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PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2008 6:04 am 
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INTRO
Joomla is a fantastic piece of software that has revolutionized the way I design websites and has exponentially increased the services I can offer my customers. Yet one of the first things I discovered while learning it was the absence of a simple way to define custom fields for content. Joomla is a content management system and as such, this would be one of its most logical next steps.

There are many uses for custom fields. One example would be an art gallery. Definable fields might be artist, medium (oil, watercolor…), size, date painted, exhibit location, etc., etc. Having these fields separate from the article body would allow non-designer content editors to add this information in a more logical, clear way. Furthermore, the information will populate into the template setup by the web developer without worry that a non-designer might not successfully follow a desired layout in the WYSIWYG (i.e. not screw things up). Lastly, the fields should be searchable, giving powerful new search possibilities.

There have been several discussions in the forums about adding custom content types, and it seems to be a popular request. Here’s an example of a thread: http://forum.joomla.org/viewtopic.php?f=38&t=200571 (don’t mind the slightly demanding title ;).

There are several commercial components, but no GPL (that I’m aware of) that have this type of function. Joomsuite Content is one of them: http://extensions.joomla.org/component/option,com_mtree/task,viewlink/link_id,4021/Itemid,35/
The problem with these commercial components is twofold. First, they often violate the GPL and only allow only one installation per license. This can be very costly for a Joomla developer who develops multiple sites. Secondly they are proprietary and may or may not work together with other Joomla components/plugins. SEF URLS quickly come to mind here.

I believe that a good universal solution for custom fields/content types will bring Joomla! to a whole new level.

OVERVIEW
As it stands right now, there is only one definable content area managed by a single editor, per article. It would be great to add an interface for adding new form elements into the back end that would be included with articles.
This will probably require its own mini-control panel. Different screens will be needed to create the content types and to define their available data (when appropriate). These content types could be defined as text areas, dates, dropdowns, etc. For each field, an administrator can define any available or default content as needed (for example choices in a dropdown menu, or a date range).

The current article interface will need to be modified to display the custom fields. Optionally but in the ideal world, the front end editor will also display the custom fields. Once the new content types are defined, they would be available in the article editor as available fields, separate from the main editor.

The ability to control their arrangement /order (at least in a limited way) for the front end is needed. This could be in the form of a “custom field manager”, which could function similarly to the article manager but for fields.
A plugin(s) would need to be created to make the custom content fields searchable.

IMPLEMENTATION
In the above mentioned thread it is suggested that Drupal has an add-on called CCK which allows custom content. Perhaps the Joomla component can be modeled after it…?

This is a fairly complex component and may have to wait until Joomla 2.0, unless there is a lot clamoring for it (I hope so!!!). It will probably need to be developed as a whole and not divided into multiple releases, although functionality could be added over time.

IMPACTS
As firstly a designer and secondly a programmer, impacts are not really in my department ;). But I’ll theorize that this may add some SQL queries, though the performance overhead will be slight. It should depend mainly on how many fields are added.

FINAL THOUGHTS
If you’re interested in this, please place a comment so the developers can tell how much you would love it. I'm sure especially for those of you that are more designer than hardcore programmer, you can see how many possibilities this can open up. Also, I’d be the first to concede that this white paper isn’t perfect. Feel free to add your thoughts.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2008 9:27 am 
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Put me on that list (eh, or did I just accomplish that? )

Custom fields would be a major up for joomla - at least for my purposes. Articles could be split into more parts than just intro and full. Additionally, some fields that would lead to unwanted variations could be dropdowns choices only.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2008 10:43 pm 
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I back this too. I think the title may need tweaking so people can get a better idea of what the thread is about.

I would love to have the ability to be able to add custom fields to the main content, this would open up the core content which most people would like to use for slightly different means than just news or articles.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2008 11:47 pm 
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Yes I agree and thanks for your feedback. Any idea for a better title? I guess "super" does sound a little used car salesmanish...

