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Moving forward with Composr

ocPortal has been relaunched as Composr CMS, which is now in beta. ocPortal 9 will be superseded by Composr 10.

Head over to compo.sr for our new site, and to our migration roadmap. Existing ocPortal member accounts have been mirrored.


Grouping (different types of) content by Categories...

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#48748 (In Topic #10640)
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Group News, Forums, CEDI's, etc. by selected catagory?

Well, back again:

My question du jour, after touring the tutorials to no avail (that search function is still not working, FYI, even with the ocp search added to my browser, curse you, IE!!):

If I want to have 100 categories on a site, let's use dog breeds as an example; and I want members to post news, blogs, CEDI entries, forum posts, and maybe even catalogue entries (the latter most likely not), each of which is categorized by, say, breed.  As I understand it thus far, I need to manually create the myriad categories (Airedale, Affenspinscher, yada yada) for each of the content types - in News, CEDI and Forums, and Catalogue, if relevant.  Categories do not encompass all content types, correct?  My banging around on my test site seems to indicate that categories don't auto-replicate or auto-populate across content types, please correct me if I'm wrong…

So, does this mean that I would have to a) manually create the categories for each content type, being very careful to ensure each category was identically named (spelling, capitalization, etc.) to its counterpart in other content types; b) make sure that they all existed in each content type; c) manually create a breed "menu" that used the _SEARCH function to gather up all the content for each breed type, in order to create "welcome pages" or homepages that were relevant only to specific breeds?    

In other words, to put it as stupidly as I can:  how can a member/user, in one fell swoop, gather up all the relevant news, blogs, posts, wikis that pertain only to the breed in which s/he is interested?  Without themselves performing a search?  I know this must be a stupid question, because this is such a basic portal function that it must be blindingly obvious, but I just don't see it yet.  I don't think that the "clubs" function is what I'm seeking, because I'm not trying to restrict content viewing, I'm trying to herd it.   My preference would be to have a "master" homepage with a breed-menu thereupon, from which users could then go to "sub"-master pages, with the relevant content, but I am open to suggestions/alternatives.  

Can somebody point me to the tutorial I missed, or a forum post I didn't find?  Thanks.  

Hitch

I always ask myself: WWWWD?, or, "What Would Wonder Woman Do?"
How come we have Yahoo IM, AIM, ICQ, you name it, but no field for Skype contact info?
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Posted
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My question du jour, after touring the tutorials to no avail (that search function is still not working, FYI, even with the ocp search added to my browser, curse you, IE!!):

Try the search box on the tutorials index. It's at the bottom of the screen there.

Categories do not encompass all content types, correct?

Correct, ocPortal is module-orientated CMS at it's core.

_SEARCH function to gather up all the content for each breed type, in order to create "welcome pages" or homepages that were relevant only to specific breeds?    

In other words, to put it as stupidly as I can:  how can a member/user, in one fell swoop, gather up all the relevant news, blogs, posts, wikis that pertain only to the breed in which s/he is interested?  Without themselves performing a search?

You'd give each a page, and then use blocks to embed the content onto that page.

I know this must be a stupid question, because this is such a basic portal function that it must be blindingly obvious, but I just don't see it yet.

I don't think it's so basic. Out of our 100's of competitors, I think only a handful would support that kind of thing - the CMS's that are based around programming your own data at a lower level. It's really not very common, definitely not for a system like ocPortal which is more orientated to content with features than more abstract content trees.


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  • If so, please let others know about ocPortal whenever you see the opportunity.
  • If my reply is too Vulcan or expressed too much in business-strategy terms, and not particularly personal, I apologise. As a company & project maintainer, time is very limited to me, so usually when I write a reply I try and make it generic advice to all readers. I'm also naturally a joined-up thinker, so I always express my thoughts in combined business and technical terms. I recognise not everyone likes that, don't let my Vulcan-thinking stop you enjoying ocPortal on fun personal projects.
  • If my response can inspire a community tutorial, that's a great way of giving back to the project as a user.
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#48759
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Thanks for identifying the search box.  I thought in our last discussion on this…never mind, I missed it.

Chris Graham said

Correct, ocPortal is module-orientated CMS at it's core.

Okay, so categories do not autopopulate across content types.  

You'd give each a page, and then use blocks to embed the content onto that page.

