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From Allen Gilliland <allen.gillil...@sun.com>
Subject should we use a different structure for page templates?
Date Wed, 12 Jul 2006 01:33:46 GMT
i mentioned this to Dave recently and we both thought the idea merited a 
bit more discussion so i am bringing it up here.

i've been wavering back and forth for quite some time on the way our 
weblog templates are setup, meaning how we use Weblog, _day, etc, and 
what we have now works, but i've often felt that merging the Weblog and 
_day templates into a single template would actually be a nicer approach.

i think it's a bit easier on template writers to not have to switch back 
and forth between the 2 templates to understand how the page will be 
rendered and that really complex showEntriesInCategory() macro which 
handles the entry display logic for collection views, permalinks, and 
search results is a bit over the top.

this is just a thought, but if i had it to do from the ground up i think 
i would try replacing the Weblog and _day templates that we have now 
with 3 separate templates ... Weblog, Permalink, and SearchResults.  In 
my mind there is enough of a reason to design each of these views a 
little bit differently that this makes sense.  i also know that this is 
how MT does it and i would say that i find their templating process a 
bit nicer than ours.

there aren't any plans to implement this right now, but it's something 
to think about.  at some point it no longer makes sense to try and make 
the Weblog and _day templates fit the bill for all types of weblog page 
views, and I feel like that's the path we are headed down right now.  To 
me it makes a little more sense to separate pages out into their own 
templates because they are easier to work on that way.

to add a little bit more technical info to this so that it's clear, i am 
basically suggesting that each weblog should have 3 required templates 
which replace the current Weblog and _day templates ...

Weblog - displays entry collection views like homepage and date/category 
  pages.

Permalink - pretty obvious.

SearchResults - page for showing search results.


In each of these templates you would provide the complete code for 
rendering the page, so you wouldn't be calling a macro like 
#displayWeblogEntries() which does the logic of determining what kind of 
view to render and then properly iterating over the entries and 
including the _day template over and over again.  Instead you would use 
a couple of simple lines like this ...

#set(entriesByDay = $model.entries)
#foreach($day in $entriesByDay.keySet())

   ... put your single day display logic ...

#end

permalinks and search results would work a bid differently obviously 
because when you are editing the template you know exactly what to 
expect, so you are working with different data but in a similar fashion.

thoughts?  opinions?  the basic goal is to simplify the template editing 
process to make it easier for users to understand and i think this 
approach is a little bit more flexible and still easier for users to 
grasp than the combination of the Weblog and _day templates.

-- Allen


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