Author Topic: How to improve available menu options  (Read 3201 times)

Offline DCS

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How to improve available menu options
« on: May 26, 2017, 04:27:57 AM »
The menu block cannot be moved to header-bottom or anywhere else. 

The content menu block cannot be moved out of the footer.

The category menu block is the best looking menu, but inflexible in purpose. 

I need a simple and elegant site, with a clean design.  Abantecart is very busy, with many features that are not necessary for a simple elegant site.  In particular, the menu system seems quite inflexible.  I'd like a page-wide navbar below a simple clean header. 

I tried the following:
1 -turn off header menu block and footer content menu block, then re-purpose category menu block into a general purpose nav menu, but this apparently requires major code work. 

2 - turn off category menu block and move menu block into header_bottom, but this is not permitted.  Why not?  It would be so easy to allow header menu block to be placed below header, but no.  Is there a way to put this block into header_bottom?

3 - I tried same approach with moving "content" menu block from footer, but it cannot be moved and i can't even figure out how to edit it. 

Is there a way to achieve a simple navbar menu below the header?

I don't need a category menu navbar at all.  I placed a category listing block in content_bottom and put all 6 of my categories right on the home page.  Clean and simple. 

Now i just need a simple 4-item navbar below the header, that doesn't collapse on medium screens. 

Inflexibility is damn Frustrating.  I hate to abandon my efforts here, but joomla is really starting to call me back. 

BTW - I cloned a template extension, but it bothers me that the clone doesn't have all the core files necessary for customization, meaning that I may lose some changes each update?

Offline abolabo

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Re: How to improve available menu options
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2017, 09:49:51 AM »
look into database table block_templates. You can create your own tpl of menu block for some placeholder (parent_block_id) and put into it. It will allow to use menu block wherever you want on design-layout page
“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.”
― Charles Dickens

Offline DCS

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Re: How to improve available menu options
« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2017, 11:57:34 AM »
Thanks for the reply. 

Honestly, it didn't help me.  Not enough info.  I don't know what it means. 

Your answer was very similar to most other answers to questions about AC on this forum.  Too technical, not enough info. 

After a few weeks of intermittently playing with AC, here is my impression:

AC will never become a mainstream cart. 

In the e-commerce world, there are 1000 coders who build sites and sell sites. 
There are 1,000,000 non-coders who want to build a site. 

AC is not flexible or intuitive enough for a non-coder to customize a site to their liking.
The available tech-support does not help non-coders. 

Therefore your market is limited to 1000 users, instead of 1 million. 

The tech support is only for tech people.  Non-tech people cannot understand most of the responses given on this forum.

The AC manual suffers from the same problem as the T3 Framework manual: poor grammar and translation (this is deadly in technical writing), and an unwillingness to really spell out how to do things, with examples.  T3 has been working to overcome this issue. 

An interesting difference between joomla T3 and AC for site building is that the T3 framework is completely flexible, whereas some aspects of AC are pretty rigid. 

I think T3 Framework has less forum support than AC, but when you receive T3 forum support, the answer is usually something that a non-coder can understand.
I have advanced skills is some weird arenas (operation and interpretation of formation evaluation tools that use radioactive sources).  If I ever need to teach this technology to a newcomer, I know that I will be required to stoop way below my own technical skill level.  That's just how it is.  I know what that is like. 

So i understand that answering questions from non-tech people about your software can be tedious, but if you don't do a better job of it, then the only people who will ever use your cart are the tech people, and there are only 1000 of them. 

Using the manual and this forum, I cloned a template as an extension and created an AC site to customize.  So I'm not clueless.  But I can't reach my goals with AC.  Damn frustrating.  Too rigid.  Too busy.  Too AC.  Needs to be more customization-friendly.  Which means that non-tech people here need higher quality support responses than what you are giving. 

Unless of course you want to keep limiting your market only to the 1000 tech users. 

Last thing:
I've been intrigued by, and making use of, open source software for 8 years.  Yours is the first blatantly open attempt I ever seen to use OS software as a means to make money.  You ask for donations everywhere.  You find common problems with your software, then write extensions to fix the problems, then sell the extensions. 

