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I kinda need some feedback on a Pages extension I'm working on. It's currently a work in progress, but what I'm aiming for is an alternate way to manage your pages. I found the management of pages to be very inefficient: It's a very confusing way to browse through the pages on your sites, especially when you have to switch between different sub-levels very often.

I though of a tree-view navigation for this:

Imgur

This does work quite nice actually, the tree provides an easy way to drag-and-drop pages, rearranging the structure of the site and nesting children in parents very easy. When dropping, an AJAX-call is made to save the new position and parent-stuff.

Now I'm asking some feedback here, since I don't want to break with the Symphony philosophy, but here are some 'controversial' ideas I'm having:

  1. A 'Pages'-screen could also be provided for the Author (not the developer), where the client could edit the content of pages. Since all of our projects have a section called 'Page Content' which consists of some fields and a Page Select Box field, this is used for this (this has partly been worked out in the extension). But I feel this might break with Symphony's philosophy. What do you guys think?
  2. A sort of tree-like structure for editing Datasources, Events, and Sections. I think this could be handy to work with, but again, this might break Symphony's philosophy and kick against EDUI's legs. However, I thought datasources could be 'grouped' by using names like 'News : Last 3', 'News : Detail', 'News : Archive', sort of like I did with my 'Tweak UI'-extension. What do you guys think?

The extension is still a work in progress, but you can download it here: https://github.com/kanduvisla/pages.

Any feedback and thoughts on this are greatly appreciated.

A 'Pages'-screen could also be provided for the Author (not the developer), where the client could edit the content of pages.

I'm currently working on an extension that allows Authors to create pages and related content. It uses the Page Select Box and the Page Prototypes extensions. The extension provides a combined page- and publish-form where entries from multiple sections can be edited simultaniously with page settings. I'll have a first preview version ready at the beginning of next week.

So, I like the idea of author-editable pages (for static page content) and I'm wondering if we can merge some ideas or implementations. Let's discuss this when I have something to show.
I don't mind having separate list- and edit-views, but I agree that the reordering of pages in a big nested tree is suboptimal at the moment.

Attachments:
static-pages.png

Hmmm, interesting... I like that both of you are trying to solve this age-old Symphony dilemma.

Honestly, as someone who has had to teach many clients how to use their new CMS, I get a little nervous giving them too many options. I definitely wouldn't want them to try to understand datasources and whatnot, but maybe that's not what you were proposing?

I've always said all I wanted from Symphony was some way to manage content in a hierarchal way. I always thought that wouldn't need actual Symphony "Pages" to be involved. I know alpacaaa had something that was kinda working.

However, lately I've come to see some reasons for why you would want to involve Pages so you could separate datasources loading and separate functionality within your code, so I'm not 100% sure.

All I know is that I love Symphony, but sometimes when I try out other CMS's with their classic hierarchal views I miss them and sometimes wish I could do both "post view" and "page view" instead of one of the other.

Anyway, I like the thinking and encourage you both to work together to find a flexible solution that many people could use. Thanks,

But I feel this might break with Symphony's philosophy. What do you guys think?

In short, it does, but I wouldn't worry about it too much as there is a demand for people to use Symphony to build sites as they would with Wordpress/insert page based CMS here. While it will never be core functionality, I can see it being a popular extension for those who are giving Symphony a whirl, or for those with stubborn clients :)

or for those with stubborn clients :)

Yes, I feel that as long as there is no way to "merge" different sections into one view in the backend, an extension like this can be really useful for clients that demand more control over their website.

Sidenote: the longer I think about this the more I like the idea of adding this functionality. This might be an interesting holiday project..;)

This might be an interesting holiday project..;)

Make sure that you at least plan a trip to the Veluwe to get some fresh air during your holidays :)

Yes, or go to strp festival for some inspiration

Okay, I updated the extension to support a treeview structure for Blueprints » Pages and Blueprints » Components. Datasources and events can be categorized by giving them names like News : Last 3, News : Archive, using the colon as the seperator between name and category.

I (temporarily?) disabled the functionality for authors to create new pages or drag and drop existing pages, because I think: 'If letting the author create new pages is the answer, the question most probably is wrong'. In the 2 years we use Symphony on a daily base, this question has been asked only a few times, but most of the time when the client want's to 'add a new page', they actually want to 'add a new article' or 'add a new news item'. So I think I'll stick with this for now.

I also don't want to break Symphonys' philosophy to Keep It Simple, Stupid and don't want to give the client to much options.

This all sounds very promising. Thank you, Giel.

Datasources and events can be categorized by giving them names like News : Last 3, News : Archive, using the colon as the seperator between name and category.

Do you have a quick snapshot, please? I'm very interested of this feature.

because I think: 'If letting the author create new pages is the answer, the question most probably is wrong'. [...] most of the time when the client want's to 'add a new page', they actually want to 'add a new article' or 'add a new news item'

Couldn't agree more.

snapshot: Imgur

Perfect :)

What if I would use a naming convention like

Parent-Page : Page :: News list

Would this be achievable?

I'm not quite sure what you would be trying to achieve with a convention like that. Could you give an example?

I created a new discussion on this topic so I won't hijack this thread. Trying out things, searching the "best" (day-dreaming) approach.

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