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Category Categories

edited February 2006 in Vanilla 1.0 Help
Just thinking it'd be nice to be able to seperate categories into seperate sections - like the way phpbb and others do it. Of course, keep the ability to have categories in the root too, the way it is now. Best of both worlds :) For example, I admin a band's phpbb forum. It's OK even though I don't like phpbb that much, but if Vanilla had support for heirarichal (sp?) categories (only 1 level deep is needed), it'd be just about time to switch :)


  • phpbb is considered a dirty word here, rust, watch out!
  • Sounds like a reason for making this...
  • lechlech Chicagoland
    a top / mid / bottom level break down of the discussions sounds like a neat idea. It would be a much easier way of managing multiple discussion categories if your forum has over a dozen different ones with seperate groups.
  • Lech, that's what I'm thinking. Take the example of a software company with several large products. Their support forums might contain some standard cats like "Software News" and "Company News", and each software package would have cats like "Technical Support", "Bug Reports", and "Tips and Tricks". Y'see? So the "Software News" and "Company News" cats would be at the top of the page (in this example), then a software product section (say it's called "Record Manager 2.2") with the 3 cats, below that a section for "Personnell Manager 3.0" which would have those 3 cats, etc.
  • while i think the idea makes sense this particular software doesn't seem suited to handle a hierarchy of categories as you explain it. firstly the category changer on the left would have trouble displaying the hierarchy/ secondly it seems as though the use of categories is secondary in this particular iteration.
  • The category changer shouldn't have any problem with it with a little rewriting (mainly the SQL query to look for sub-cats). It might display the drop down like so: Software News Company News Record Manager 2.2 - Technical Support - Bug Reports - Tips & Tricks Personell Manager 3.0 - Technical Support - Bug Reports - Tips & Tricks Forum Help Very common way of displaying heirarchies in drop-down lists. As to whether Vanilla needs that or not, I can't say. Looking at the code, it's probably not going to be able to be made as an extension. And since it only needs to be a single level deep, the "sections" could even simply be a "special case" in the code - ignored for all practical purposes, unless someone clicks on one - then only the categories from that section would show up. And on the main page they could be collapsible via javascript. Anyways, just a suggestion. I'd certainly find it a useful feature to have, but it's probably too complex for an extension to handle.
  • I agree with rust, I don't think the drop-down-box will have any problems with nested catagories. MANY other forums/software do it this way. If the framework is there, there is not need to limit catagory nesting to single level. It, effectively could be infinite. example catagory (based on my company): Skoap Media - Support -- Technical --- Product 1 --- Product 2 -- Documentation - Mail-bag I LOVE this proposal, but it would be disappointing if it was limited to one level.
  • hmm has anyone actually looked at the table structure for categories?? that would be the best place to start i suppose
  • well currently the category table doesn't allow for any kind of parent child relationships... so i guess mark would have to say yeah or nay?
  • 'Tis easy enough to add another field to the table to refer to a parent id. The tricky bit is, if allowing multiple nesting, making sure you don't end up with closed loops, eep!
  • well yeah... but then you have to cascade that relationship all the way through the app./.. not saying it isn't doable just saying maybe a little info from mark might help.
  • Actually, another table could be created to hold the parent/child relationships. There's a "Nested Comments" plugin for WordPress that works on that principle and just uses CSS to show nesting. Of course, sticking to CSS wouldn't work with Vanilla, but if the extensions API gives enough access, it's easy enough to put the parent/child stuff in it's own table and affect the display through the extension. Assuming that category ID numbers don't change - like, ever - an infinite loop should be impossible without going in and manually changing the database (assuming the extension - or Vanilla - does simple bounds checking when creating new child cats).
  • ya that's actually a really good way of doing it...and your right, as long as your loop isn't retarded an infinite one should be pretty hard to pull off.
  • MarkMark Vanilla Staff
    It would require a database change - but it is possible, yes. The extension methodology allows for completely taking over existing objects through the object factory. So, you could write a whole new set of category related classes to handle this type of thing. Not that big a deal, actually.
  • edited December 2005
    Hi, Mark, will this sub category support be considered in 0.9.3? Some of the users in my new forums are asking for it and it's kinda standards in other systems. Regards!
  • Doesn't seem too complicated to put together. All you need to do is add a ParentID column to the Category table and then create a GetParent() or GetChildren() function.
  • It's impossible to do a truly recursive database query, though.
  • Hello, I'm new to Vanilla, just set it up and got it running. It is a great system from what I've been able to see thus far. But this discussion is the one feature I've been looking for. If Vanilla was 'Sub Category' capable then I would say it was nearly perfect. Once discussion forums get many many topics it would be ideal to be able to sub-categorize them. Just my input. Thanks.
  • i am loving vanilla, but i got a big project. i am a college student thinking about setting up a forum for participating student organizations on campus. i would like to divide the groups by giving them their own category, but they need sub categories to organize their discussions. that way each group has their own forum basically, but they all show up on the main page. i am hoping that vanilla is the answer. i got one group right now and can use the current system, but i will need to seperate them for new groups in the future. should i expect that this will be an option later in Vanilla's development or look some where else?
  • edited February 2006
    Mark said something cryptic about tags a few weeks ago, then clammed up and hasn't mentioned it since.
This discussion has been closed.