So you are confirming what I thought; I'd have to create these "sections," for lack of a better word, manually, and maintain them that way.  Hopefully, these content pages could be replicated from one to another, as doing this 300 times for different breeds would be pretty daunting.   :'(   

I don't think it's so basic. Out of our 100's of competitors, I think only a handful would support that kind of thing - the CMS's that are based around programming your own data at a lower level. It's really not very common, definitely not for a system like ocPortal which is more orientated to content with features than more abstract content trees.

You know, there seems to be a definite "divide" in the CMS-biz about this.  I would disagree with you that there is only a handful of CMS' that have categorization systems that encompass differing content types; of course, this argument itself is subject to how one defines "your competitors," really, which you would define better than I.  EE carries categories across content; Bitrix, IIRC, does also; In-portal, although that piece of software is VERY rough; I think Vivvo does; I can't recall if PHPCow does, but that's really more article-publishing-oriented than a CMS, to be fair.  I think ViArt and Interspire do, but I don't remember clearly.  Oh, EZPublish, if you can wrap your head around it (although their forums have major suckage).  Uhhh….ModX?  I think.  I wish I could remember them all, but seriously, I looked at literally over 100 CMS's, article publishing scripts and portals for this one particular application, and I simply cannot remember them all.   I thought I had them all bookmarked, but apparently I cleared them all out at some point in time (in frustration, I think).  My big "issue" was  simply that I wanted this functionality (news, blogs, forums, galleries and wiki, with rss feed capability) with SSI.  

BUT, I don't think getting into any type of argument about "do too, do not!" is really helpful, as I'm sure you'll agree.  I think that the whole Web 2.0 concept of customized news - using tags, which are nothing but categories in disguise - delivering content tailored to the individual - drives the idea of being able to "herd" the content as I described.  

In OOP tree structures, one always runs into this; either you lump the content together (all news; all forums; all wikis, all galleries) and then tag or categorize them by interest group (Airedales, Affenspinscher, yada yada) or you start out with the breeds and then EACH breed has its own subcategories or content types (news, forums, wikis, galleries).  It's an issue that everybody who writes CMS' and portals has to conceptualize and structure.  So, the fact that you have content types as your primary structure isn't unusual.  Your structure, though, is that everyone who comes to site A is interested in all the news on site A, or all the wikis, or all the forum posts (in a given sub-forum, for argument's sake).  The idea seems to be that content pages can't be dynamically created on the fly to accommodate categories of data.  I'm genuinely not trying to be argumentative here; I'm trying to grasp the essentials to see if I can make this fit my use.  

All kidding aside, it IS a little daunting to think about creating and recreating 300 categories (and let's not forget sub-categories!) over and over, and making the concomitant pages.  I've looked a long time for a solution for this particular site, and you have NO idea how much I want OCP to work for me.  

Hitch

I always ask myself: WWWWD?, or, "What Would Wonder Woman Do?"
How come we have Yahoo IM, AIM, ICQ, you name it, but no field for Skype contact info?
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Posted
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Very rational, and I do agree with you, and I think about these issues myself. It comes down to you having a need that is greater in this area than others – that essentially your site is a massive database system, with a need for all the functionality on top of that. I really don't think any product does that; some do the structures, some like ocPortal do the functionality – but having it all tied together automatically is tricky.

I'd suggest you commission a simple module to be written, that sits on top of ocPortal. It would be written to:
  • automatically maintain the different content types so that they have category structures for each of your central set of categories
  • provide a frontend module that automatically builds your block arrangements from a template - for any requested one of your categories


Become a fan of ocPortal on Facebook or add me as a friend. Add me on on Twitter.
Was I helpful?
  • If not, please let us know how we can do better (please try and propose any bigger ideas in such a way that they are fundable and scalable).
  • If so, please let others know about ocPortal whenever you see the opportunity.
  • If my reply is too Vulcan or expressed too much in business-strategy terms, and not particularly personal, I apologise. As a company & project maintainer, time is very limited to me, so usually when I write a reply I try and make it generic advice to all readers. I'm also naturally a joined-up thinker, so I always express my thoughts in combined business and technical terms. I recognise not everyone likes that, don't let my Vulcan-thinking stop you enjoying ocPortal on fun personal projects.
  • If my response can inspire a community tutorial, that's a great way of giving back to the project as a user.
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#48761
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EE carries categories across content; Bitrix, IIRC, does also; In-portal, although that piece of software is VERY rough; I think Vivvo does

