Common Questions

  1. What is CMSList+ ?
    CMSList+ is a custom WordPress plug-in that turns out of the box (OOTB) WordPress into a more robust content management system by introducing fine-grained security on taxonomy and post type, more intuitive file management system, unified look and feel, and behavior enhancements to make content administration and user experience more intuitive.
  2. What is fine-grained security all about?
    CMSList+ give administrators the ability to set content target audience at the category level by assigning minimum role required to consume it, including making a specific category exclusive to a specific audience. This fine-grained permission architecture ensures that a target audience only sees what’s appropriate for them.

    Consequentially, only posts classified in categories for a target audience are made available to them, be it single posts, archives, search results or collated posts through tags.

  3. What’s CMSList+ security role?
    CMSList+ user roles are derived from the OOTB WordPress user roles. However, once CMS List is activated, it adds two additional roles: Visitor and Suspended. The former is intended for unregistered users while the latter is intended for users without any privileges. Every user in a must belong to a group, registered or not.

    By default, WordPress roles include Administrator, Contributor, Author, Editor and Subscriber. Each with varying capabilities.

    In real-world scenarios outside of a typical content publishing domain, an organization may have multiple user roles specific to their position in their respective organizational unit and duties assigned to them. In systems, such as networks and digital assets, these roles translates to varying degrees of access and privileges that enable users to utilize resources and tools needed to do their work.

    CMSList+ recognizes this need. In the illustration above, you’ll see individuals who are assigned various roles: Manager, Project Manager (PM), Developers, Help Desk and Visitors. Each individual in these roles will need access to resources needed to do their work. The roles can be created in WordPress, using third-party plugins, and assigned minimum capabilities, e.g. Subscriber, needed to complete a particular task. Then the roles are assigned to specific categories in the taxonomy hierarchy structure. Once security and CMS List type are configured, each user will be able to view content intended for them.

    There’s only one taxonomy structure, but users in various roles will see the structure differently.

  4. What is CMSList+ file management system?
    One major drawback of the WordPress’ built-in Media library is the inability to group files in some logical manner. Images and files are lumped together in a generic structure in a single file repository. Digital assets intended for configuration, e.g. a site’s look and feel elements and branding, are mixed with operational elements and content, like post images. What’s more, adding an image to the Media library generates numerous artifacts that are mixed with the original files, some of which will never ever be used, which only further clutter the repository and eat up valuable space.

    Zen’s file management system decouples file management from the WordPress Media library. Files of any type can be logically structured through the built-in taxonomy. So you can create categories to classify files, like Photos for Family, Work, Travel, Hobbies, and other special interests.

    Zen’s files are managed through posts. Which means, for each classification, you can further logically compartmentalize files. Like for example, under Travel, you may want to create an entry “Trip to Canada,” and that post will include all your photos about that trip, and maybe even include the pdf travel brochure too!

  5. How are the files consumed?
    CMSList+ includes look and feel options to present content in a more intuitive, uniform manner. There are six options that are the building blocks of Zen: Glossary, List, Link, File, Task and Form.

    Files can be exposed to the user with a simple shortcode, as simple as [cms-file]. The file look and feel includes multiple options for presentation, which will be covered in more detail below. For now, files associated to a post can be injected in any post or page simply by adding a shortcode that will either include all of the file items or select items.

  6. Where does the files go in Zen’s file management system?
    Files added to a post are not stored like the usual “file attachment” in WordPress. It is managed off of the WordPress system to minimize clutter and system bloating. In fact, the physical location of the files can be anywhere – either on the server hosting WordPress or on an entirely different host.

    Files are also loosely managed, which means, populating a post with files can be done either through the post editor interface or through a bulk move by directly moving the files into its designated repository on the hosting server. CMSList+ will pick up the change right away.

    Categories that are set as File type requires repository information, which tells CMSList+ where the files will be stored and how to access them, and the file organization method to be used.

    The repository configuration gives administrators the flexibility to host the files anywhere, be it within the WordPress host or elsewhere using Virtual Hosts.

    There are three file organization options: Periodic, Album or Flat.

