Categorical Denial

My main project these days is updating a CMS that was first coded back around 2003.  There have been updates in the intervening years, but much of the original logic/code remains the same.  And it’s quite good- it just needs updating (after so much time, anything would).  And it’s going to be a big project.

There was a feature that was intended but never implemented.  Each menu item was supposed to display (to the admin only) its destination info: link to a pdf, page, other feature, etc.  For about 10 years, instead of the actual info, admins would just see “menu item properties go here” next to each of their menu items.

When I took over back in Dec. 2014, it wasn’t high on my list of upgrades, but I added it to the latest cycle of ‘minor fixes’.  Now I have an idea of why it was never implemented.  Most of it was easy- just get the destination url from the database and find out what kind of screen it links to (page within the system- get the name, feature within the system- get the title, external website- get the url, etc).  However, the admin has the option to link to specific categories within each feature, and that’s where the trouble started.  The category sorting logic was added after the initial system was set up, and for some reason, didn’t follow the same structure as the rest of the system.  I’m sure there was a good reason for this at the time, but the end result was me spending about 30-45 minutes getting the feature 90% done, and then spending 3-4 hours crawling to the finish line, banging my head on my desk all the way in.

It’s done, and it works.  Is it pretty?  I don’t think so.  Is it fast?  Probably not, but it will have to do for now.  There’s a little issue with Google and search ranking and mobile friendliness that needs looking into…


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