Do you agree that Joomla should have the multilevel section/category feature ?

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Do you agree that Joomla should have the multilevel section/category feature ?

Yes, absolutely I need it!
59
91%
ok, it will be better
5
8%
mm, I don't care
0
No votes
I don't need it
0
No votes
Never ! It is hard to maintain
1
2%
 
Total votes: 65

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Do you agree that Joomla should have the multilevel section/category feature ?

Post by baijianpeng » Tue Dec 12, 2006 3:57 pm

I have been looking for the feature of multilevel section/category since I know the Joomla! CMS in March, 2006. But till now I am not convinced that when will there be this feature.

In fact, many many users, especially those who want to publish lots of atticles on their webiste, they all want this feature.

I think, multilevel section/category must be the BASIC function of a CMS since article is the BASIC content.

Ok, let's see the poll ...
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Re: Do you agree that Joomla should have the multilevel section/category feature

Post by Jinx » Tue Dec 12, 2006 6:05 pm

This feature is on the roadmap for Joomla! 2.0. No real need to have a poll, I think we all agree that Joomla! needs this feature.
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Re: Do you agree that Joomla should have the multilevel section/category feature

Post by Asphyx » Tue Dec 12, 2006 6:47 pm

I sure don't envy the folks charged with redesigning the 2.0 Database! LOL
Between this and ACL it's going to be a monster job!

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Re: Do you agree that Joomla should have the multilevel section/category feature

Post by Jinx » Tue Dec 12, 2006 7:46 pm

Well that's one way too look at it, it's also alot of fun ! 8)
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Re: Do you agree that Joomla should have the multilevel section/category feature

Post by Asphyx » Tue Dec 12, 2006 8:27 pm

LOL you are a very patient Man Jinx! LOL

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Re: Do you agree that Joomla should have the multilevel section/category feature

Post by baijianpeng » Tue Dec 12, 2006 11:34 pm

Jinx wrote: This feature is on the roadmap for Joomla! 2.0.
Oh, very good ! I can't wait it.

;)  I would like to see it in Joomla 1.5 rc1 or rc3, it will really compensate a big regret.

Well, though it seems a little late, it comes.

Thank you !
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Re: Do you agree that Joomla should have the multilevel section/category feature

Post by ianmac » Tue Dec 12, 2006 11:37 pm

The 1.5 framework is to the point where it is pretty extensible, is it not?  Is there a good reason why somebody who really needed such a feature couldn't develop their own content component that allowed for an alternative organizational structure?  The only real downside/difference would be that content would have to be managed from the Components menu instead of from the Content menu.

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Re: Do you agree that Joomla should have the multilevel section/category feature

Post by Jinx » Wed Dec 13, 2006 1:01 am

That's correct correct Ian. It wouldn't be very hard to do that indeed.
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Re: Do you agree that Joomla should have the multilevel section/category feature

Post by Daniel Tulp » Wed Dec 13, 2006 1:25 am

ianmac wrote: The 1.5 framework is to the point where it is pretty extensible, is it not?  Is there a good reason why somebody who really needed such a feature couldn't develop their own content component that allowed for an alternative organizational structure?  The only real downside/difference would be that content would have to be managed from the Components menu instead of from the Content menu.

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Re: Do you agree that Joomla should have the multilevel section/category feature

Post by baijianpeng » Thu Dec 14, 2006 8:22 am

ianmac wrote: Is there a good reason why somebody who really needed such a feature couldn't develop their own content component that allowed for an alternative organizational structure?  The only real downside/difference would be that content would have to be managed from the Components menu instead of from the Content menu.
It is not so simple as you described.

The major difference is, those mambots/plugins designed for Joomla contents(articles) will never take effect in articles published by another component. Can you use Allvideos Plugin or Authorbot or autoGoogle_bot or Multithumb in other components ?