You actually sell an extension for removing your own branding bit from the storefront.  For 15 fucking dollars!  Really? 

This isn't what open-source is about.  It violates the spirit and core of what OS is supposed to be. 

Right now, i really feel like you owe me money for spending so much time trying to wrench a simple e-commerce site out of your software. 

Offline eCommerce Core

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Re: How to improve available menu options
« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2017, 04:16:51 PM »
I agree with you, but disagree more.

There are 1,000,000 non-coders  and 90% of them refuse to read manuals and think they can build a site by clicking.
Not to mention that most of them want to build business for free and earn a lot of money.

I bet if we spend millions of dollars on application design (which we have do not have), and still offer free application, people will find things to complain about.

Do not forget, that this is open community project, rather than complain, make the difference.

Do we have areas for improvement? YES.
Do we value users' feedback and strive to improve? YES.
Will we ever be perfect for everyone? NOT POSSIBLE!

« Last Edit: May 26, 2017, 07:48:04 PM by eCommerce Core »
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Offline DCS

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Re: How to improve available menu options
« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2017, 12:30:50 PM »
This is the 1st line on
The Most Powerful eCommerce Platform to Sell anything-Our FREE shopping cart application is suitable for every business

This is the 2nd line:
You Can Sell on Your Existing Website Quick and Easy-It is as simple as copy and paste your products into your blog, article or any web page

This the 4th item in the content area:  t’s easy to learn and simple to use. There is no special training or knowledge required to start selling your products online using AbanteCart.  The voice controlled and easy-to-use intuitive interface makes your eCommerce management a breeze.

I did not read those items and believe them.  I knew better.  I already had experience with WP & joomla, enough to know that a custom look requires learning and using the software system. 

However, you complain that 90% of non-coders expect quick and easy site.  Why complain?  This is exactly what you advertise. 

You should change your face. 

Stop using the word 'free' in your advertising.  Don't use it anywhere.  Use the term 'Open Source' often enough, and explain one time in a central location that there is no financial cost associated with download, use, or update of the software.

"Abantecart is a fully responsive and highly capable e-commerce site building framework.  Advanced features include all cart functions plus user login, guest checkout, search, language selection, image management, product categorization, specials, featured products, new products, inventory tracking, sales tracking, seo optimization, site backup, list more features here until the list is huge. 
Abantecart has a user-friendly back-end interface that allows a quick and organized approach to stocking your store, setting up your storefront, and basic customizing of store appearance. 
New users should realistically expect to spend a few days reading the software manual and becoming familiar with the system before spending another few days building their first site.  Functional aspects of the site and cart are all readily available and simple to use within the admin backend interface. 
As with any other website building system, users who wish to significantly customize the standard site layouts to achieve unique appearance or layout should realistically expect to spend at least another week delving deeper into the code and css stylesheets. 
Our free support forum has a large and growing archive of user contributions from those who have succeeded in publishing e-commerce sites with Abantecart, and we look forward to seeing your contributions there as you learn Abantecart and build and publish your own site. "

I recommend something along the lines above. 

As stated before, I'm using the cloned template extension approach to customize a site.  The style is "elegant and simplified", very popular now among small shop owners with small inventory of products to sell. 

My site currently has categories arrayed on home page in content area.  i don't need category menu nav. 

My biggest issue right now:
How to get a small simple navbar menu located under the header.  The category menu has a great look: contrast color and pagewide. 
I need that, but in a simple navbar with menu to home, about, policy, contact. 

I plan to make the menu navbar scrolling-sticky: it locks at page top after header has scrolled up. 
I plan to introduce more media breakpoints, so that the menu does not collapse until small screen. 