The main problem here I think is describing this well enough so people understand just what they can do with it. Right now articles are basic static pages. With this idea, you would basically have the means of creating your own basic component in a very user friendly way. I think it would add a lot to Joomla.

The other issue I predict will be convincing the developers how useful it would be to build into the core rather than count on a 3rd party component.

Barrie North just published an interesting article about custom fields on his blog. He is excited about the JoomSuite component, which basically has the features I have in mind...only it's a non-gpl and costly 3rd party extension that will have compatibility issues with many other 3rd party extensions. Check it out: http://www.compassdesigns.net/joomla-blog/What-will-be-Joomla-1.5s-killer-app.html


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2008 5:15 am 
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This is a great idea, I think that will be a tool who make simple I add my fields (textarea, text, selects, wysiwyg, etc) and has the default actions like add, edit, list, del, etc. I think that all content type of Joomla should be created in this manner :) . The programmer will focus in development of a new widgets and features for this content, and the designer focus on how to show the contents. We can think in use XML with xpath, some new features will come with postgresql like indexes for it and a little of JavaScript too...


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 10:42 pm 
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I totally agree this would be the ultimate Joomla feature!


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2008 1:34 am 
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I doubt that this component will be supported. I am not to discourage anyone here. Its been 2 years since I am searching for something like this. I have posted in the forum and contacted admins. No one is keen/bothered to develop a component such as this.

This is would be a break-through for Joomla, if someone would be interested in developing an efficient component. But honestly I have given up my hopes.

This component would set Joomla apart from all its competitors. But NO LUCK. There was no major upgrade from V1 to V1.5, at many occasions admins said this would be in V1.5 but not to be.

I AM VERY DISAPPOINTED WITH THE WHOLE THING.

PLEASE SOMEONE DEVELOP IT, DON'T BOTHER TO WAIT FOR JOOMLA TEAM, THEY WILL NOT DO THIS.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2008 6:31 am 
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I am sure the Joomla team already have many things to handle, and they have provided a platform which I am very happy with. Just did a transfer of my EZ Publish site to Joomla, and I am truly happy I did.

The only thing I am missing from Joomla is the ability to customise content, which I believe could be done by simply making different templates for different types of information.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2008 5:22 pm 
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Here are some links who are trying something similar

http://forum.mamboserver.com/showthread.php?t=76185

viewtopic.php?f=38&t=200571

Of course community builder's registration form. Very similar concept.

I am also one of the skeptics about this component, If it will ever be implemented. Developers should consider this component very seriously. Perhaps developers should take this a challenge. Its been longing for a very long time as mentioned above by timhorton.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 12:13 am 
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Well, there are some directory component that do close things, such as Sobi2 and Ewriting. They don't use the core features (editors, mambots) but you can pretty much make up your own fields for contents.

Unfortunatelly one doesn't handle pagination inside entries (articles) and mambots and other is outdated and vulnerable. Also no one is willing to help fixing it.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 6:18 am 
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Sobi2 is not all that close to what others are discussing here. Ewriting is limited and its $100 per license and beats the GPL idea. We are looking for custom fields for each content. If we were write reviews about Computer Hardwares, viz [drive]. Section->Computer Hardware, category->[drive], now we we need to categorize the [drive] as whether its SATA/IDE/PATA, INTERNAL/EXTERNAL, 2.5"/3.5", 5400/7200/10000 RPM, Manufacturers, etc. This feature is not available in Joomla. But this is very pertinent and essential one.

Though Joomla core is designed to be extermely expandable. Nobody has come forward to develop this component, which is very important as I said. Its very unfortunate.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 2:47 pm 
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That's what I said. The difference is they doen't work with the core. And it's some BRUTAL difference. They create directories with systems of their own and are not expansible at all - just one custom field set per copy. (PS: Ewriting is free, maybe we're talking about different stuff)

Just listing the common stuff used to attempt a custom fields looks result. We're doing what in my country we call a "gambiarra" (it refers loosely to improvisation, something you do to an object or machine to make it work kinda how you want but may not be exactly a real solution).