In fact, if we need ONLY multilevel category, eWriting component had already offered that feature. But the question is, we need a multilevel category feature inside the INHERENT content system of Joomla! .

Someone had mentioned that there was already a parent_id in the database of Joomla since version 1.0.x . Why not go one step further and make it work so that we can enjoy the multilevel fun ? Maybe you don't know how many levels is suitable, well, I think 4 to 6 levels is enough.

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Re: Do you agree that Joomla should have the multilevel section/category feature

Post by Daniel Tulp » Thu Dec 14, 2006 8:28 am

if you create something like this, you should create infinitive depth, won't be that much harder to code, and will leave every freedom to the user
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Re: Do you agree that Joomla should have the multilevel section/category feature

Post by absalom » Thu Dec 14, 2006 8:38 am

Two problems I've encountered with infinite depth CMS architecture:

1) Security of content. As it would be infinite depth, you need some way of controlling content that's not part of the menu structure yet still part of the content pool. Current ACL won't cut it and I've seen other CMS systems fail in the same way.

2) Micromanagement of infinite depth in terms of administration by CMS superusers. Having a site with over 900 navigation items and 5000 pages can be a nightmare when infinite regression is considered.

That said, I'm starting to frankenstein Drupal's nodal architecture into .11 J! as a proof of concept.

In regards to Ian's comments, I must voice "Yes" that such functionality is needed for corporate and enteprise CMS deployments. Perhaps I should have a look at other CMS source code I manage to see how they deploy infiniteness.
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Re: Do you agree that Joomla should have the multilevel section/category feature

Post by pixelsoul » Thu Dec 14, 2006 3:44 pm

Yeah infine sub categories would be great.. drupal's node system would be even better.. especially as a article could belong to several categories.. and a tag system would not be to that bad either  :P
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Re: Do you agree that Joomla should have the multilevel section/category feature

Post by AmyStephen » Thu Dec 14, 2006 4:03 pm

I realize that section - category - article is limiting in terms of the backend navigation and structure, but, there is no limit at all imposed on the frontend and that is where the action is! The frontend is all about your menu system. With Joomla!, menus of (virtually) unlimited depth can be used to create as many layers as the application requires.

Everytime I see this topic, I am perplexed why this is such a hot topic. I agree it needs to change, but, I just don't see this issue as anything more than minor geeky cosmetics.

Am I missing something here?  :P

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Re: Do you agree that Joomla should have the multilevel section/category feature

Post by ibnhafsun » Thu Dec 14, 2006 4:33 pm

A lot, Amy ;)

If you have categories and distant parents, each item is member of all the categories and sections involved.
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Re: Do you agree that Joomla should have the multilevel section/category feature

Post by AmyStephen » Thu Dec 14, 2006 4:43 pm

ibnhafsun wrote: A lot, Amy ;)

If you have categories and distant parents, each item is member of all the categories and sections involved.
Rafa -

Surely you jest! ;) I get the concept of levels but I do not see any missing benefit.

The menus allow you to structure your frontend into unlimited levels for your visitors experience. Right?

What more are we hoping to gain by having a hierarchy capable of unlimited levels in the backend? I am looking for examples, here, not concepts.

Truthfully, I have long been a proponent of removing the section - category concept from human view. We need menus - menu items - articles. I would even like the menu module to disappear and have the configurable information from the module put on the menu. There is no reason to have the physical data architecture bleed through to the UI.

And there is no reason that Joomla! has to be so darn complicated to post an article. Create a section. Create a category. Create an article. Create a menu. Create a menu item. Modify the module that was automatically created. Add the position to the template. Done. Silly. The problem is not the limits to the section - category -- the problem is that there is a section - category!

I cannot conceive of any real restriction imposed by the section - category except the one in our heads because the backend presents the structure as having a three level limit.

Can you give me one example of something that cannot be done on the frontend because of this physical data structure?

