Pages - Nearly a CMS

Last updated by leanneg Comments (3)

The page system within Elgg is a nice addition as it sits somewhere between documents and a wiki. I feel it is one of the more useful plugins to the system but could be developed into an extremely powerful application that would have many uses throughout the site and allow people to fully customise their world.--

Menu System
Currently, the page menu system consists of a series of disconnected top-level items connected to child items that are ordered, it seems, by creation date. This system limits the use of pages for the user and the administrator as it makes creating a very specific hierarchy almost impossible.

Two things need to be added, I think. One is the ability to change the way grouped pages are ordered (alphabetically, date created/modified, author name, and so on) and the other is a customisable menu which allows the pages to be grouped and ordered in whatever way works best.

This addition turns the page system into a basic CMS and could be used not just on an individual and group level, but also on a site level by the administrators.

The Google Sites menu system is one that jumps to mind where the pages are either automatically added to a structured menu or can be manually placed.

This menu could also incorporate links to plugins such as forums and blogs so that a user can arrange their profile elements and pages together on the one menu - this would be invaluable for groups!

TinyMCE Editor
The TinyMCE editor is a very good choice, however, the lack of a highly intuitive image upload and insert system is problematic and limiting.  When designing a Joomla site the other day, using the JCE version of TinyMCE I was suddenly struck how even that was cumbersome and how clever the Wordpress sytem is! Although it is good that 3rd party developers extend the editor to allow just about every edit button imaginable, for most users just having a simple way to add images would be addition enough!

The embed system is the most obvious plugin to develop in this respect, though it needs heavy modification to allow for all the normal image insert dialogue, plus setting for the administrator to limit file size, extension and so on. Group administrators may wish to limit these settings further and may want to restrict which role can upload what.

I wonder, therefore, whether different layouts of editor could be set up round roles. For instance, group admins who might be putting together complex pages for their group may appreciate more complex editing functions, but would rather that their ordinary members were more limited. Likewise, site editors would certainly appreciate more functions for editing the site pages. All of this, or course, could be set up by the Site Admins.

Site Pages
As part of the back end administration of the entire site, site editors and above could use the pages system to create site pages. This would replace things like External Pages and could be added to any part of the site menu system. This would truly add CMS tools to Elgg and allow the very easy creation of complex community sites complete with help pages and so on.

If third party developers were given a standard way of controlling menu systems, then pages and other elements could be easily routed to what ever menus the site administrator has installed.

Adding Plugins to the Page System

Does elgg have a way of adding page breaks, TOC, readmore and so forth? These could all be developed by third party developers, but does the system allow for it?

Adding functionality to the page system over and above what is presented as standard can help the system grow in power and is very attractive to corporate customers who often like to use their intranet/community as a way of presenting training materials and so forth. The page system seems the perfect candidate for accepting powerful additional components rather than have a disparate collection of unrelated applications.

One of the great weaknesses of Joomla (as a few clients have told me) is that stuff is all over the place - if you don't know what is installed and how to access it, you would never find it. There is a real argument for the logic that says “I want a gallery, so I create a page and stick a gallery in it,” preferably in a way that does not include shoving curly brackets around an easy to forget command!

So, in addition to the powerful standalone plugins like blogs, being able to drag and drop widgets and full blown plugins into a page would be a very powerful.

  • I agree fully with the issues surrounding the page menu system -- it's a block i came across while adding content to the Site help section of the site.  

    I'm working on an ELGG for a client whose users will have very limited internet skills, so need to be guided through how to guides in a particular order.

    As I'm unable to control the Pages Menu, I'm having to manually create links on the main landing page for the help section in order to show them the precise order they should move through.


  • It is one of those things that for the sake of adding some sorting methods could make a huge difference to the system.

    What sort options would be most useful as menus? My guess would be the following:

    • Automatic - Date created (asc or desc)
    • Automatic - Alphabetical (asc or desc)
    • Manual using drag and drop for both order and heirachy.

    Any others?