    2. Your username on that server
    3. The related password

    Connect to remote server via SSH
    Copy to clipboard
    ssh username@server.com enter password

    You can accept message about RSA key fingerprint.

  2. Once on your server, move to the web directory
    Move to the web directory, typically "www"
    Copy to clipboard
    cd www

  3. Create an empty directory on your server to download to like you would for a normal install of Tiki
    Create a directory, for example "tiki"
    Copy to clipboard
    mkdir tiki

  4. Move to the directory you want to download to. For example, if you want to download to tiki, then type the following and hit enter:
    Move to download directory
    Copy to clipboard
    cd tiki

Step 2: Checkout Files via SVN

Type in svn checkout (path) . and hit enter to check out a development version. The (path) in the command is the path on SourceForge.net to the version you wish to make changes to.

See Where to commit for guidelines on deciding the appropriate version to commit to.

Below, two alternatives are shown: checking out a branch and checking out the trunk. In both cases, assume we found a bug in the last_mod plugin and therefore want to change the lib/wiki-plugins/wikiplugin_lastmod.php file.

  1. Example: Checking out Branch 12.x (see Get code for available Versions)
    Checking out branch 12.x
    Copy to clipboard
    svn checkout https://svn.code.sf.net/p/tikiwiki/code/branches/12.x .

  2. Example: Checking out Trunk
    Checking out trunk
    Copy to clipboard
    svn checkout https://svn.code.sf.net/p/tikiwiki/code/trunk .

In both cases the last space and period at the end is very important - it causes the download to be made to here, in the directory where you are at when the command is made.

After hitting enter, you should see the file names scrolling up the screen as the files are downloaded. At the end, you should see a message telling which revision has been checked out, as in this screenshot:

Layer 1

Step 3: Make Your Changes

You can make changes either using your normal edit interface or through the shell access.

Using Normal Edit Interface

The easiest way to make changes is usually through whatever interface you normally use, for example by going through cPanel > File Manager and opening the file with your server's code editor, however using a editor like PhpStorm will save immeasurable amounts of time if moderate changes are made. You may also want to familiarize yourself with Tiki's DevTips and Secure Coding Practice Guidelines. After you've made and saved your changes, go to Step 4.

Expand the instructions below if you're making changes through the shell access instead.

Use Shell Access to Make Changes


Step 4: Check Your Changes

  1. Go back to the SSH/shell access screen and make sure you are in the top level tiki directory, www/tiki in our example

  2. In the SSH/shell access screen type svn diff to view your changes:
    Use svn diff to view changes
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    svn diff

    All changes you have made to all files will be shown as in the following screenshot:

    As you can see, only one line was changed here (actually one character, an O was changed to a Z). Since this was the intention, we will move on to test the change.

Step 5: Test Your Tiki Install

  1. If you haven't already, install the developer version you have downloaded and changed by following the normal Installation procedures through an internet browser.
    If you get a server error, you may need to set the permissions for all of the files you downloaded to 755.

  2. Once installed, test Tiki to ensure that your changes work properly.

Step 6: Commit Your Changes

  1. Type the svn commit command which consists of 3 parts:

    1. The svn command: svn commit -m

    2. A note describing the change, for example: [FIX] (short description of fix)
      Your commit message may start with one or more to distinguish changes. Descriptions with tags will go into the changelog and tags will help to classify.

The following tags can be used to distinguish changes:

  • NEW for additions of new features
  • ENH is an enhancement; not really new but makes things work better (e.g. look and feel, performance...)
  • DOC for improvements in the tips or contextual documentation provided to the user/admin
  • FIX for bug fixes of any sort
  • SEC for security fix operations. If you feel you have reason to put this tag, please first contact security at tiki.org.
  • UPD for updates of third party/vendor libraries
  • UX for user experience improvements; makes Tiki easier to use and understand (more details in https://dev.tiki.org/UX )
  • DB for changes in the database
  • MOD is a change which may be disruptive. For example, changing the default value of an option.
  • REM for feature removals
  • REF for refactoring; changes the structure of the code (to make it cleaner or clearer), without changing its actual behaviour.
  • KIL for removals of unused or obsolete files. This tag was used in the sense of REM prior to Tiki 6.
  • REL for the release process
  • MRG for branch merges, generally performed by the merge scripts
  • TRA for translation

