Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board

Knowledge Base
Terry's Tips
Darren's Tips

using articles without creating files

I'd like to use CityDesk to manage an online log-type thing.  I've created articles, and on my template page, I put the date and the content of the log entry.  However, it also creates a file per log entry.  Is there anyway to turn that off for those pages?  I love the idea of keeping the info a database, but I don't need 30 little files with four or five lines in them.  Can I do this?


Bill Keller
Sunday, January 27, 2002

I use Citydesk for my site, and as far as I can tell the answer to your question is "no".

Steven C. Den Beste
Monday, January 28, 2002

Use a blank template for the files you don't want to publish.  I mean totally blank.  No HTML, no {$.body}, no nothing.

Monday, January 28, 2002

I haven't tested this, but wouldn't that publish empty fogxxx.html files?

Mark W
Wednesday, January 30, 2002

Yes, it does publish empty files. It's not perfect, but it's a lot better than publishing full articles that you never link to.

Darren Collins
Wednesday, January 30, 2002

If you haven't read this yet:

I publish a bunch of articles with a totally blank template.  The template has no HTML, no {$.body$}, no nothing.  I end up with a bunch of 2-byte files.  I don't know where those two bytes are coming from.

Wednesday, January 30, 2002

We're trying to figure out the best UI to support this.

There are three ways to do it that I can think of:

* have a checkbox in the properties window that says "don't make a file"
* have a special template type called "no file" that generates no file
* have a rule that if the template is empty - 0 bytes - no file gets generated
* any other ideas?

Joel Spolsky
Friday, February 1, 2002

I'll vote for a Properties checkbox, "Don't publish"

Friday, February 1, 2002

It's not really "don't publish", it's more like "don't make a file." It's a bit confusing. It wouldn't work the same way as "never publish before"/"never publish after" because those files disappear from foreach loops as well.

I like the checkbox idea, it's certainly the easiest to understand. BUT it is a tad inconvenient for webloggers who are adding daily entries and never want files published. If we had some way of making it a property of the *template,* rather than the *article* at least webloggers could set their default template to be something that doesn't make a file...

Then again, the idea of never publishing templates that are completely empty is a little bit too hard to figure out.

Joel Spolsky
Saturday, February 2, 2002

IMHO a "no file" template makes the most sense. A "no file" article type seems like you're putting the functionality in the wrong place, as does a "no file" button. The template is where you choose what the published page will look like, it should be where you choose whether or not there is a published page at all.

Otherwise you end up with non articles that have templates selected (or users wondering why the templates section is grayed out).

For example, if the page were to publish and I wished to turn that off, I would go straight into the article to the templates field.

My question is how you're going to handle loops that request {$$} and [[links]] in the headline or teaser.

Another logical seeming alternative is to put the option at the folder level. "This folder will not be replicated." While it removes some of the flexibility, it also seems like a logical UI place to put it.

The lost flexibility comes in when I create an article that links to files. I'd like to keep them in the same folder, but I don't want the article to publish. I'd have to seperate them into different folders. Also there's the question of inheretance.

Anyway, that's my 6 cents.

Mark W
Wednesday, February 6, 2002

To me it's harder to explain than to implement.  How to make it crystal clear to a user what is gong on.

"Never publish before/after" is pretty straight forward: Don't publish this article and hide it from scripts until the appropriate date.

"Don't publish" would mean don't publish, but let the scripts "see" it.  Even though I do this, I need a few more examples to clear it up in my own mind.

Wednesday, February 6, 2002

I'm a typical user; I can understand the wanted web log functionality of not having a file each time, but hardly the technical solutions you guys are talking about (really).

I think the offered UI discriptions are a bit too much from a technical point (ie, what will technically happen) and not enough of a user point of view (what will this checkbox do for you). For example, it's clear to everyone what the "Save" menu or button in every program means. That would be less so if it would be called "Write your changes to the file".

The Properties checkbox is easy to understand, and I would give it a name referring to the functionality or outcome, not to what will be done technically. So the text could be something like "Create web log entry", with the Help file explaining what this means technically.

Just my 2 cents.

Paul Iliano
Friday, February 8, 2002

Isn't this akin to "Create Another Type of Article" ?

I think maybe you're right. While it makes sense to me to create a "no file" template it might confuse the user. Another type of article might make the most logical sense. One without a "body" (or "teaser" ? whichever you choose to get rid of). After all, you don't need both fields if no file is going to be created.

There's room on the toolbar for "Create Article" "Create HTML File" "Create Blog Entry" and the Blog Entry would be a "dumbed down" version of an Article.

Mark W
Friday, February 8, 2002

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home