Brand new wide categories page

(Sam Saffron) #1

Our current categories page does not scale that well to large amounts of categories. On a personal note I do not use it.

I find myself using all the other tabs, but not it. It has a bunch of issues at scale:

  1. It displays too much information, you need to do a lot of scrolling to figure out what is going on.
  2. I find the double column thing confusing
  3. I find it is missing a bunch of important information (how many unread/new topics do I have? who last posted? (which can be hidden by pins)
  4. It lacks stable ordering

So we set out to make a new categories page that is more “traditional” which will set the stage for subcategories and large scale forums.

To enable, tick enable_wide_category_list

I went ahead and enabled this on meta so we can all try it out:

This work is still unfinished, but its a reasonable first pass.

On my TODO

  1. When clicking on “unread” or “new” count it should take you to /category/my_category/new which filters down to new in that category.
  2. Implement an optional “fixed ordering” for categories
  3. Make categories better “first class citizens”, when drilling to a category all top menu items should be filtered down.
  4. “Uncategorized” is an internal mess, force all uncategorized topics into an “uncategorized” proper category.


Mockup for re-designed Categories page
(Josh) #2

Big improvement! Now we need to (finally) add descriptions for our categories. Any idea why our ‘Gaming’ category isn’t showing the last topic?

(Sam Saffron) #3

looks fine now, I suspect it was a temporary post upgrade state, we had to add a new column to track this.

(Мария Сергеева) #4

It is really much better now than before. I think category page is also a natural place to put controls of category preferences like mute, watch, etc. For example, there can be an additional column with some kind of tracking buttons.

(Sam Saffron) #5

FYI, you can now set ordering on the categories page, see instruction here.

(Hrishikesh Thakre) #7

I am not sure, I got the reasons and benefits of new flat categories page. It removes two column clutter but beyond that. I am not getting it. Who is the intended user for the categories page and whom these changes are targeted for regular user, or new visitor to a forum?

The way I look at it, New user who lands on categories page, sees much lesser information than before.

For regular user, i got the number of new and unread topics but I need to navigate back and forth between the page to go through them. Before at-least i could see 4-5 topics per category and decide which one to read directly, now it means extra clicks and naviagation.

If there is an expandable / collapsible view for each category it will be a big advantage. I don’t need to navigate much then and I can directly go to the topic of interest.

(Jeff Atwood) #8

This particular version of /categories is for forums that have 60+ to hundreds of categories. See here. It might also be more relevant once we get subcategories going, we’re not entirely sure at this point, but for sure it matters for forums with many top level categories.

On a typical small to medium forum with maybe 20 categories I don’t think you would need this wide version of the categories page. Think of it as a M, L, XL type of arrangement where the wide layout is XL and beyond – and note that you can turn down the number of topics shown per-category on the “regular” categories page from the default of 6 to get a denser view.

(Мария Сергеева) #9

In mobile view category tag and user icons overlap. It looks strange. Either they should be in one line or some space between tag and icons should be added.

(Hrishikesh Thakre) #10

I am on couple of versions back in my instance of discourse, and needs to go for upgrade, but will i get the old categories page back or that is obsolete now?

Being a very small forum, I don’t need wide version of the categories page and wants to continue with older format, is it possible?

(Sam Saffron) #11

The default is the two column categories page, we have not plans of changing this default, especially when category count is low.

(Hrishikesh Thakre) #12

I just migrated to latest and I am getting wide categories page on my forum. I am also not getting the setting to reset it back. Can someone help.

I am also missing Top" tab in my install.

(Kane York) #13

The two-column category page was removed quite a while ago. Why haven’t you been keeping your install up to date?

To have a “Top” tab, you want to edit the top_menu admin setting and add |top to the end.

(Ioann) #14

When i did it, TOP becomes my main page =/ I want to:

  1. Leave Latest as main page
  2. In the TOP list make daily sort by default.

(Régis Hanol) #15

When you add the top page to the top_menu we’ll automatically switch your homepage to top if you meet either one of the following requirements:

  • You’re a new user (ie. trust level = 0)
  • We haven’t seen you in a while (ie. more than 30 days).

We even display a message explaining why you’ve been redirected to the top page :wink:

The default top page summary is dynamic and will only display the best timeframe which is derived from your last visit:

  • If you’re on the site every day, it will always show today’s top.
  • If you’ve been away for more than 8 days, it will show this week’s top.
  • If you’ve been away for more than 35 days, it will show this month’s top.
  • If you’ve been away for more than 180 days, it will show this year’s top.

(Hrishikesh Thakre) #16

You are sure about this? Because this is what @sam sam has to say and @codinghorror has to say when I asked last.

(Sam Saffron) #17

Yes I am sure about this, we retired the 2 column layout, it is deprecated.

(Hrishikesh Thakre) #18

Hmm… You broke my Heart. :cry:

Do you see the wide category good for small forums also, what is your reasoning behind this thinking. If you could please explain.

I am Ok with the changes but would have loved the old format.

(Jeff Atwood) #19

We eventually decided to have one page rather than two. The wide /categories layout was made flexible enough that it could perform the same function (e.g. show enough topics and stats) to replace the 2 column /categories layout.

Sorry for any confusion, but would rather have a few core pages that are verified awesome rather than a bunch of “extra” “optional” pages that we don’t test enough and eventually get buggy and broken.

(Kevin Balla) #20

Guys - am I crazy? I can’t find this option in my Admin Settings on Discourse. I have the latest forum update installed. Where can I find this checkbox?

(Kevin Balla) #21

Oh never mind just read codinghorror’s post about having one page rather than two

Is there still functionality in Discourse to set the order in which Categories appear?