Amy

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Re: Do you agree that Joomla should have the multilevel section/category feature

Post by ibnhafsun » Thu Dec 14, 2006 4:59 pm

Let´s think about a magazine, with several categories and sections but with some geographical estructure too:

When you post an article in, ie, News, Sport, Soccer, US, Nebraska, My Team, the article is member of each category. You can then use the categories to show:

News, all the news
Sport, only sport news
Soccer, soccer news
US soccer, Nebraska Sport News, Nebraska News, My Team news, Teams in Nebraska, it´s powerful, it´s easy, it´s effective ;)

With Drupal categories, active select and CCK you can create your own content type, make it a container or a gategory, have nested containers, etc, etc, etc. The you can force your website users to define their content: You can post only "News Articles" in News. If you select News it will show you the available categories to select one (Sport, Political, Science...). You can have another "classification" with geographical data, such US, Spain, Australia. When you select US, it will show you the states, when you select the state, the city, etc etc etc. The you can have "views", something like "show me the sport news in Nebraska", and voilá ;)
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Re: Do you agree that Joomla should have the multilevel section/category feature

Post by Daniel Tulp » Thu Dec 14, 2006 5:02 pm

I don't think there will be such an example Amy, but maybe this is clear to you, but this is most of the times unclear for clients that receive the website and must learn to manage the content, from that managing perspective, as you already more or less pointed out, this setup is not intuitive

I have had to explain a number of times what section and categories are, and why something, that clearly should be in the same section, can't be because of the menu items (blogs, section lists, etc.), certainly when you have a very complex content structure

luckily, in 1.5 we will have a structure that is more intuitive, although infinite depth, or more depths than 2, would significantly increase possibilities as to ordering the content of your website (that is what we are trying to do with a Content Management System, right?)

If we look outside the Joomla! box to for instance Zope, we see that they use something entirely different. They create a folder and file structure, the same as a folder and filestructure on the server. After that, you can set a 'file' to appear in the menu, and the folder becomes it's location (so if it's in the folder cars, then the path becomes http://mydomain.com/cars/file.html). As this is same as the server structure it is very easy to understand (other thing about zope aren't, but that's not the point here).

My point is, I hope the 1.5 series and later will provide us with an easier to manage system for large websites, not just for Joomla! experts, but also for the beginners.
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Re: Do you agree that Joomla should have the multilevel section/category feature

Post by Asphyx » Thu Dec 14, 2006 5:20 pm

Is there a good reason why somebody who really needed such a feature couldn't develop their own content component that allowed for an alternative organizational structure?
The major difference is, those mambots/plugins designed for Joomla contents(articles) will never take effect in articles published by another component.
Just throwing this out there not suggesting it is something that needs to be done or even looked at....
But with all the new modularization that was put into 1.5 why not simply modularize the content manager into a component and redesign the Mambots to operate on any content that has a tag that triggers it? Mambots should be able to do this anyway so it's work I think needs to be done anyway....

This would open up the possibilities to 3PDs to go to town on the content system as you would be able to install any system you wanted....
Even if not for the 3PD developers benefit, I would thi9nk this would also make it much easier for the core to make changes to the content system without having to rip out the guts each time they find something new they want to do.

I don't see how going to the component menu and then content section as opposed to the content menu directly would be any different.

But there might be some ramifications for interfacing with the menus I haven't thought of.

I just think it's a good idea to modularize as much as possible as it is much easier to develop improvements on modules than it is to rip into the core.

I won't comment on how to get cross sectional content....
It's a DB pig stick no matter how you slice it...Maybe even harder than the ACL which will have to work with it.

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Re: Do you agree that Joomla should have the multilevel section/category feature ?