    The file organization allows flexibility in managing low or high accumulating files. For example, Periodic is ideal for grouping files that accumulate quickly in a given period, like recurring transaction files, heavy photography and project artifacts, or artifacts created in some chronological order; Album ideal for casual home photography or corporate policy documents; and Flat is ideal for when a file repository needs to be shared to various audiences without having to duplicate them, or when it is necessary to target or reuse an existing file repository while preventing CMSList+ from creating file silos within.

  7. What are Zen’s look and feel options?
    Zen’s look and feel changes the way WordPress captures and presents content in a more intuitive and uniform manner. As mentioned before, the six look and feel options are: Glossary, List, Link, File, Task and Form.

    These options are called CMS List types:

    • Glossary type – presents content in a definition of terms format, like the figure below. Each entry links to the associated post containing the complete description.

      Context is everything. With Zen, you can create multiple glossaries based on a specific context. Example: you can create glossaries for finance, technology, horticulture,… anything. See example here.
    • List type – is a simple enumeration of posts in a bullet list. List is useful when presenting items chronological order or as checklists. Clicking on a list item will open up the associated post.

      See example here.
    • Link type – is like List but when you click on a list item, instead of taking you to the post, it will open up a new browser directing you to the link provided in the CMS Attribution (more about this later).

      To open the post instead of the link, all you need to do is click on the icon instead of the title text. A link with an empty post is indicated by an empty paper icon, while a one that has some content is indicated by a paper icon with some scribbles in it. See example here.

    • File type – is Zen’s more complex option. It’s in fact the file manager. The CMS List File Manager is activated in post editors for posts created under file category.

      In the file manager, you can upload and delete files, add captions, or pull files that became orphaned — a situation that happens when a post is moved to another file category.

      Click on image to zoom.

      File management and usage is done through two web services that are part of CMSList+. CMSList+ includes the option to share files through a built-in web service, eliminating the need to share explicit file paths and therefore, further obfuscating digital assets. Image thumbnails are managed outside of file repositories. These artifacts are not mixed with the original files. And CMSList+ doesn’t create a dozen of them on upload.

      File type look and feel includes six options:

      1. url – exposes the hyperlink to a particular file in a set.
      2. link – generates a hyperlink HTML markup for a single file in a set.
      3. single – will return the file itself from the set.
      4. list – generates a bullet enumeration of all the files in a set.
      5. detail – is like the list, but it adds additional information for each file, like size and last modified date.
      6. gallery – presents images in a set in a thumbnail format. It has two options: thumbnail strip or grid. The gallery includes a responsive user interface which gives users the ability to navigate the images using keyboard, touch swipe or mouse in a circular manner.

      Exposing files in posts or pages is done through shortcode.

      To make it easier for content authors, CMSList+ adds shortcode buttons on the Text editor toolbar, which will inject the shortcode syntax at the text insertion point. And all you have to do is remove what you don’t need and supply it with information needed. See example here.

    • Task type
      A task type turns a post into a task item, where you can add ownership (from individuals having the role assigned to the task category), due date, progress status, task state, etc..

      Task type is still in development and is currently in beta stage. See example here.

    • Form type
      A form type is a subset of Task type, it provides a mechanism to capture and present custom data using custom forms. All this without the need to introduce custom taxonomies and post types.

      Custom forms can be created for bug reports, agenda, support calls, project tasks, meeting minutes, etc.. As of this writing, form type is in development and is currently in alpha stage.

  8. How do all these feature fit together?
    The main goal of CMSList+ is to “bring order into chaos” in data organization and file management. All the features mentioned above are the building blocks of the Dashboard — a command center, if you will.

    A dashboard is a CMSList+ page that includes one or more panels. Find out more about dashboards here.

  9. What are some of Zen’s WordPress behavioral enhancements?
    CMSList+ includes tiny tweaks or advance enhancements to improve basic WordPress operations. Some of these tweaks include:
    • CMS Attribution – is a general feature that gives you the ability to cite sources in a post. Sources are automatically appended to post as footnotes.

      Click on image to zoom.

