Block Choosers, Configuration Blocks, Metadata Sets, Indexing, and XSLT


A configuration can be used in two totally unrelated ways: to control output formats and publishing, and to bundle up blocks in regions. Controlling file extensions and publishing is global in the sense that it is independent from sites. Bundling up blocks in regions, however, is site-specific, especially when these bundles of blocks contain site-specific information. Mixing the two means that we will have site-specific configuration sets and content types, possibly thousands of them. Then controlling output formats and publishing can become a nightmare. The alternative is to use configurations only for controlling output formats and publishing, and to store site-specific information in blocks without plugging them into regions. These blocks can be bundled up in configuration blocks using block choosers. Configuration blocks are not plugged into regions. Instead, an index block is used to pick up the information stored in configuration blocks. The formatted data is stored in a region named STORAGE. When a page is rendered, a template-level format written in XSLT will be used to redistribute the stored information to the relevant div elements. Metadata sets associated with blocks can be used for displaying and styling purposes. In this way, we can build hundreds of sites using only a few templates, configuration sets, and content types.

Wing Ming Chan

Wing Ming Chan

Web Programmer
SUNY Upstate Medical University
http://www.upstate.edu/

Wing has a PhD degree in linguistics and an MS degree in computer science, besides an MA degree in Chinese. He loves programming, and spends a lot of time doing that as a hobby. He also loves classical music, operas, and ballets. He is happily married and has two dogs.