Post by Jinx » Thu Dec 14, 2006 6:21 pm

Asphyx wrote: But with all the new modularization that was put into 1.5 why not simply modularize the content manager into a component and redesign the Mambots to operate on any content that has a tag that triggers it? Mambots should be able to do this anyway so it's work I think needs to be done anyway....
Without getting into the full debate, just wanted to disarm this one. The content management has been fully seperated into one component in 1.5. Also the content plugins can be used by any component not just by com_content. It's all there :)
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Re: Do you agree that Joomla should have the multilevel section/category feature

Post by AmyStephen » Thu Dec 14, 2006 6:35 pm

Rafa and Daniel -

I am not certain that you understand my specific point. For a moment, forget about the physical implementation of Joomla!. Forget about menus and sections and categories.

Assume: We only have articles that need to be presented to our visitors. (Reduce the complexity, here, and forget components which are already liberated from this structure.)

Goal: We want to help our visitors locate the specific article they need to reach.

Implementation: That is accomplished through a menu system.

a) We must be able to assemble menus of multiple depth. (Possible today.)

b) We must be able to associate groups of articles with menu items and specific articles with menu items. (Possible today.)

c) We should be able to associate the same article with multiple unique groupings of articles. For example, an article on Joomla! could go into the CMS menu item and the Best of Breed menu item. (We cannot do this without core hacks or extensions today.)

+++

While it may not be elegant, we can already do what this topic is essentially calling for. We can build multilevel menus for our websites. Joomla! is not constrained by three physical levels. We only have a sense that we are so confined because our eyeballs see and work with the section - category - article structure. But, it is merely a paper bag over our heads and easily lifted off given the power of the menu system.

Daniel - yes, the UI sucks could use simplification. IMO, the first step to simplifying the UI is to remove this section-category barrier between our articles and our menus. We only seem to dig into this issue deep enough to start looking at sophisticated hierarchical node recursive data model structures and savor at the extreme and delicious geekiness. I think that it is possible (?) simplifying the data model and removing section-category could prove extremely powerful.

Therefore, back to my question, what function does the section-category really perform? And, would those functions be better performed at a menu item level? And, how could removing the section-category structure make it more obvious that we were never constrained by any three level structure, and help us to discover, at the same time, that multi-topic capability is now simple absent this unnecessary complication.

Data models are next, words just don't do justice here.  :P  This does not relate to the separate idea under discussion to which Johan responded.

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Re: Do you agree that Joomla should have the multilevel section/category feature

Post by Daniel Tulp » Thu Dec 14, 2006 7:29 pm

Amy, I believe you misunderstood something. The backend is not just for us, but also something for non-joomla users (i.e. my clients). These people want something that is similar to the websites structure in the frontend, to be in the backend, so they can relate better and have more of an overview about the sites content, this will become more obvious when the site's structure grows
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Re: Do you agree that Joomla should have the multilevel section/category feature

Post by AmyStephen » Thu Dec 14, 2006 7:51 pm

Daniel -

I am *agreeing* with you. We need to (eventually) simplify the UI to the back end. We need to add multi-category linkages for articles. We need to ensure there is (virtually) no limitation on the levels of the menu system. And, it should be as easy to do for the end user as possible.

I am simply suggesting we might get that accomplished by removing the section-category from Joomla! completely, rather than increasing it's level capability. I think it is highly likely having the section-category there is the limitation - not it's levels. But, this is one of those academic discussions that go nowhere. The concepts are here - when the time comes to consider 2.0 design - if the developers see benefit, maybe it will spark some thinking. But, there is probably no sense in going deeper right now.

But, I completely agree with you for the desired result, I am only questioning the best path to get there.  ;)

Hope that helps.
Amy  :)

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Re: Do you agree that Joomla should have the multilevel section/category feature

Post by Asphyx » Thu Dec 14, 2006 9:10 pm

The content management has been fully seperated into one component in 1.5.
More proof you are 10 steps ahead of everyone Jinx! LOL

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Re: Do you agree that Joomla should have the multilevel section/category feature

Post by AmyStephen » Thu Dec 14, 2006 11:23 pm

Asphyx wrote:
The content management has been fully seperated into one component in 1.5.
More proof you are 10 steps ahead of everyone Jinx! LOL
Ten steps?  :P Try miles! Or, kilometers! or 10,000 miles. Something FAR beyond 10 steps.  8)

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Re: Do you agree that Joomla should have the multilevel section/category feature

Post by absalom » Thu Dec 14, 2006 11:32 pm

pixelsoul wrote: Yeah infine sub categories would be great.. drupal's node system would be even better.. especially as a article could belong to several categories.. and a tag system would not be to that bad either  :P
Looking at all of these..

