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Virtual Parents


Robin S
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Some introduction...

This module is experimental and there are probably bugs - so treat it as alpha and don't use it on production websites.

I started on this module because there have been quite a few requests for "fake" or "invisible" parent functionality and I was curious about what is possible given that the idea sort of goes against the PW page structure philosophy. I'm not sure that I will use this module myself, just because I don't really see a long list of pages under Home (or anywhere else) as untidy or cluttered. I would tend to use Lister Pro when I want to see some set of pages as a self-contained group. But maybe others will find it useful.

At the moment this module does not manipulate the breadcrumb menu in admin. So when you are editing or adding a virtual child the real location of the page is revealed in the breadcrumb menu. That's because I don't see the point in trying to comprehensively fool users about the real location of pages - I think it's better that they have some understanding of where the pages really are. But I'm open to feedback on this and it is possible to alter the breadcrumbs if there's a consensus that it would be better that way.

 

Virtual Parents

Allows pages in Page List to be grouped under a virtual parent.

This module manipulates the page list and the flyout tree menu to make it appear that one or more pages are children of another page when in fact they are siblings of that page.

Why would you do that instead of actually putting the child pages inside the parent? Mainly if you want to avoid adding the parent name as part of the URL. For example, suppose you have some pages that you want to be accessed at URLs directly off the site root: yourdomain.com/some-page/. But in the page list you want them to be appear under a parent for the sake of visual grouping or to declutter the page list under Home.

Example of how the page structure actually is

Before

Example of how the page structure appears with Virtual Parents activated

After

How it works

This module identifies the virtual parents and virtual children by way of template. You define a single template as the virtual parent template and one or more templates as the virtual child templates. Anytime pages using the child template(s) are siblings of a page using the parent template, those child pages will appear as children of the virtual parent in the page list and tree menu.

You will want to create dedicated templates for identifying virtual parents and virtual children and reserve them just for use with this module.

Features

  • Adjusts both page list and tree flyout menu to show the virtual parent/child structure, including the count of child pages.
  • Works everywhere page list is used: Page List Select / Page List Select Multiple (and therefore CKEditor link dialog).
  • Intercepts the "Add page" process in admin, so that when an attempt is made to add a child to a virtual parent, the child is added where it belongs (the next level up) and the template selection is limited to virtual child templates.
  • Intercepts moving and sorting pages in the page list, to ensure only virtual children may be moved/sorted under the virtual parent.
  • Superusers have a toggle switch at the bottom of the page list to easily disable/enable Virtual Parents in order to get a view of what the real page structure is.

Usage

Install the Virtual Parents module.

In the module config, enter pairs of parent/child template names in the form virtual_parent_template=virtual_child_template. If needed you can specify multiple pipe-separated child templates: virtual_parent_template=child_template_1|child_template_2. One pair of template names per line.

There is a checkbox in the module config to toggle Virtual Pages on and off, but it's more convenient to use this from the page list.

Notes

It's important to keep in mind the real location of the virtual child pages. This module is only concerned with adjusting the appearance of page list and tree menu for the sake of visual grouping and tidiness. In all other respects the virtual children are not children of the virtual parent at all.

It's recommended to select an icon for the virtual parent template (Advanced tab) so virtual parents are marked out in the page list as being different from normal parent pages.

Do not place real children under a virtual parent. There is some protection against this when moving pages in the page list, but when it comes to changing a page's parent via the Settings tab the only protection is common sense.

 

https://github.com/Toutouwai/VirtualParents

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Very useful if you want to create automatic breadcrumbs via a function. I had this problem by creating child pages under a parent that should not be displayed via a real URL. The parent was only to categorize the content. But in the breadcrumbs it was displayed. In my case I solved it by categorize the children via different templates, but if you have only one template for the children, this solution will not work any longer.

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  • 7 months later...

Awesome idea but doesn't work for me (PW 3.0.102). Once configured and activated:

  • all pages but the virtrual parent are hidden from the tree
  • the parent page's name in the tree goes invisible (the number of virtual children does show)
  • when opening the virtual parent to view the children, a copy of the initial tree is rendered, with just the virtual parent shown.
  • this can be done ad infinitum

See the image below where I tried to move 64 blog posts into a virtual "Blog" Parent:

463201204_PagesProcessWirechdovs.jpg.bf29059449478a2c97dca3cbc3ca45b3.jpg

 

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@OviS, I just tested the module in PW 3.0.104 and it is working fine.