I think the problem is in the difference in approach. Doing both at this core level would be very tricky indeed. For example, one may well want different categories for different content types, or maybe to be able to hand configure them specially. E.g. maybe I want guests to not be able to view a Dog catalogue unless they are in the Crufts usergroup, but I want this as an exception – they should be able to see my Cats catalogue, my Dogs new, etc etc – impossible if these categories only existed in a central place, and weren't actually replicated through. Becomes very tricky, and I think for the kind of product ocPortal is, we have the balance about right. I think the approach I described above, by putting a wrapper around it all, is the best thing for you - gives you the best of both worlds.


Become a fan of ocPortal on Facebook or add me as a friend. Add me on on Twitter.
Was I helpful?
  • If not, please let us know how we can do better (please try and propose any bigger ideas in such a way that they are fundable and scalable).
  • If so, please let others know about ocPortal whenever you see the opportunity.
  • If my reply is too Vulcan or expressed too much in business-strategy terms, and not particularly personal, I apologise. As a company & project maintainer, time is very limited to me, so usually when I write a reply I try and make it generic advice to all readers. I'm also naturally a joined-up thinker, so I always express my thoughts in combined business and technical terms. I recognise not everyone likes that, don't let my Vulcan-thinking stop you enjoying ocPortal on fun personal projects.
  • If my response can inspire a community tutorial, that's a great way of giving back to the project as a user.
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Posted
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#48762
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Chris Graham said

Very rational, and I do agree with you, and I think about these issues myself. It comes down to you having a need that is greater in this area than others – that essentially your site is a massive database system, with a need for all the functionality on top of that. I really don't think any product does that; some do the structures, some like ocPortal do the functionality – but having it all tied together automatically is tricky.

I'd suggest you commission a simple module to be written, that sits on top of ocPortal. It would be written to:
  • automatically maintain the different content types so that they have category structures for each of your central set of categories
  • provide a frontend module that automatically builds your block arrangements from a template - for any requested one of your categories

Can you please PM me on this, Chris?  Thanks.

Hitch


I always ask myself: WWWWD?, or, "What Would Wonder Woman Do?"
How come we have Yahoo IM, AIM, ICQ, you name it, but no field for Skype contact info?
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Posted
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#48765

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Personaly I like the fact that OCP keeps every thing separate, but easily accessed.  I'm creating a site based around the fifty states, their counties and cities.  At first I thought it daunting at best, but soon realized I was making it out harder than it had to be.  Sure it's taking a littl time to create all the indexes, but once in place there's no where on the site I can't display that information.  I'm using the CEDI to act as state home pages, and then under that each has five child pages, with the last child page called "Inside StateName".  I plan to use it for just that purpose.  To gather information from  the catalogue, forums and blogg, from across the site, and pull it in to a central start page of sorts.  And of course by basing my documents around the CEDI, it does exactly what Chris plan for it to do.  It couldn't be easier to call other CEDI pages from anywhere in the CEDI system.  As far as that goes with the use of comcode, temcode, blocks, mixed with a little css; xhtml, topped off by a little imagination, there's really no limt to what you can do with OCP.

Stick with OCP.  In the long run you'll be a lot happier.  When you create your CEDI trees, you can just copy and paste your list from a text file,  or select from other CEDI pages already in the system, and it couldn't be easier.  There's all sorts of little short cuts here and there that will cut down your man hours.

Make some template files to standardize your page header's, make sure to use good directory skeeming when creating your image paths, bulk load images instead of uploading them in to the page, and you'll be amazed at how much time you can save.  A little search and replace, a little copy and paste, a couple of mouse clicks, and you're Rockin'N'Rollin'.

You can use the method mentioned in the tutorial to mass create your catalogue categories, and knock the time down to virtually nothing.

Nope.  It doesn't do things they way other CMS apps do, and it took me a few days to get my head around that, but when I did I was happy the OCP isn't like the others.  Yep. All it took was for me to stop thinking about what OCP wouldn't do, and start focusing on what it does do, and how it does it, and it has turned out to be a GOD send.  