When possible, it's also nice to indicate what feature is concerned by the change.
The tags info is also online: https://dev.tiki.org/Commit+Tags

++ If there is a report of the issue solved, add a line to indicate it. For example, if the change addresses issue #426: "Ref: http://dev.tiki.org/wish426" ++ ++ In the case of a "backport," (committing a change already made in trunk to an earlier version), a backport reference should be added in front. For example, [bp/r61102] [FIX]... in a commit message to the branch branches/16x, means this fix is a backport of trunk revision 61102 to the next version of Tiki 16x. Depending on the period, backports are subject to an extra level of review so please read Quality Team and Where to commit first or ask on the mailing list or IRC if unsure. ++ ++ In the case of a "rolling back," (reverting a commit), a "rb" reference should be added in front. For example, [rb/r61102] ... in a commit message to the branch branches/16x, means the change committed in revision 61102 are rolled back (removed, reverted) to the previous state, before r61102. ++ ++ In the case of a typo fix only and/or while doing code reformatting that won’t need to be in the changelog.txt file it is ok to commit without a tag. ++
    1. The file path: filepath
      • You can leave the file path off, in which case all changes are shown in svn diff will be committed (even if more than one file has been changed)
  1. Following our example, this would be:
    Commit command
    Copy to clipboard
    svn commit -m "[FIX] Fixed display of time zone, which was showing as %O" lib/wiki-plugins/wikiplugin_lastmod.php

    Here's a screenshot (with a slightly different description):
    You may be prompted for a password based on your server username instead of your SourceForge user name. Just hit enter to move to a prompt for entering your SourceForge user name.{REMARKSBOX}
  2. You will get a message indicating that your commit was successful

Step 7: Disconnect Shell Connection

Shell command
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Step 8: Be Proud of Yourself

Tiki is the collective work of hundreds of people. It works because of volunteers, like you, take the time to make it better.

Notice of your commit will appear in the Tiki IRC chat channel. Go here to see it in the logs or, better yet, log on to the actual chat channel just before you commit and see the notice pop up live!

See next page for instructions when using your own PC as a development server.


The following is a list of keywords that should serve as hubs for navigation within the Tiki development and should correspond to documentation keywords.

Each feature in Tiki has a wiki page which regroups all the bugs, requests for enhancements, etc. It is somewhat a form of wiki-based project management. You can also express your interest in a feature by adding it to your profile. You can also try out the Dynamic filter.

Accessibility (WAI & 508)
Articles & Submissions
BigBlueButton audio/video/chat/screensharing
Browser Compatibility
Communication Center
Contacts Address book
Contact us
Content template
Custom Home (and Group Home Page)
Database MySQL - MyISAM
Database MySQL - InnoDB
Date and Time
Debugger Console
Directory (of hyperlinks)
Documentation link from Tiki to doc.tiki.org (Help System)
Draw -superseded by Diagram
Dynamic Content
Dynamic Variable
External Authentication
Featured links
Feeds (RSS)
File Gallery
Friendship Network (Community)
i18n (Multilingual, l10n, Babelfish)
Image Gallery
Inter-User Messages
Kaltura video management
Live Support
Logs (system & action)
Lost edit protection
Meta Tag
Missing features
Visual Mapping
OS independence (Non-Linux, Windows/IIS, Mac, BSD)
Organic Groups (Self-managed Teams)
Performance Speed / Load / Compression / Cache
Revision Approval
Search engine optimization (SEO)
Semantic links
Shopping Cart
Site Identity
Smarty Template
Social Networking
Spam protection (Anti-bot CATPCHA)
Staging and Approval
Syntax Highlighter (Codemirror)
Tell a Friend
Terms and Conditions
Federated Timesheets
Token Access
Toolbar (Quicktags)
User Administration
User Files
User Menu
Webmail and Groupmail
Wiki History, page rename, etc
Wiki plugins extends basic syntax
Wiki syntax text area, parser, etc
Wiki structure (book and table of content)
Workspace and perspectives

Useful Tools