Since content has been unhooked in 1.5, perhaps I could backport it to Accessible J .11 (well, my own fork of it) and cross grade back into 1.5 once I'm done ?

Half the logic I've already got is for .11 so I don't want to replicate across two forks unless absolutely necessary. One fork of a fork of a fork of a stable build is bad enough.

At the end of the day, it is only data in a database, so it should have the ability to manipulate different data in different tables in the same way (which is what I've been doing with retrofitting / forking enteprise-based CMSes on)
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Re: Do you agree that Joomla should have the multilevel section/category feature

Post by instance » Fri Dec 15, 2006 1:55 am

I'm not sure if this is the right place to step in or not, but here goes.

Some issues I have:
  • There's usually at least two levels of user in a larger site. You have the people who submit "pure" content, in the form of specific articles with a specific purpose (let's take corporate news and internal news as examples). Then you have the people who specify how that content is organized, which is the menu-content type linking we all know (I'll call them "webmasters" for the moment). You don't want the person who is updating the baseball league news being able to modify (or even see) the news detailing third quarter financial results.
  • Frequently what the site presents as a single content item is actually a composite of several smaller items. There has to be a way to compose sets of articles into a single unit.
Here's a use case I'm working toward: A fairly typical corporate site, with an "investors" page. That page contains some general fluff, with sub-items for news and information on the management team. The management team is a single page with two main sections: executives and board of directors. Inside executives, there's a write-up and picture for the chairman, CEO, CFO, CTO, etc. Same thing for the board. If someone is an executive and on the board, they should only be listed once.

From my point of view, rather than have one big article with all these people in it, it makes sense to have an article for each person, and to have attributes associated with that article that lets it be selected under application control. Why more than one article? You don't want the person who is inputing a profile to be able to modify the overall description of the team.

Multiple articles also provide flexibility of use. It's possible, for example, that somewhere else on the site, a list of board member profiles is required where the executives should be included in the list. Copy and paste is NOT the way to achieve that result.

The Chairman's assistant should be able to add an article, identify it as a management team member, and have confidence that that article will show up in the right places without involving a "webmaster" role, and without having to remember to edit the two or more places where it might be stored in a less flexible CMS.

There are lots of other places where this use case comes up: I have a list of open source software on my site, in the categories of "written by us, "supported by us", and "generally cool". I want to be able to add an article for Joomla, categorize it as supported, and know that it will show up on that page in the right place (alphabetical within the category). If the number of items goes past some limit (say, twelve), I want the CMS to break it up into pages by section, with a mini table of contents -- WITHOUT doing anything besides creating that article and defining the rules.

I'm actively working on implementing something like this. It seems that one of the best ways to approach it is to add a "tagging" ability to articles, where the tags are attribute/value pairs, then to allow articles to incorporate XPATH-like queries that select and sort other articles based on their attributes. Throw in a little XSLT and it shouldn't be too difficult to incorporate automatic pagination.

The industrial strength version of this transforms all articles into DocBook components, adds the attributes as meta-information, and then uses XPATH/XSL to retrieve the data and transform it to XHTML for the web site, or into other forms for different uses within the enterprise.

I would love to hear other people's ideas on how these kinds of use cases can be addressed. Having executive profiles look like News items is NOT and option. :)
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Re: Do you agree that Joomla should have the multilevel section/category feature ?

