Fred van Dijk: collective.collectionfilter as a Light-weight Faceted Navigation or a 'compare' Console

published Dec 07, 2020

Talk at Plone Conference 2020

I want to talk about some categorisation and classification options in Plone, next to the folder structure.

Faceted navigation: drill down on 'facets' when you search for items. It was popularized by online shopping. Facets in Plone for developers is: whatever is in the ZCatalog, and for users: what you can search on in Collections. Gold standard is eea.facetednavigation, developed for the European Environment Agency. Examples: EEA, and on two sites by Zest: Vaquums and Minaraad, where it replaces the standard search.

collective.collectionfilter is a much leaner, meaner, but also more limited version of faceted navigation. Demo with standard Plone News Items with some tags (also known as categories, also known as Subject). Add a Collection that filters on News Items. Now add collection filter portlets.

eea.facetednavigation takes over your complete page. In an action you enable or disable it.

Now a demo of collectionfilter in SGBP, a documentation website for water management planning in Belgium/Flanders. The customer wanted to take some graphs and compare them. We did that with collectionfilter and collective.classifiers. With the last one we added structured categories: one for water basins and one for parameters of the graphs. Now we use collectionfilter to query a parameter and show the graphs for all water basins.

You can adapt several things in the collectionfilter UI, for example change how search options are displayed. This is documented, but took me a while to get right.

Collectionfilter also works with Mosaic, because the portlets are also mapped to tiles.