Module Recycle Bin

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10/26/2010 5:07:01 PM
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Module Recycle Bin

I've mentioned this before but didn't get any responses to the feature idea/request. I think it's an extremely important feature so I'll explain it again and see if there's any interest. Almost all other big player CMS systems have this type of feature.

A module recycle bin.

I often have clients who don't fully understand how to add/delete pages, change module and page titles, etc. It's a tad confusing until you understand the concept of a page that contains modules and that a "title" could be in different places.

Getting off subject a little, but what sometimes happens during that client confusion is that they will delete a page or module from the page in order to change the "title" for example. Of course removing a module and re-adding it with a new name effectively deletes the content that was in that module. I've had clients delete modules/pages that had a ton of very complex formatting and rebuilding the page content wasted a LOT of time.

It would be AMAZING if mojoPortal included an option to save all deleted (HTML Content) modules with an option to view what has been deleted and possibly restore it to a page.

FEATURE DETAILS:

  • I was thinking it's a site-by-site setting as to whether HTML modules are archived when deleted, or permanently deleted.
  • There could be a new link/page (with permission options) that would take users to a page listing all the HTML modules that have been deleted (date/time stamped) with an option to preview the content from the module.
  • The user could then choose to restore the module to a page (any page, as selected from the treeview of pages). The module could simply be added to the "center" panel at the bottom of any other existing modules on the page (for simplicity). The user could then move the modules around as desired through the normal options.
  • I'd assume the deleted HTML modules would move off to another table in the database for storage. When a module is then restored to a page it's deleted from the module "recycle bin" and inserted into the CMS as a normal module.

Any ideas or thoughts? I've had many people delete pages/modules on accident and there's no way to really get that content back. The content versioning is GREAT, but it doesn't help if the module is deleted.

If the above is more difficult than it sounds I would be thrilled with nothing more than having the deleted HTML modules (with their content) go into a holding database table. This way when I get a frantic client call I can go into the database, copy the HTML from the field and paste it back on their web site (saving the day). This alone would be a life-saver, the GUI interface and ability for end users to restore their own modules would just be icing on the cake.

I could make a small donation to have this features, if others did the same maybe it could become a reality.

10/26/2010 6:54:55 PM
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Re: Module Recycle Bin

Hi,

I think by adding a field (i.e Isdeleted ) to the mp_PageModules table , and  a setting in site level or page level, and change module deletion so that check deletion setting and set Isdeleted field to true if user remove a module instance from a page, we can have this feature in theAdministration->Content Managment menu. I the content management menu  we can list all contents (deleted and lived instances) by indicating deleted with a special color.We currently  have module instance preview, so by adding a restore button to it, we can set Isdeleted field to false the mp_PageModules table. A pure button may be needs to clear trash. I hope Joe have time to provider a better idea.

Best,

Asad

10/27/2010 7:13:19 AM
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Re: Module Recycle Bin

Hi,

First I'd like to point out that removing a feature instance from a page does not delete it and creating a new instance with the same name also does not delete the original one. There are only 2 places where a content instance can really be deleted, one is using the delete button at the bottom of the feature settings page, and the other is from Content Manager (which is only available to admins and content admins roles).

So really the only place non admin users can delete a feature instance is from the feature settings (ModuleSettings.aspx) page. We could easily add config setting so that the delete button there is only available to admins as well.

If the content instance has not been deleted, it can be restored to the page (or any page) from Content Manager by and admin or content admin user.

Handling deleted pages is a bit more problematic. Any solution has to consider what to do in terms of the friendly url. If we don't actually delete it then we cannot re-use the url.

Keep in mind that deleting a page does not delete the content instances on the page because they may be used also on other pages, so again the content of the page is not lost by deleting the page, it can be recovered from Content Manager.

Best,

Joe

10/27/2010 8:39:57 AM
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Re: Module Recycle Bin

That's interesting to know that removing a module from a page via "edit this" page doesn't actually delete the module, and also that deleting a page doesn't delete the modules on that page. I can imagine how many orphaned modules there must be in the database as a result. People wouldn't think they'd have to delete modules on a page through settings first before deleting a page in order to truly delete the module.

Any ideas on a way to manage the orphaned modules? Maybe the content manager just needs a few sorting options to find modules a little easier? It can be hard to find a module on large sites since many have the same name. I like to keep a tidy site, so this may be one area to put some ideas together for.

On the idea about applying permissions to the module settings "delete" button, what if we instead called that button "remove" for content authors and all that would do is remove the module from the page in the same was as removing it from the "edit this page" area? For admins you could have a remove and a delete button - for ultimate control.

This sounds like we're on the right track and it's slick that modules are already not being deleted. The main concern then is finding these orphaned modules on sites with hundreds of pages (like a few of my sites). I can see some challenges there as well since modules can be hard coded into the layout.master which I often do, so you couldn't exactly run a check and display only modules that are not associated with pages as the hard coded modules would show up. But maybe there's a creative solution for that as well, or just a note in red that this small gotcha may exist in the list of orphaned modules (I will call it recycle bin).

Good discussion, thanks all.

10/27/2010 8:58:37 AM
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Total Posts 18439

Re: Module Recycle Bin

If you look in Content Manager you will see that each feature instance has a number next to it indicating how many pages it is used on, so unused content is easy to find and delete because they have 0 next to them. However, be aware that if you are using some instance on all pages like using modulewrapper in the layout.master file, that does not get counted as a page (content manager has no knowledge of it) so a content instance used that way may show it is used on 0 pages in content manager but is really used on all pages used by the skin.

For now I will add a simple config setting for the next release, so you could ad this to user.config 

<add key="HideModuleSettingsDeleteButtonFromNonAdmins" value="true" />

which will hide the delete button from users who are not admins or content admins.

Normal users can still remove it from PageLayout.aspx and that seems most natural since that is where they add things to a page. I'm less inclined to add a remove button to ModuleSettings.aspx since that controls settings on the content instance regardless of whether the instance is on a page or multiple pages or no pages. So the scope of ModuleSettings.aspx is not limited to the current page, it is scoped at the module instance. I don't rule out ever adding a remove button there but I think it is not really needed and confuses the scope of what is being edited because modulesettings.aspx is about the module not about the page and mixing the two blurs that distinction.

Best,

Joe

10/28/2010 3:06:17 PM
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Total Posts 195

Re: Module Recycle Bin

Hi Joe, thanks for your responsiveness to the community as usual!

I think your idea is a pretty good workaround. I like the idea of not allowing content authors the ability to permanently delete a module from the module settings area.

And from what I understand here is that deleting/removing a module from the pagelayout.aspx module placement page doesn't really delete the module, just clears it from the page only. This is not something I realized before and in effect does keep the content safe from accidental deletion. I'm now thinking I could have saved significant time recreating content in the past had I know this little detail (that content still existed) lol.

Maybe for a rainy day feature addition there could be a filtering option on the contentcatalog.aspx page that allows the admin to filter for modules that are orphans (0) instances on a page? This would in effect serve as a recycle bin view and allow a little faster recovery in case a end user accidentally removes the module from a page while dorking around (as users tend to do)?

Thanks again, a good solution was discovered here.

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