Tags for articles in Joomla are a very useful feature, but for me there are several limitations in the way they are currently implemented and displayed. In this sequence of posts I am going to discussing tagging and present my solutions to some of the issues I have found. While some issues can be improved with straightforward template over-rides of view and layout files, many require modification to either model or forms.
For this I have been using the two plugins - MVC-Override for models and Form-XML-Override for forms. Whilst these work ok as a solution it all gets a bit cumbersome so I am gradually folding things into a new Component to be called xbTagMan which will be released eventually (I have a very early version working which introduces a couple of new admin views to help with tag management)
So what are the limitations that I am trying to work around. In all of this I am primarily using tags for Articles (com_content) and that is the focus of this work. Also for most of my sites I derive the template (in J3) from the Protostar standard template, so that is my starting point for template overrides. Other templates may well have better display functionality for tags built in.
Here are some of the objectives:
- Improve the ways tags are displayed with an article
- Allow better use of the potential for hierarchies of tags
- Improve the display of tags in the front end - lists of tags and lists of tagged articles
- Improve the management of tags in the backend - see what tags are used where and vice versa
- Develop a new tool for navigation using a Monadic Exploration style to link tags, categories and content
The first thing was to improve the somewhat inflexible way tags are displayed with an article. Here is the default display of article details using the Protostar template.
For me this is not a good layout in general. Regarding the tags they are just presented in one unordered list. Logically tags are a bit like categories so it would make sense to group them together in one section. The Author and publication details make another section which should come right at the end and the Prev/Next and ABC links make a third section. I also on some sites use the fields facility to gather extra information relating to the article - for example sources and references - so that makes a fourth section.
The next post will show the changes made to the layout using standard template overrides to achieve the desired result.