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Custom Properties

Custom Properties is a Joomla! 1.0.x and 1.5.x extension for adding custom properties to content items.

The complete package consists of a component, 2 modules and 2 plugins.

The component manages the properties and general configuration, a module lets you search "tagged" content items and the other shows the tags as a "cloud". The plugins (mambots) show the tags on content items.
 
Sounds promising? Bear with me, I'll explain. 

Example: the recipe site.

We are build a cooking recipes site. Recipes are organized in sections and categories. Hierarchical structure will be something like:

  1. starters / appetizers
    • fish
    • meat
    • vegetables
  2. main coarse
    • pasta ;)
    • soup
    • rice
  3. second coarse
    • meat
    • fish
    • vegetables
  4. desserts
We keep adding recipes to the relevant section/category and site visitors easily find what they're looking for.

Spicy Food

 

Penne all'arrabbiata
Penne all'arrabbiata.
We want to add recipes for spicy dishes. We decide to make a new section like this.
  1. spicy food
    • appetizer
    • main courses
    • second courses
    • dessert
Beside from adding new recipes, we start copying recipes from their original categories to the Spicy Food section. We will then have a copy of "Penne all'arrabbiata*" either in "Main course/pasta" and in "Spicy Food/main course". We only have to remember to keep both copies of the recipe up to date. 
*  a pasta dish with tomato sauce and chili pepper. 

Things get worse: a new section.

Due to the huge success of our site, a sponsor comes. He is a producer of olive oil and he would like to have a section dedicated to Mediterranean recipes.

Just like we did before, we add a new section:

  1. Mediterranean recipes
    • appetizer
    • main coarse
    • ...
Now things start getting more complicated. Every time we add an article we have to make sure it is copied to all relevant categories. Whenever we update a recipe we need to find all copies of it in other categories and change them as well.

We soon discover that adding sections / categories is not the way to go.

Solving the "spaghetti" effect: Custom Properties

With Custom Properties we can define infinite* properties and "attach" them to content items, for later retrieval.

It is very similar to the concept of "tag" made popular by sites like flickr or youtube:

  1. Stick labels to a content item.
  2. Use those labels as search keywords.

Custom Properties are slightly different from tags though. Tags are unstructured and free text. Custom Properties are made by fields and values.

Defining custom propertiesWith this powerful-yet-simple component we create 2 properties :

  1. field : spicy
    • value : yes
  2. field : Mediterranean
    • value : yes

We can even even define tags to label our dishes according to their grade of spiciness:

  1. spiciness
    • Not spicy
    • Mild
    • Hot
    • Lava hot

Defining custom propertiesWe can now restore the original structure of our site. We get rid of duplicate items and we move all recipes to the original sections / categories.

We proceed with tagging the recipes by assigning the new properties to the relevant content items, and we are set.

As you already figured out, this component will let you organize and reorganize your content items on the fly, regardless of  their section and category. 

* depends on storage size

The user experience

 

Drop down menu.
Custom Properties search box
The custom properties we created will appear in the search module (mod_cpsearch). We can decide if they'll be displayed as a sequence of checkboxes or a as dropdown list. We can even add a free-text search input, that works much like the standard joomla search component.

The search results will be shown as a list of excerpts from the relevant documents. The assigned tags will be displayed after the excerpt, if you wish so.

If we want the tags to be shown on content items, we just need to add the {cptags} tag anywhere in the text. 

 

Custom Properties Tags Cloud
Custom Properties Tags Cloud
By means of the Custom Propeties Tags Cloud module (mod_cpcloud), all tags will be show as tags coud: one tag beside the other, font size proportional to frequency of the tag.

Icing on the top: the Fish

To address the needs of multi language sites, the component is compatible with Joom!Fish the great an popular Joomla extension. It means you can localize both fields and values using the Joomfish Components and that search results will be returned in the proper language.

...oh, I almost forgot, it's free. 

Joomla Development

From the very first day of activity Solidsystem has adopted Joomla as his CMS of choice. We have successfully built websites and extensions for all releases of Joomla. Beside popular extensions such as Custom Properties and Drop Down Articles, we built from scratch and customized many other extensions.

We helped optimize slow websites by carefully choosing the right components and the best configurations and restored to normality sites that had been compromised by unlawful activities.

For anything Joomla count on us.

Service & Maintenance

We provide maintenance services for Joomla websites: reorganization of site structure, template customization, components evaluation / installation / fine tuning, cleanup & restore after hacking events, general optimization, evaluation of performances.

Custom Development Work

We offer software development customization services. You can have our expertise at your disposal on a pay-as-you-go hourly rate for small tasks or a more convenient daily rate. For bigger jobs we can quote on a per project basis.