Post by baijianpeng » Fri Dec 15, 2006 3:23 am

;) Glad to see my post started a helpful discussion.
Amy:
Can you give me one example of something that cannot be done on the frontend because of this physical data structure?
Now I give you a live demo: http://www.tcmbook.net .

Yes, it is my own website. I am planning to publish many books (600+) , of course no copyright problem, on this site. Among those books, some are very LARGE books so that they have more level than 2 (section -> category, I don't think article is the 3rd level, in fact we only have two levels now). For example, one book has such a structure:

Book Name -> Part 1 - Herbs ->  Section 1 - Antibiotics-> Category 1 - Plants Derived ->  Herb 1 - Scutellaria baicalensis Georgi ->  Chapter 1 - morphology  and characteristics


See, there are at least 6 levels. I think the name of a book should not be considered the top level since a menu item named Books can't point to more than one Sections, it should be the second level while a Section named Books is the top level.

Jinx  :

The content management has been fully seperated into one component in 1.5. Also the content plugins can be used by any component not just by com_content. It's all there
Ok, great news to hear. But how about users of Joomla 1.0.12 ? We know that it is not easy to upgrade from Joomla 1.0.x to 1.5 version. Why not develop the Multilevel feature in J 1.0.12 ? No need to creat infinite levels, I still think 4 to 6 levels can fulfill most needs.
Daniel Tulp :

The backend is not just for us, but also something for non-joomla users (i.e. my clients).
Yes, I can't agree more. I had already know the method of using menu system to show multilevel in the frontend. But the problem is that the backend will be a mess. Even experinced Joomla users will feel dificult to manage those articles if you are running a website like mine or publishing newspapters.

In summary, I think it is necessary to consider the suggestion of implement multilevel sectins/categories function from Joomla 1.0.12 version and limit it to less than 8 levels.

Maybe you can choose collection and Part  and Chapter and volume as the new name for new levels.
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ianmac
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Re: Do you agree that Joomla should have the multilevel section/category feature

Post by ianmac » Fri Dec 15, 2006 4:58 am

Daniel Tulp wrote: do I hear a volunteer ;)
While it sounds like an interesting challenge, I already have multiple projects (including working on the app to end all Joomla! apps - jk) on the go that take turns with my free time.
In regards to Ian's comments, I must voice "Yes" that such functionality is needed for corporate and enteprise CMS deployments. Perhaps I should have a look at other CMS source code I manage to see how they deploy infiniteness.
Which comments are you referring to Absalom?


All this being said, there should be some code lying around somewhere from SOC that might lay the basis of such a component...

Ian

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FidelGonzales
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Re: Do you agree that Joomla should have the multilevel section/category feature

Post by FidelGonzales » Fri Dec 15, 2006 9:39 pm

AmyStephen wrote: I realize that section - category - article is limiting in terms of the backend navigation and structure, but, there is no limit at all imposed on the frontend and that is where the action is! The frontend is all about your menu system. With Joomla!, menus of (virtually) unlimited depth can be used to create as many layers as the application requires.

Everytime I see this topic, I am perplexed why this is such a hot topic. I agree it needs to change, but, I just don't see this issue as anything more than minor geeky cosmetics.

Am I missing something here?  :P
True about the front end. But I believe you're missing something. We are looking to better organize large amounts of content or even small amounts of content in a manner that would provide for logical navigation and could even be easily navigated with the use of massive menu IDs. Currently, using Menu IDs to accomplish this is archaic, difficult to create and difficult manage as the complexity of the content grows.

I stole the example below from another thread on the subject because I could not find my post on the subject.

http://forum.joomla.org/index.php/topic,112170.0.html

Cars (Section?)
      BMW
      FORD
      VOLVO (Category?)
            S80
            V40
            S60 (Sub-Category?)
                Motor
                Wheels (Sub-Category again?)
                    "The tires content"
                    "Air pressure content"
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