I'm also not saying that if there is something "semi-close" in appearance, the real thing is not MUCH needed. 8)


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 4:40 pm 
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Instead of waiting for the Joomla team, as they would never reply to these threads. We might start a small group who are interested in the component and develop it. It might not be too big a deal. If we get couple of heads together we might be able pull this off.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 7:49 am 
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I think one reason more people aren't checking this out is because we're still in the limbo forum... I guess they were serious about that 25th deadline. For the record if anyone cares :) it was 10:30pm Pacific time on the 25th when I posted.

Also I'm not sure how whiny sounding complaints are going to do a good job to get the message across. I don't think that's exactly the most positive way to approach the developers who bust their (replace) to give you this great CMS. Intelligent discussion is what's going to attract people to talk about it. I just think it’s maybe one of those ideas that not a lot of people have given much thought...but will either now, or once they see other CMS's with the ability... It’s a pretty big project, and one best done well if done at all. Maybe if it can't go into 1.6, it will later.

rakeshkg81: Great idea, but my concern is that I believe custom fields should be added to the core instead of an extension. If you make a component that offers this, as far as I know you will have to override com_content and pretty much Joomla's whole article system including sections/categories, etc. It means you must make your own proprietary system to replace it. You will have to rig it to work with SEF urls, search, plugins/mambots and will constantly have to update it as Joomla updates. Any 3rd party components designed to integrate w/com_content won't function.

If anyone's interested enough in this, I recommend trying JoomSuite Content. It's neither GPL or cheap, but it pretty much does what I think we all are imagining. The problem with it as mentioned in the white paper is it's not integrated in the core. There are also whispers of JExtended (built by core devs), but even with it I wonder if it can offer a simple solution that doesn’t override a large part of Joomla (any input here would be enlightening :) ).

"Super Component" (while it may sound a little silly) is actually a fitting description. Adding custom fields to the existing article manager will basically give you a swiss army knife component. For simple everyday needs, you can replace a lot of the components that are out there, right in Joomla. Just for instance, if you have a simple catalog but don’t need to actually sell anything, you could get by fine by making custom fields for the various attributes. But if you are going to have a store or do something more complex, you’d still need a dedicated e-commerce add-on. If done well, at least in code (maybe fields are available in the template override) it could even allow basic templating of the layout of the articles themselves...including images if they are allowed as fields. This would make dummy proof editing for clients and save a ton of time when posting content for everyone. If searching and grouping the results from the fields were possible, it would also add a lot to search.

This is going out on a limb here. Don't laugh as I only barely know what I'm talking about but... if a custom field system were built right into the framework... wouldn't that allow 3rd party components to access the custom fields for their components? Could that then simplify extension building and take a step towards everything working together better??


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2008 12:47 am 
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Hi Andrew,

So we weren't in the lucky 12 to make it to "up for consideration"?

I know there are a lot of important priorities for Joomla. I know not everything can and should be in the core. I just hope that unity of the extension system and the core is taken into consideration. Right now it's kind of a mess to use many types of extensions together. I wish you luck with Jxtended and thanks for all your work. Joomla rocks. While I'm not much of a developer, I do hope my energy put in here can be valuable to the community.

Cheers,

Jason


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PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2008 6:59 pm 
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Nice topic indeed! Many thanks to unleash.it :)
Found it as i'm desperatly looking for a 'simple catalog' component on a joomla 1.5 showroom website.
rakeshkg81 described v well what I'm lookin for.
Am too new to Joomla to be sure, but this lack might well be related to the way Joomla handle content by Section / Category only, shouldn't it?

Quote:
"Super Component" (while it may sound a little silly) is actually a fitting description.

The "Super Component" in the title is rather confusing. unleash.it, as you said it clear, such a feature should definitively be handled by the core content manager rather than by a component. Wouldn't "Custom fields/content types in Joomla" be good?

About Jxtended, i realize they just released 'Advanced Catalog for Joomla! 1.5' on April 29th. Great news, not sure one can test it though.