I think perhaps you have something configured wrong - double check that you are using the format virtual_parent_template=virtual_child_template in the module config and that both your virtual parent page and your virtual child pages are at the same level in the tree when the module is disabled.

Virtual Parents disabled:

2018-06-13_110756.png.431288204ef15d480ee12266e77e81c2.png

Virtual Parents enabled:

2018-06-13_110819.png.b6778deaa39ed61a9728e4c0a4c52404.png

Or else perhaps another module or custom hook is interfering with the Virtual Parents module? You could test the module on a clean PW installation and see if you still have the same issue.

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@Robin S I finally found out what  was breaking your (awesome) module - it was another module, of course, and one of yours too 😁

Specifically, it was Batcher (https://github.com/Toutouwai/ProcessBatcher)

I'm converting a WP website and was using https://github.com/adrianbj/ProcessMigrator and https://github.com/nicoknoll/MigratorWordpress to import the pages from WP.

The client insisted to maintain the URL structure of website.com/blog-post-here/ - hence the need for Virtual Parents to keep the page tree tidy. That's where I used Batcher to move the pages from their imported parent  to the root of the website. After doing that, Virtual Parents broke.

I restored a backup and tried again -  this time moving the pages manually and Virtual Parents kept working fine!

What I suspect the problem is:

When trying to move the imported blog-posts manually, I noticed they were set up to have only one allowed parent - the blog-posts page (also created during the import).

So basically, using Batcher, I was able to change the parent of pages to one that was not allowed through their template config.

Not 100% that is was what was breaking Virtual Parents, but one definitely shouldn't be able to move pages with Batchers where they're not allowed to live.

Thanks for all your great work!

 

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12 hours ago, OviS said:

it was another module, of course, and one of yours too 😁

Specifically, it was Batcher

Batcher is actually @Wanze's module - I just forked it to fix a couple of PW3 compatibility issues.

 

12 hours ago, OviS said:

this time moving the pages manually and Virtual Parents kept working fine!

Glad to hear that it's working for you now.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Just ran across another issue with the module:

When active, it seems to be limiting the number of pages displayed in the page tree to 11 children of the Home Page (of which one is the virtual parent).

How to reproduce:

  1. on a clean install of PW 3.0.98,  install and configure Virtual Parents as usual - for example virtual-parent-page=virtual-child-page;
  2. create 1 page under Home with the "virtual-parent-page" template ;
  3. create some pages under Home that have the "virtual-child-page" template for that Virtual Parent - they will be correctly moved under the Virtual Parent page;
  4. create some more pages under Home with "basic-page" template (not configured in Virtual Parents Module), so that they show alongside  the Virtual Parent Page in the tree, until you have a total of 11 children of "Home" showing in the tree -  so far so good;
  5. create 1 more page under Home, with the "basic-page" template, name it something special, like "Important page";
  6. the new page will not appear in the tree.
  7. if you turn off virtual folders and manually sort the new page to the top, it will show, but another page will be hidden (the one at the bottom of the tree) when turning Virtual Parents back on. 
  8. if you keep creating new pages under "Home" they will not be shown in the tree.
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@Robin S Thanks for the fix! working now, but I just found another bug in 0.1.1: the virtual parent stops working if it's the 1st page in the tree (first one under Home). Otherwise, if it's 2nd or more (or "lower" in the display tree) it works perfectly.

With a clean setup  of PW 3.0.98 and virtual parents, with a structure like this, everything works fine:

Home
|
- Basic Page
|
- Virtual Parent
  |
   - Virtual Child 1
  |
  - Virtual Child 2

But move Virtual Parent to be the 1st child of Home, and Virtual Parent shows no children:

Home
|
- Virtual Parent (no children - no downward arrow, no number of children digit, no expansion on click interaction)
|
- Basic Page

Move it back to be the 2nd, and it works again 🙂 

Edit for clarity: the Virtual Parent doesn't have to be manually moved to be the first child of Home, after being configured as the Virtual Parent for this behavior to happen. If the Virtual Parent page is already the 1st child of Home before the config is applied in the Virtual Parents Module, the bug still happens - and one gets the impression that the module doesn't work at all, which was very confusing 🙂

Edited by OviS
added clarifications at the end
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