Coranto as a CMS? Content Sorting, Content Children, etc.

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Coranto as a CMS? Content Sorting, Content Children, etc.

Postby Darren » Wed Mar 01, 2006 8:24 am

Hi all,

I've been using Coranto (and previously newspro) successfully for my site's news section for years. Thanks to excellent add-ons like Maginot, News Categories, and X Multi-Submit I've even tricked out another, non-news section to be fully Coranto-driven. Now, I'm exploring whether or not to use Coranto (multiple installs of it, to keep things easier to work with) as a site-wide CMS when I relaunch the site.

I'm exploring the add-ons I don't know about yet and trying to think outside the box to figure out if this is going to handle my entire site content and presentation just as I want it to. A few questions:

1) Can Coranto sort entries alphanumerically by a custom field? One section of the site is an episode guide, and I'd like to create a section menu that orders the episodes by number (101, 102, 103, etc. for Season One) rather than alphabetically or chronologically.

2) Feature picking! On the home page (in addition to chronological news) we'll list hand-picked special features from various sections of the site, using a different news style. Is there any way I can select a content item from any category, regardless of its age, and make it a home page feature ... without creating a separate content item for the feature, linking to the original?

3) Is Coranto capable of creating content children? An episode may have a review, a transcript, photos, etc. which each require an HTML file that is linked to and shares fields in common with the parent (such as episode title, air date, and images). I can create these all as separate content items, but I'd have to duplicate all the shared fields -- and it would be a mess to manage 20-30 child pages related to each episode.

Can Maginot Sliced profiles be used to create de facto content children? I've used Maginot Static a good deal, but never Sliced.

4) Related to #3, is there a smart way to automatically create PREVIOUS / NEXT links, such as in a photo gallery?

Thanks in advance for the advice!

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Re: Coranto as a CMS? Content Sorting, Content Children, etc

Postby Dale Ray » Wed Mar 01, 2006 3:20 pm

Darren wrote:1) Can Coranto sort entries alphanumerically by a custom field? One section of the site is an episode guide, and I'd like to create a section menu that orders the episodes by number (101, 102, 103, etc. for Season One) rather than alphabetically or chronologically.


The Sort Orders addon allows you to sort items by one or two fields in a variety of ways.

Darren wrote:2) Feature picking! On the home page (in addition to chronological news) we'll list hand-picked special features from various sections of the site, using a different news style. Is there any way I can select a content item from any category, regardless of its age, and make it a home page feature ... without creating a separate content item for the feature, linking to the original?


You can add a custom field of the check box type that you can check if you want the item displayed in a particular section. I would make a profile for the featured items that includes all of the categories that you may want in the section and then add the custom field. Use an if statement to include only the items checked in the section. You can use the Modify News : Include Field addon to display the value of the field on you modify news page so you can see which items are currently included easily from there.

Darren wrote:[3) Is Coranto capable of creating content children? An episode may have a review, a transcript, photos, etc. which each require an HTML file that is linked to and shares fields in common with the parent (such as episode title, air date, and images). I can create these all as separate content items, but I'd have to duplicate all the shared fields -- and it would be a mess to manage 20-30 child pages related to each episode.


In database terms Coranto only has one item type which you could call a 'news item' or 'content item'. Every field you create is included in the 'definition' of every item. You can create what looks like child elements using the XMS addon that you are already familiar with. XMS allows you to limit the fields displayed on the input page. You could create one XMS profile that allows to manage all of the fields related to the item and an additional XMS profile that only shows the fields related to the child item or subset of fields you want. You don't have to duplicate the 'shared' fields, as I said every field is saved for every item entered. By locking a profile to one of the XMS sub set profiles you can build the 'child' pages. You can use the 'master' XMS profile to build a menu of the available child elements using if statement to test for the values entered into the fields.

Having both a master XMS profile and profiles for each subset gives you the abliity to either see all information related to an episode on one page or to break it down into section for easier entry and editing.

Darren wrote:4) Related to #3, is there a smart way to automatically create PREVIOUS / NEXT links, such as in a photo gallery?


Maginot or the MultiPage addon can do this. See this tutorial about implementing a counter into a style, it has a section on MultiPage.
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Re: Coranto as a CMS? Content Sorting, Content Children, etc

Postby Parahead » Wed Mar 01, 2006 5:58 pm

Dale Ray wrote:
Darren wrote:2) Feature picking! On the home page (in addition to chronological news) we'll list hand-picked special features from various sections of the site, using a different news style. Is there any way I can select a content item from any category, regardless of its age, and make it a home page feature ... without creating a separate content item for the feature, linking to the original?