Also noted that JoomSuite Content has reviews, but some are rather from unhappy customers.


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PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2008 12:48 am 
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Thanks Kozaki. I have taken your advice and fixed the name. It's now clear that it isn't very popular ;D

EDIT: Well it didn't quite work...can't seem to change it.

I think even though this idea wasn't taken very seriously (for now) by the developers, we are currently seeing a 3rd party "party" for custom fields extensions! Jxtended Catalog was just released, and I can't wait to see some reviews on it. You're right...you can't test it and you can't even download documentation for it as far as I know...but I'm sure it's going to be a good way to go as it's written by the Joomla devs themselves. Then aside from Joomsuite Content (which is actually very good, but buggy w/lots of nested tables), there is a guy named Taras (oscandy.com) working on a brand new free GPL component. I spoke with him and it sounds very promising. He's looking for some testing help if anyone's interested. Check out the discussion at compassdesigns: http://www.compassdesigns.net/joomla-bl ... r-app.html

This is all cool stuff, but again...not so cool if you want to combine extensions from other makers. In my opinion, features like this are basic to content management and one should not have to sacrifice good SEO, e-commerce, community features, etc., and even your core modules to be able to use them. The idea of "extension suites" is good only as long your suite gives you everything you need. But is that really going to be happen?

Quote:
Am too new to Joomla to be sure, but this lack might well be related to the way Joomla handle content by Section / Category only, shouldn't it?


This is another area that could use help (it sounds like they want to tackle it if you read through the "accepted" papers), but I can't see how the section/article system would get in the way of having custom fields for articles. If the fields were linked to the article id, sections/categories would be bypassed (as far as I know). In a better system that included search they'd have to relate, but at least I don't think it's a problem...


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PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2008 12:53 pm 
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Hey everyone,

I'm going to develop a component like JoomSuite Content for the Google Summer of Code, and I'm now gathering idea's, so if you have any suggestions, please let me know.

Read more about the project at: http://developer.joomla.org/gsoc2008/custom-content-layouts.html

You can also give your feedback there (which would be greatly appriciated!)


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PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2008 10:41 pm 
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That's great, I'm sure a lot of people will use it and Joomla sites will soon start to look much better! Have you checked out the discussion at compass designs: http://www.compassdesigns.net/joomla-bl ... r-app.html ? Some good links and info over there. I would just throw in trying to add a way to make the fields searchable (a plugin maybe) and having it hook into the existing system (sections/categories/modules) as much as possible.

Thank you and best of luck.


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PostPosted: Sun May 11, 2008 9:59 am 
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Yes I've read that discussion.

I'm integrating it with the existing system (sections/categories), so it might eventually be in the core, just like the drupal version. :D

I'll inform you when it is ready (probably August)


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PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2008 10:49 am 
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This would be a wonderful addition ..................

I miss this func many a times


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PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 5:06 pm 
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That is good you want to develop such a component. But please do not cover my component with dirt just because it is not GPL

@unlished.it
Quote:
extension that will have compatibility issues with many other 3rd party extensions

On what base you state that it will not compatible?

Quote:
The problem with it as mentioned in the white paper is it's not integrated in the core.

IT is not a problem. It would not work differently if it would be preinstalled into Joomla Core. What do you mean by integrated in to core? What would it do integrated that it cannot do right now?

Please, discuss your thing but do not neglect respectability.


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PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2008 1:04 am 
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There are actually two Google Summer of Code projects to keep your eye on if you are interested in extending the Joomla! com_content component to include other data elements. I am really excited about both of these projects.

Ercan Özkaya's project is entitled Content Type Management. His plans call for including a node architecture using Joomla!'s categories and including an easy to use form development process.

Jaap's project is entitled Custom Content Layouts and he plans to stick pretty close to the existing com_content architecture with his work, allowing site developers to add custom data elements needed.

A third project that is somewhat related to extending content is simply called Forms. Mostafa Muhammad is working on it and he is looking at JotForms for the WYSIWYG editor. (He already has an early deliverable in the SVN that you can check out.)