"This has not been a paid political endorsement"
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Posted
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#48770
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Hi, Chipster:

I'm glad, really, that it is working for you, but although I admire your cleverness in reducing your workload, I don't actually see that creating the subcategory "Inside StateName" for each category  is less work than creating one page for each category and putting the blocks on each page, and replicating THAT (in your case) 50 times.  Or, that functionally, it's dramatically different than what Chris has suggested.

I guess, to me, there are two different ways to view "categories;" one way is as it is viewed here, which is essentially structural; the other is the way I see it, which is that a category is simply a word…a field.  A tag, to momentarily adopt Web 2.0 vernacular.  I completely understand the tweakiness of OOP tree structure when it comes to dealing with cross-referencing different structural placements, i.e., in your case, State and News., and State and Forum and State and Gallery, etc.  But, being an old db broad, I would prefer to just place a simple text field (or two or three, for that matter) with a drop-down menu from which people could select, and then grab up the content that way (this breed X news here in this news block) to address the  "problem."  This is the other side of node or tree structure…that everything is about placement, and hence you run into what we have here, wherein each type of content has to have its own category definitions.  I'd rather slurp than structure, is my point.  

I don't know how much user-placed content you are expecting, or what volume you expect to maintain, so it's hard for me to know, in the long run, how efficiently the CEDI approach you are taking will work.  I'll be tickled to see it when it's ready, though.

Hitch

I always ask myself: WWWWD?, or, "What Would Wonder Woman Do?"
How come we have Yahoo IM, AIM, ICQ, you name it, but no field for Skype contact info?
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Posted
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#48771

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Actually it is still time consuming, and I wish things were different, but with everything else OCP has to offer the trade off is worth it to me.  It is actually a tool that, as a blind site owner, I don't have to wonder or worry about how my content is going to be displayed.  I can count on it every time.  It is by far the most accessible app of its kind bar none.  While it still has its issues, it is so far ahead of the others, I won't use anything else ever again when I need this type format.

Well, actually what I have ended up doing is the same thing that Chris had suggested, and I have to say, seeing him do so, help me feel like I'm on the right track.

I do feel your pain though.  Those was the very same questions I ask when first installing OCP, and I do admit that I was a little disappointed as well to find out the answer was no. I was so hoping to be able to create a multilevel catalogue, and then populate it with a tab-delimited file.  Or create my forum and CEDI structure with the same tab-delimited file.  Sounds, from what I'm gathering, pretty much like what you wanted to do.

It took me several days to work out a strategy that I could work with, and am still tweaking it here and there.  Main thing was to give my self several key points to be able to build on as the site grows.  I don't know if you'd call it clever or not, just working with the tools I have.

I have to say though, I honestly believe there's not a single situation that OCP can't rise to.  You may wish to look in to the suggestion Chris had, and either write, or have written, a module to sit on top of OCP.  I'm not a programmer, but with its open core structure, I can see where someone with some knowledge can make it do anything they want it to do, and probably do so with little effort.
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Oh, hell, Chipster:

I'm not disappointed…I'm thinking out loud.  My entire working environment, these past (inaudible - if you're using a reader, Chipster, that inaudible is deliberate) years or so, I've enjoyed the luxury of working for and with incredibly intelligent people, some merely gifted, some true geniuses.  I've enjoyed using the process we call a "charette," aka a BS session, in which we kick ideas around off each other until something intelligent pops out.  My posts here are naught more than a typed charette - I hope - although Chris might call them something different.   ;)

Okay…maybe I'm a titch disappointed, because while I routinely shoe-horn things into spaces in which they were never designed to go, figuratively speaking, I'm not sure it's the best idea for websites.  I worry that I'm shoe-horning my site into OCP because I intuitively prefer OCP and distinctly prefer the people around OCP, rather than continuing on in my Grail quest for the perfect site manager.  (I mean, EE would have worked, but I absolutely dislike their staff and their attitude; I once posted an unhappy post about their gallery system - it was no snarkier or ruder than any post I've ever made here - and they bloody removed it, which gobsmacked me.  I knew then that even though I could make their software work for me, I didn't want to work with THEM.)  On the other hand, it's been 2.5 years since I started trying to find the right CMS/portal/publishing system for what I wanted to do, and obviously, Moby CMS is still swimming out there somewhere.  I did find one that probably was perfect…but it was also $8,000.00.  Yes, that's Eight Thousand US Dollars.  I don't mind spending hard-earned to reap the benefits of someone's work, but for $8K, it should clean my floors and wash my dishes.  Sometimes, you just have to get over yourself and dig down and commit…throw the damned harpoon.  