You can add a custom field of the check box type that you can check if you want the item displayed in a particular section. I would make a profile for the featured items that includes all of the categories that you may want in the section and then add the custom field. Use an if statement to include only the items checked in the section.
Or use the Filter By Field addon to weed out only the newsitems with the checkbox set.
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Postby Darren » Wed Mar 01, 2006 6:06 pm

Thanks, Dale! This is a huge help. It sounds like I should be able to make it work, and without going to extraordinary lengths.

The one piece I don't quite follow (and it may take some hands-on experience) is how to associate a "child" content item created with an XMS profile with its "parent" item created with a Maginot Static profile. It sounds like you're saying I can call the contents of one particular field from one content item (e.g. "Episode 220") in another the XMS-created (child) content item (e.g. "Episode 220 Transcript"). How would one do that?

Are you saying that every item that might have content children (i.e. every single episode) would need its own profile and XMS subset profile?
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Postby Parahead » Wed Mar 01, 2006 6:27 pm

The topic of having parent/child news has been discussed before. It isn't that easy to accomplish and I am very interested in hearing an extended explaination about your solution Dale Ray.

Some threads about this:
http://coranto.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=8646
http://coranto.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=8602

Also, maybe one could use the Related News addon to accomplish something like this? Or at least use that addon as a base?
http://coranto.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2199
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Postby faithless » Thu Mar 02, 2006 12:57 am

Let me elaborate on Dale's idea with an example

Let's take a movie database site.
For each movie title, we have the following information on it:

Title
Director
Cast
Plot Outline
Trivia
Quotes
Review
Rating
Gallery

You have created all the above fields in Coranto.
So let's say, for each movie, the "content parent" so to speak, would be the main movie details. When you submit a news item using the default submit page, it lists all the above fields for you to fill in. To filter it to only the relevant fields, you will need to install XMultiSubmit (XMS) and create a profile called "Movie Info", filtering out the unecessary fields, retaining only Title, Director, Cast, Plot Outline.

Now, when ever you submit a newsitem for "Movie Info", the empty fields for the fields that are hidden by XMS are saved as empty fields. To edit those empty fields, you'll have to create another profile, say "Movie Review" which filters only the fields relevant to the "Movie Review". Same goes for quotes, and so on. To update those fields, you have to go to Modify News, select the XMS profile you will like to use, "Movie Review" to edit the review portion for example, and then update the news item.

This so far takes care of editing and storage.

You will then have to create maginot news profiles for each XMS profile you made, using styles where by "Movie Info" will filter only fields that are related and so on. To then link the generated pages together, you can use <MaginotURL: ProfileName> ( e.g. <MaginotURL: Movie_Info> <MaginotURL: Movie_Review> <MaginotURL: Movie_Quotes> ) in the styles for each news profile to link to the relevant "child info".

So basically, every news item/entry is always tied to one and only one ID. It is totally up to you to control the input and output methods to create the illusion of "parent/child pages". From a database point of view, there should always be only 1 ID tied to all the various related information for an entry.

*I wrote the above while still half asleep. If there's anything you need me to clarify, feel free to ask.
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Postby Darren » Thu Mar 02, 2006 5:22 am

faithless, this definitely makes sense. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it looks like what you are saying is that content children can be simulated by creating all the fields that every different type of child page would require, then creating individual submission pages for each type of child (and one for the parent), then using X Multi Submit to hide the non-applicable fields from each different submission form.

Different Maginot Static profiles can then be used to create the various HTML pages for the parent and each child, all of which can share variables with the parent by nature of the fact that there is just the one newsID involved. Then it's just a matter of finding the right Maginot tags to use in the templates / news styles.

Is this right? The one thing I'm not catching is how to add data to the fields for child pages, which are hidden on the main parent's submission page. Going back into that item through Modify News still brings up only the same fields that XMS displayed when it was created. And creating a new item with a different XMS submission page (with the other variables) creates a new ID rather than using the first.
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Postby Dale Ray » Thu Mar 02, 2006 6:28 am

Parahead's post and looking at the threads he mentioned have made me thinkj that my "solution" may not work. I will try to get some time to do some testing this weekend and report my results.
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Postby faithless » Thu Mar 02, 2006 6:39 am

Darren wrote:<snipped>
Is this right? The one thing I'm not catching is how to add data to the fields for child pages, which are hidden on the main parent's submission page. Going back into that item through Modify News still brings up only the same fields that XMS displayed when it was created. And creating a new item with a different XMS submission page (with the other variables) creates a new ID rather than using the first.