That's only three of 16 pretty amazing projects that have started and the students *welcome* your feedback and ideas. If you have interest, feel free to read their blogs and provide your input.

This year, since Joomla! 1.5 has been released, the students have a real advantage in development. There *will* be extensions on JED this fall from GSOC that are going to rock. It would be great if each of you picked one to help oversee and encourage.

Thanks!
Amy :)

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PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2008 8:30 am 
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Sergey:

I think you're looking at my words in the wrong light. As I've told you before, it's not my wish to harm your business. If you read what I've said, I've actually said very good things about your extension. I would buy it myself if it wasn't encrypted and if it had a multi-site license.

As far as compatibility, tell me... does it work with native Joomla SEF? Does it work with SmartSEF, ArtioJoomSef, etc.? Can I post Virtuemart products in it like I can in normal Joomla Articles with the productsnapshot plugin? Does it work with the Latest News Module, or the myriad of modules that connect to the default Joomla com_content? What, no it won't? That's what I'm talking about. Plus I might want to tinker with it or not wait for you to fix a simple problem. That's what open source and Joomla is all about.

I'm sure your product is good for some people. I'm not interested in preaching to you and I really do wish you success. We're here merely talking about our options. This is a Whitepaper forum where we talk about the future of what's going to be stock in Joomla. With your background you'd certainly be more than welcome to participate, but please be constructive if you do.


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PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2008 6:25 am 
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@Unlished

Ok. I understand. Perhaps I took your words too personal.

P.S. JoomSuite support core SEF, has latest new module and more modules, can post products in articles but even with more logic through custom field plugin or event plugin (plugins are not developed).


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PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2008 9:11 pm 
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I think even if Joomla eventually has custom fields built in, there will be plenty of room for extensions that expand upon the basics. Yet my reason for wishing it to be in the core (and I believe others share this), is that I believe custom fields should be basic to a CMS.

Having MOST ANY extension causes the kinds issues I've mentioned. This isn't just a matter of anyone's extension being good or bad. I may have been wrong about native SEF in the case of Joomsuite, but not on the other counts. The modules that you say work with it are your own proprietary modules. That leaves you stuck with the ones you've made. Try using any fancy newslider widget or whatever (anything that draws it's content from com_content in the DB), and it won't connect with your content. What if I need to use an SEF extension? A sitemap?

It's not that extensions are bad. They are the main strength of Joomla IMO. However, the more you need to count on them for basic functionally, the harder a time you are going to have trying to get it all to work together.

Still, I think what the Google students and others are doing is a great step in the right direction. We can only hope that Joomla will eventually put some of that work into the core so we can get some more functionality without the worry of getting even basic things to work together. Thanks you guys!


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2008 11:57 am 
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I made a component for different content-types.

Today I put my Pages-and-Items framework for Joomla online. It's (among other things) a framework for different item-types. so far I got the normal text-and-image (default) item type, the HTL -itemtype, a Module-position itemtype (put any moduleposition onto a page as a content-item), PHP-item, and a image gallery. I made it so anyone can make there own itemtypes quite easily. its GPL and download it here:
http://www.joomlapi.com/pages-and-items/
;D

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 15, 2008 11:46 pm 
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The student working on this project has released the first beta. Download it here:

http://developer.joomla.org/gsoc2008/cu ... lease.html

and I've started a topic under Google Summer of Code 2008 for debugging information:

viewtopic.php?f=525&t=316570

It has errors in it, but it's a solid start. Let's all help out. I've already posted my first error message to the forum.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2008 11:06 am 
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Hi Guys,

I Actually need the feature for a project I'm working on. I tried to sum-up the available solutions at the following thread: viewtopic.php?f=470&t=318203&p=1388615#p1388615

Students' projects is looking great so far. Any thoughts about what could be used for production right now would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Abdo

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2008 2:05 pm 
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Quote:
Any thoughts about what could be used for production right now would be appreciated.

pages-and-items
:D

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