[Framework-Team] Re: [Plone-developers] moving description to aviewlet

Jon Stahl jon at onenw.org
Tue May 20 04:53:03 UTC 2008

Danny Bloemendaal wrote:
> On 18 mei 2008, at 18:37, Martin Aspeli wrote:
> >
> >>> An object's description is intimately tied to its schema. A 
> >>> "description renderer" probably isn't a useful concept on its own. 
> >>> The decision on whether and how to render the description is part 
> >>> of the view logic of the object in question and should thus, IMHO, 
> >>> remain closely linked into the view template, not indirected away 
> >>> to a place where it's harder to manipulate.
> >> I just feel that the description is not part of the content. It is
> >> metadata: it describes what the object is about. As such it does not
> >> have business appearing in view templates, especially not in the way
> >> it does now. That is a mistake Plone made long ago, and something we
> >> should fix at some point.
> >
> Yes, it was a bad choice to tie the description to the content back in 
> the days. The problem started with placing the description widget at 
> the top of the edit form while it should be at the bottom. After all, 
> it is just before you save, you have to think of one or two sentences 
> to describe WHAT the object is about for when people search for that 
> item and see it in the listing. By placing it at the top, people 
> always assume it is a lead in. Bad choice. Especially when people use 
> it as a lead-in. Lead-ins are usually bad for search overviews. It 
> hardly ever describes what the item is about.
> > I think with a bit more discussion and input, we could arrive at 
> > this conclusion and consider a policy switch, but I think for 3.x 
> > the ship's sailed. For a lot of people, the way that Description is 
> > being used in views makes it a de-facto part of the "content" schema 
> > (rather than the "metadata" schema) and so something that users very 
> > much think of as a "lead-in" just as much as an abstract 
> > "description for independent listings". We can't ignore that sunk 
> > assumption either.
> >
> If people want a teaser or a lead-in, then the best way would be to 
> add such a field. Then it's part of the content, can be placed on top 
> of the edit form, just before the body (it's a lead-in after all). But 
> I agree that the impact is maybe a bit too large.
> <http://lists.plone.org/mailman/listinfo/framework-team>
An interesting conversation, thanks for surfacing an issue that's nagged 
at the back of my head for a while.  I agree that right now the question 
of "is Description only metadata or both visible content and metadata?" 
is a bit ambiguous.  People are clearly using it as both right now, and 
that is a source of pain & confusion.

I agree that we should have a stronger opinion about this in Plone 4.0.  
Personally, I lean towards making it pure-metatadat and adding a 
"lead-in" content field.

But... that leaves a migration issue, and here's what I'm wondering:

Would it be possible to provide some sort of decision point in the 
migration (say from 3.x to 4.0) where the user gets a choice about 
whether to copy the contents of the existing "Description" fields to the 
new "Lead-in" fields if they were using Descriptions as human-readable 
info?  This might allow us to reduce the pain of having a strong opinion.


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