Ah yes. You got my idea correctly.

If it is manageble, you can have all the fields on the same submit page and then use different maginot profiles to "create the various HTML pages for the parent and each child, all of which can share variables with the parent by nature of the fact that there is just the one newsID involved." :)

As for my XMS comment, I meant it only as so that if you have say, alot of content fields, you can split the content fields up using XMS, and so, to add the other portions of contents, you can go to modify news, select the XMS profile you want to use, which will then filter out unnecessary stuff so that you don't have to go through a long clutter list.
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Postby Parahead » Thu Mar 02, 2006 7:32 am

faithless wrote:As for my XMS comment, I meant it only as so that if you have say, alot of content fields, you can split the content fields up using XMS, and so, to add the other portions of contents, you can go to modify news, select the XMS profile you want to use, which will then filter out unnecessary stuff so that you don't have to go through a long clutter list.
OK, I get your idea as well now. I haven't really though about it this way and it certainly works but is it userfriendly if using several XMS profiles? If someone would like to edit a child newsitem he must go to the Modify News page, choose edit for that newsitem, select the prefered child XMS page from the dropdown, re-save the newsitem to really be able to go in and edit the newsitem using that "child" XMS submit page...

And this approach would also mean one would have several different custom fields. Often the Subject and Text fields are reused depending on the submission page, but since everything will be saved in the same newsitem one must have unique fields for each XMS profile.
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Postby Darren » Thu Mar 02, 2006 7:34 am

Ahh, I see now. I had forgotten that Modify News provides the "Submit Page" option for XMS. I can change this, save, and re-edit to see the previously hidden variables.

This does mean including ALL possible fields for the parent and all child pages (I'm currently up ), but its doable. XMS definitely makes the input/editor interface more manageable.

Sorry that it took me a day to catch up with you. :) After rereading Dale Ray's first post I think this is also the type of solution he was describing.

I think I'm going to have to read up on how to use Maginot Sliced profiles next, because several of my content children are pages that display individual images from the episode, with Previous / Next links -- anywhere from a half-dozen to 30 per episode. That's a LOT of custom variables to add: Photo #1, Photo #1 thumb, Photo #2, Photo #2 thumb, etc.
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Postby Darren » Thu Mar 02, 2006 7:47 am

By the by, I've counted up my custom variables. Minus the existing Title/Subject field and main body field (which can just be used as a common variable), I'm up to 130 with images.

Phew. This is going to be work.
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Postby Parahead » Thu Mar 02, 2006 7:51 am

Darren wrote:Ahh, I see now. I had forgotten that Modify News provides the "Submit Page" option for XMS. I can change this, save, and re-edit to see the previously hidden variables.
Yes, this is correct. Since the parent/child thing is a question that pops up from time to time I think I will see if it would be possible to make the "edit" link go to to a XMS pre-page where you would be able to choose which XMS profile to use, so you wouldn't have to go through the hazzle of clickin edit, choosing a new XMS page from the dropdown, resave and click edit again... *NO* guarantees I will actually find a workable solution and if I do, when it would see the light of day.

Darren wrote:By the by, I've counted up my custom variables. Minus the existing Title/Subject field and main body field (which can just be used as a common variable), I'm up to 130 with images.
Yeah, like I mentioned above this solution requires you to have unique fields on every XMS page, normally you can reuse the same custom fields on different pages, but since everything is saved in the same newsitem that is not possible.
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Postby Dale Ray » Sun Mar 05, 2006 3:00 am

I wrote:Parahead's post and looking at the threads he mentioned have made me think that my "solution" may not work. I will try to get some time to do some testing this weekend and report my results.


Ok - so I followed up on this and my proposed solution isn't really practical.

You can create an item with one XMS profile and then edit it with another, but doing so isn't really practical. You have to allow the user to change the XMS profile after selecting edit on the modify news page. Then from the modify news page you can go to the item in the XMS page just selected.

I have started a topic here about a work around for this.

I will work on this as I get more time but I don't when that will be.
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