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POOR: Pages >Page Management >Templates ("template manager"

Carl Maltby

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Hi all. I've become highly averse to using the template manager of late simply because of its awful state of usability. Being a fundamental way of controlling how site content is manipulated and indexed for users, this undermines the package at a very deep level. Do let me know if I am somehow over-reacting or missing something here....or chime in with your own comments....

I'll discuss my primary bugbear, which is the database templates....they are after all the bread and butter of a Pages-based site.

  • groups of templates are easily created from default, but immensely tedious to delete one-by-one
    • groups cannot be deleted en masse
    • deleting one template from a group re-orders the group listing, easily causing template deletion from the wrong group
  • there is no method of arranging templates into any sort of order beyond what the ACP arbitarily decides from minute to minute
  • templates cannot be moved between groups or copied

Obviously bringing problems to the table is nowhere near as useful as bringing solutions, I propose the following ideas:

  • A "recycle bin" for templates and groups
    • this could be implemented by simply "greying/redding-out" the group or templates in the tabbed listing
  • A drag n' drop tree management system for arranging templates and groups into sense order
  • Second-level nesting of templates
    • I tend to arrange my templates by-database, for example "Articles" and "Tutorials". The current system requires that I either have an overly large first-level listing of "Article Form", "Article Category", "Article Display", etc. as groups or a single group containing all of these individual templates, including occurrences of identical names ("index"). A second-level listing would allow a group "Articles" and a logical group of "Category", "Display", etc.
  • Common templates
    • Reducing redundancy and inconsistency is a key job. For example, a simple templated method of displaying an element common to various database - such as a Category row - is replicated amongst every occurrence of Category templates. The option of setting a template (such as "Articles > categoryRow") as a clone of a common template (such as "common > categoryRow") would hugely reduce unnecessary template proliferation. Deleting a template with dependencies would of course need to be captured.

In fairness, this is the tip of a very large and frustrating iceberg. Is everybody else finding the template manager unintuitive and slow to use? I'd rather be generating content instead of chasing around the template manager! :(

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