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At their simplest, Coranto Profiles provide for the filtering and sorting of Coranto output into different groups for displaying on different web pages or sites. If the Coranto database is split into different categories, for example, then selection of a different category within each Profile will produce a number of output files, each containing the text of the items in one category.
If this were all that Profiles provided, however, then they would not be required at all as a simple Category filter could do the job just as well. What Profiles provide on top of such filtering, is the ability to dictate how many articles from each category are included in each output file, as well as which ones.
To try and explain this a little bit further, this article considers some basic uses that the system of Coranto Profiles address.
In considering the basic use of Profiles, it's probably easiest to consider in the light of the needs of a simple web site with a single page of 'news' generated from Coranto. Starting from that premise, the following sections describe some of the possible uses of the Coranto Profile.
The most basic use of the Profile on a simple site such as this is the main 'News Feed'. This is the central part of the site and contains the main articles for presentation to the reader.
This will need a single Profile all of it's own and will probably be filtered either by time or by number of entries depending upon the rate of the updates applied to the site.
- Where few articles are added the the 'Filter by Time' field may be used to govern to content of the Front Page. This will ensure that only news of a specified age (in days) will ever be displayed in the main news area.
- Where a number of articles are added daily, the 'Filter by Number' field may be a better way to govern the page content. This will restrict the Front Page news to the number of articles specified by the field (with older news passing into the Archive if enabled).
For the sake of our simple site, I will assume that many updates may be made daily so we will filter the Front Page News profile by number of articles and set 'Filter by Number' to 10 for its Profile.
Filtering the Coranto database through this Profile will result in a file containing the first 10 items from the database.
Having filtered the front page in this way means that not all of a days news will necessarily be present in the main area of the front page of the site. While useful for restricting Bandwidth requirements, this isn't user friendly as it doesn't provide easy access to all of the days news.
Thus, it may be useful to provide direct access to these stories elsewhere. A slightly different Profile will enable us to do this.
Configuration of this Profile is a two stage process:
- Because I'm only interested in the news from today, the 'Filter by Time' setting will need to be set to 1. This will exclude all news older then the today from the output file generated by this Profile.
- As there are already 10 articles on the main news feed displayed on this page, there's probably little point in repeating these in the headlines. This can be achieved by setting 'Skip Items' to 10.
Filtering the Coranto database through this Profile will result in a file containing all articles with todays date except for the first 10. (If fewer than 10 articles have been entered for the current day then the resulting file will be empty)
Having provided feeds of both the latest 10 items of news and older items from the same day for the front page of the site, it may be that we also need to provide a 'Mobile Page' formatted for access from PDAs or mobile phones. Another Profile may be required in order to facilitate this but before creating one, consideration needs to be given to the content requirements of the page.
The key question in this instance is How many articles are required for display on the 'Mobile Site'?.
If the answer is that the same number of articles are required on both the Main and Mobile sites, then it is possible that another Profile is not required at all and the output of the main 'News Feed' profile can simply be reused for the Mobile Page.
If a different number of articles are required, however, or the output is required to be displayed in a different format (which implies that another Style will be required) then a new profile will need to be created along the lines of the one used for the Main Feed. The differences will simply be the either number of items to be included or the style to be used.
Obviously, in a real web environment, the format of the output of each of these Profiles would need to be defined. It may be that while the main 'News Feed' contains the full text of each Coranto item, the 'Archived News' contains just the Headlines while the 'Mobile Page' uses a completely different format for display. As already hinted at, such formatting is a matter of Styles rather than Profiles so is not directly considered here.
Presentation aside, it should be easy to see how the facilities provided by Coranto Profiles can be used in any number of ways to help maximize the use of the content of a Coranto database.