Templates in Conversant

Today I read about Jason Levine's new Manila plug-in, altTemplate. Finally, Manila sites can have more than one template (okay, two with the home page template)!

Not to suggest Jason's work isn't valuable or appreciated, because it is, but I'm sure Jason would agree that allowing multiple templates in a CMS is hardly a thriller of a feature. More like, why the hell did it take so long, and why did a 3rd party have to do it?

A flexible templating scheme is something Conversant, which this site is based on, has had since the beginning. Not as many people know about Conversant, so to the power users who find multiple templates appealing, here's how it's done in Conversant.

Some pictures to illustrate...

Each conversation (ie: DG, web-site, sub-site) has a list of templates that are editable in the administration interface. Here's a listing of the templates in the this conversation.

Here's what you get when you click on the "weblogs2" link to edit that template... (note these images are all cropped, this is only the important parg of the page)

In Conversant's Structure Editor (where you define the pages and folders in your site), you can choose a default template at the root level of your site that will apply to all pages in the site unless a different template is specifically chosen for a sub-folder or page.

In this conversation, the default2 template is applied to the root folder (not shown), but I've chosen the weblogs2 template for the home page since it has special elements like the "last updated" line and the weblog archive calendar.

When you don't want to specify a custom template for a particular page, you leave the "Template" option of the page to its default setting: "use parent folder template".

I'm glad Manila site operators can now have multiple templates per site too... it's a great feature for any respectable CMS to have.

Written on November 29, 2000