      Aside from citing sources, CMS Attribution serves three purpose:

      • Cite sources of a post.
      • Assign external links for the Link type.
      • Enumerate links in panels.
    • Automatic category selection for new posts – when creating a new post from CMS List type category, the category is pre-selected in the post editor.

      Once initiated, the category will persist. So when you decide to add a another post in the same category, the category again is pre-selected. Freeing you from the task of searching and selecting the category you want for the post.

      This may sound trivial at first. But as your CMS grows, you may end up with hundreds of categories. This trivial task will become daunting, even if you use a third-party plugin to search categories, especially in a scenario where category names occur more than once but in different context.

    • Automatic category selection for sub-categories – a typical real-world taxonomy isn’t flat or linear, it’s an inverted tree. You may have a handful of root classifications that spreads to multiple sub-classifications. To make it easier to add sub-categories, CMSList+ adds a CAT+ button next to the post ADD button in the CMS List type interface.

      CAT+ is similar to ADD in that it pre-selects the category but this one if for a category’s parent category.

    • Category Return Button – CMSList+ adds a “Browse” box on top of the Categories list.
      The Browse box lists all the categories assigned to a post. Clicking on any of the category in the list will take you back to the CMS List type user interface.

      So for example, you’re in a Task view. Then you decided to add a new task. You click on the ADD button, taking you to the post edit page, where the category is already pre-selected. You save (Update) the new post. Then you click on the category listed in the Browse box taking you back to the Task view, which now will include your new task. How does this workflow sound?

    • Responsive loose image – CMS List file gallery look and feel are responsive. It gives users a full view of an image that will automatically adjust to their device viewport, even if they rotate their devices. This functionality is made available to “loose image” – that is, images that are part of a post but are not part of a file gallery. All an author has to do is add the class “cms-img” in the IMG class attribute and CMSList+ will do the rest.

      In fact, the image at the very top of this piece isn’t part of a CMSList+ gallery. It’s a content managed in the Media library, but it’s responsive. If you click on it, it will pop out in full view and the display will automatically adjust to your browser or mobile device orientation. That’s cmslist.

    • The CMSList+ Archive – is an optional feature that can be enabled or disabled from the CMS List settings. If enabled, it will replace the default Archive page. It includes an optional Category Navigator, which lists all the category in a tree structure. It’s initial depth can be manage from the CMS List settings.

      Click on the image to zoom.

      The categories, posts, and post counts follow the CMS List security policy. Which means, depending on the user’s role, they will see a different tree, category list, and monthly stats from other users with different roles.

      The Category Navigator is also the fastest way to find a category. Looking for a category could take as little as two key strokes in the “Search Category Navigator” input box.

      Click image to zoom.

      Imagine managing multiple projects using CMSList+, and you need to look for a group of tasks (classified in a category) for a particular team for a particular phase in that project. There is no OOTB facility to make this trivial effort easy. You can use the OOTB category list and hope you won’t lose your mind browsing through the long list of categories. Or, you can use Category Navigator and type a few keys. The choice is simple: go mad or type a few keys.

    • Category Return Options – in the category editor screens, a couple of return options are added under the Description field.

      Click on image to zoom.

      The CMS List will take you back to the category end-user screen. While the Post will take you to the post list for the category.

      And one more thing…

    • No Child Categories – when you open Posts / All Post it shows all the post for all the categories, as expected. When you click on a category, it will show all the post for that particular category, as expected. But when you have a multi-level category, WordPress will show all the posts for all the sub-categories of that parent category, not as expected. CMSList+ alters this behavior so you will only see the post of the category you picked, regardless if it has sub-categories or parent.

      Click on image to zoom.

      Again, these things may sound trivial at first. But when productivity is important, and your CMS is very active, these nuisance and unexpected behaviors can throw you off when you’re in your zone.

  10. Where can I download CMSList+?
    CMSList+ is currently in development. It’s not yet ready for prime-time. Although it’s already being used as a personal CMS for months, including this sandbox demo, it’s not yet available for general public distribution.
  11. I’m curious about Zen, how can I reach the developer?
    Send a note any time:

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