Ten Textpattern Tips, #3: Show More Detailed Checkbox


Textpattern CMS ships with 3 administrative themes: Hive, Classic and Remora. The default is Classic – and it’s my personal favourite. It is, however, possible to miss some of the useful functionality that’s tucked away in the user interface. One thing I want to draw your attention to in my Ten Textpattern Tips is the existence of an oft-forgotten checkbox: show more detail. This checkbox is located in the bottom left of each of the list tabs: Articles, Images, Files, Links and Comments. It’s particularly useful if you are in the upper echelons of the Textpattern user hierarchy, or if you have a keen interest on keeping tabs of the content within a Textpattern website.

It goes like this: Textpattern is a content management system. The content it manages comprises articles, images, files, links and comments. Each of these types of content is displayed in list form and each list will have zero or more items in it. Each person involved with Textpattern administration will have a different tolerance level for the amount of information they can digest from these lists. Taking the article list as an example, the default list view for a Publisher (administrator) displays:

  • the article ID, linked to an edit page
  • the article title, linked to an edit page
  • the article posted time stamp
  • the article section
  • the article status, linked to the article on the front end
  • the article author

All of these columns are sortable. The information displayed works well on most sizes of screen and, frankly, isn’t overwhelming. Each list item includes hyperlinks, either to an edit page in the administration interface or the article on the front of house side of things as a reader would see it. Clicking on the edit link takes you to the Write tab where you can view and edit article-specific information.

This is all fine, but there will come a time as your Textpattern site grows in size and complexity that you need to perform housekeeping on content of a certain type. As an example, you may want to move all articles which have the first category set to ‘lemon’ to ‘banana’, instead. Doing this for a handful of articles is perhaps bearable, clicking on each item in the list, going into the edit screen, choosing the new category from the drop down menu, and saving it. When there’s an order of magnitude more articles to change, the need to make the process happen with less involvement may become greater.

Here’s the tip: check that ‘show more detail’ checkbox. In the case of the article list, some extra columns are added for your enjoyment and edification:

  • the article ID, now linked to an edit page and additionally to the front end view
  • the article title
  • the article posted time stamp
  • the article modified time stamp
  • the article expiry time stamp
  • the article section
  • the article category #1
  • the article category #2
  • the article status
  • the article author
  • the article comment status, plus a link to comments for that article

Again, all of these columns are sortable, so in the example of needing to change a category for a number of articles the task becomes trivial: check the ‘show more detail’ box, sort by the relevant category column, select as few or as many articles as you wish to change and then choose the category changing option from the ‘with selected…’ drop down menu. Check out each of the content lists to see what extra information is displayed when that checkbox is ticked – you may be surprised at how much administration time you can save overall.

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Author Spotlight

Pete Cooper

Pete Cooper has been using Textpattern since 2005. Textpattern is his preferred CMS weapon of choice. Its logical and flexible approach to content management makes Pete happy, as does its lightweight core and helpful user community. Pete's website - petecooper.org - runs on top of Textpattern and chronicles his day-to-day experiences from his home near the Atlantic in north Cornwall, United Kingdom.

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