ocPortal’s inbuilt catalogue system is a very useful tool and can be used for a wide range of tasks relating to the display of information on your ocPortal website. One way the catalogue system can be leveraged for businesses is in the use of a store locater with a map displaying the locations of your businesses stores. The Catalogue system works in conjunction to the addon ocDatamap to be able to achieve this. If you would like to know more about this I have covered it in a previous tutorial which can be found here: How to add a store locator to your ocPortal website.
I wanted to take a look through the Catalogue system to make the options clearer to you. It is impossible to go through every type of option you could use the catalogues system for, but I wanted to make it a little clearer so you can see how you can leverage this really useful system.
The first screen in the catalogues section is quite straight forward and covers adding and editing new catalogues, new catalogue categories and catalogue entries. There is also an option here to add new catalogue category field types but for most users they will mostly use the first 6 options.
The main thing I want to cover in this article is adding a new catalogue as this has quite a number of options you will need to fill in. When you first arrive at the ‘add a new catalogue’, you will need to give your new catalogue a name and a codename which doesn’t have any spaces in it. The codename will also form part of the URL to the catalogue so make sure if this is an open catalogue you don’t use anything here that you don’t want users to see.
The next option is to be able to put a description for the table. The next option is how you want the catalogue to display once you have added data to it. There are four options here which are:
- Field Maps
- Title Lists
- Tabular listings
- Grid of Images
Field maps is where each entry will have its own full table set out in two columns with each field and answer displaying in a list and the next catalogue entry displaying below in its own table.
Title lists could be used as a links directory with a title and a link in a single table
Tabular listings are where you can display a long list of information altogether. For example if you have a list of different products with different specs you could add all of the data together so your site visitors can use this data to compare the listings.
A Grid of images is used to simply add a List of images with titles.
The next option is whether the catalogue will be tied to an ecommerce system. For example you might have a grid of images which links through so users can buy the product listed.
Next choose whether you are using a tree structure which means you allow some entries to be sub entries of other entries. For example you might have a standard version and also have a Light and premium version of something as sub entries to the main standard entry.
Advanced and Permissions
The next 2 sections are titles advanced and permissions. Permissions is straight forward and covers which usergroups can access and view the catalogue. The Advanced section has three sections including a place to add notes to other people who might want to edit the catalogue. You can set if site users gain site points or adding an entry. This might be useful on community based sites which make use of ocPortal’s point system. The last option in this section is whether you want the system to send view statistics for their entries on a regular basis or not.
Adding new fields
The majority of this section is very self-explanatory so I just want to cover a few of the options in a little more detail.
The first field I want to cover in more detail is the Default value section where you can set the default value of the field if the user does not fill it in. This field is also used for some field types such as multiple selection boxes from drop down menus. When you are adding a dropdown selection you need to format the options here in a specific way with the pipe symbol, for example the options might be something like
Option A|Option B | Option C | Option D
You don’t need a pipe symbol on the end as this will add a blank option on the list.
The other important field I want to cover is the type field which has a wide range of options from simple text boxes to a box which will only allow users to input a telephone number and the multiple choice menu mentioned above which are the options under choices and there are a few options here from displaying the list above with radio boxes or allowing singular or multiple selections from the list.
There are a huge number of options in this section such as uploading images, limiting the field to display the next sequential number, display a link etc.
You will of course need to plan out your catalogue before you start building it to make sure you have the right fields in the right order. If you do find you want to reorder your fields this can also be done through changing the “Order” option.
The Catalogue system allows you to add up to 10 fields initially and you will need to add the catalogue and go back in to edit it to be able to add more than ten fields.