I concur that OCP has a boatload of muscle, and I love a lot of it.  It's nearly certain that I'll be using it, (my last big hurdle will be with my need for classifieds - paid) but before I go any further into the nuptials (could I possibly mix any more metaphors, ya think?), while I'm testing it, I want to ask the questions that pop up, like, how to make subcategories for the catalogues, how to create reviews (actually, that's another site), how to make all my content in same or related categories play nicely with each other.   I like charetting with people who are working on the same things I am…one never knows what could develop.  

I'm pretending I don't have to think about themeing, yet, because, well….I've read the CSS, brother, and it just commits unnatural acts to my brainpan.  It's like psyche-seppuku.

Hitch

n.b. - WRT the classifieds, just to be clear, I am utterly unconcerned with the routine catalogue stuff, like text boxes, custom fields, categorization (humorously enough).  I am more concerned about how to shoehorn the enhancements that are a crucial part of the classifieds biz - BOLD headlines, highlighted ads/headlines, cutesy little icons, "add photos," "add Google Maps," "add Youtube Video," that type of cr*pola.  Classifieds aren't big money-makers in and of themselves, in other words, per ad…it is a business of pennies, and the ability to add and charge for those little $0.25 items really adds up.  So, in case any classifieds savant is reading this, that's my issue, actually question, on that topic.  



I always ask myself: WWWWD?, or, "What Would Wonder Woman Do?"
How come we have Yahoo IM, AIM, ICQ, you name it, but no field for Skype contact info?
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Posted
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#48814

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I don't mean to drift off topic too badly here, and maybe we should think about continuing this over in the general chat forum, but shoot good hearted, and even at times, deliberate, banter among users is good for any product.  It is really the only way for developers, of any product, to get a temperature on how the community views their efforts.  Especially when those efforts are released under Open Source.

I have to say that I agree with you, and would love to see a function so you could create a category, define its values, (including sub-categories,) click a button, and poof!  Catalogue, CEDI, and forums all created, and link to a central home page if you will, for that category.  To say it would be a time saver is putting it mildly.

Of course I wish I owned my own private Emerald Coast Barrier Island, and a helicopter to ferry me back and forth from it to the mainland too.  When in reality I'm just a old hippy/hack Lounge Lizard.  However, I think, if I remember reading correctly, OCP is build on the theory that no CMS is the same for everyone, and as so OCP has built around the core belief of providing the tools in such a manner to make it possible to do just about anything, and still remain easy enough for even people like me to build a website with minimum effort.  It does make me contemplate learning PHP though.  Also from what I've seen, the staff openly encourages suggestions, debate, and scrutiny in the drive to make the best product available.

I too, have searched for years to find the perfect CMS.  When I'd find one that would do what, or at least close to, what I needed, I'd bump up against the accessibility wall.  Assistive technology is great for disabled people, but isn't worth a Flyin' Monkey's Butt if what you are trying to access is non-accessible.  Very few developers take that into consideration when coding.  I don't know whether that is because they're just not aware, of they just don't give a darn.  Sometimes I think it is the latter more than the former.  The web especially, but the entire net to an extent, has become such an outlet for glitz that every one is trying to up-stage the last, and has forgotten that it was all originally developed for the exchange of information . . . not the latest Paris Video, or three minute flash presentation.  I've probably installed and tried to use every CMS package known to man, and usually ended up coding my own pages, and either  using or hacking someone's scripts to do what I needed to do.  While not 100% accessible, OCP comes so close that I'm excited about it.

In conclusion, before this becomes a product review, OCP is flexible enough to do just about anything with, and I'm seriously considering changing some, if not all, my other sites over to it.

I look forward to seeing you around the site more, and hope you have a good and blessed day.
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So, here we go:  back again, and wondering:  did you guys here at the old gang ever come up with a viable way to slurp up data by category across content types?

And did the review module ever get written and deployed?

Happy Holidays,

Hitch  O_o

I always ask myself: WWWWD?, or, "What Would Wonder Woman Do?"
How come we have Yahoo IM, AIM, ICQ, you name it, but no field for Skype contact info?
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