In your system, collapse events begin to happen too soon.  Many things collapse at medium screen, which means that the majority of site users will never see the "full" look of your site.  Desktops are already the minority among online shoppers. 
Also - your collapse bar is the only aspect of your system that actually surprised me enough to comment about.  It is ugly.  Really ugly.  I'm surprised it wasn't fixed years ago.  The simple blue bar with hamburger, which is apparently despised by many, but also universally understood by users, is waaaaay better than your ugly skinny rectangle with "Click here" or whatever it says. 
Also, the logic behind what is contained in your collapse dropdowns is unclear. 
Your collapse dropdowns contain more links than the pre-collapse menu, which is scary and bewildering. 
This is one area that T3 was really really good at: a back-end menu page that lets the user specify exactly what goes into each menu, and which block to place the menu in, and how to customize the both the full and collapse menus.  There was no uncertainty. 
Side note: "Menus.  Huh.  So simple, and yet so critical to intuitive site design."

I'll be reading about custom blocks and custom menus this weekend, and try to sort this out.  Help me.  Links.  Tips.  How-to?

Once this "simple elegant" extension is done, I'll donate it to your directory.  You need some free extensions. 

Offline abantecart

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Re: How to improve available menu options
« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2017, 11:47:38 PM »
Thank you for your comments and suggestions.  We can run a separate discussion about it with appropriate title.

Focusing on your question in here.
My biggest issue right now:
How to get a small simple navbar menu located under the header.  The category menu has a great look: contrast color and pagewide. 
I need that, but in a simple navbar with menu to home, about, policy, contact. 

I plan to make the menu navbar scrolling-sticky: it locks at page top after header has scrolled up. 
I plan to introduce more media breakpoints, so that the menu does not collapse until small screen. 

I see that menu can not be assigned to header bottom. This is probably, because it was never designed to be there.
We did not yet create styling for every single HTML element to be located in any possible place. This requires a lot of work and testing.
There is a lot flexibility for template developers to do that though.
You can enable menu on the header bottom,  you need to do the following steps

1. Insert new row into your database. Run below SQL
Code: [Select]
INSERT INTO `abc_block_templates` (`block_id`, `parent_block_id`, `template`, `date_added`) VALUES
(27, 2, 'blocks/menu.tpl', now());
NOTE: Change abc_ to your own prefix

2. Clear cache.

3. Assign menu to header bottom for the desired layout.

NOTE: It will not look the way you expect, as it was not designed to be there. It was design to be on a right or left side. You can work with CSS to give it a desired look.

I tried it, so you can see attache images how it will look

I will add this on to do list to make menu work in any location.
« Last Edit: May 27, 2017, 11:49:13 PM by abantecart »
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Offline DCS

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Re: How to improve available menu options
« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2017, 05:21:03 PM »
Thanks, this works! 

The Menu block can now be dragged to header_bottom.  As you said, I will now have to do some styling to get a single-row horizontal navbar. 

Here is a step-by-step for future non-tech readers (like me) who may wish to try this (assuming xampp or similar virtual server on local dev machine):

The goal was to allow the "menu" navbar to be dragged to the header_bottom section of a layout, to allow creation of a simple navbar in the same location that the default categories navbar normally sits. 

Open phpMyAdmin.
On the left-side menu, click your site database name. 
Click the item yourprefix_block_templates.
Click the SQL button.
Click the Insert button. 

This will open a data-entry window for inserting a new line within the database table. 
A new insert command will be pre-formatted for you. 
You will notice that the command has 5 elements:
INSERT INTO `prefix_block_templates` (`block_id`, `parent_block_id`, `template`, `date_added`,`date_modified`)
followed by 5 value positions:
VALUES ([value-1],[value-2],[value-3],[value-4],[value-5]).

Following AC's instructions, I edited this line to insert the values he provided, and i also simply deleted the 5th element. 
Pay close attention to syntax.  Use the single-quote button instead of the back-tick button on your keyboard, or else it won't work.
Remove the brackets for each value.

Here is the exact content I placed into the data entry window:
INSERT INTO `prefix_block_templates` (`block_id`, `parent_block_id`, `template`, `date_added`) VALUES (27, 2, 'blocks/menu.tpl', now())

I did not use a semicolon at the end of the command because the preformatted line did not have one. 

If you don't see a preformatted line when you click the insert button, just type this command by hand.  The only change you need to make is to replace prefix with your actual database prefix. 

When you get the line entered correctly, click the Go button on the lower right.  If you have a syntax error, you will get a message to that effect.  If there are no syntax errors, then you you'll get a success message, and the job is done. 

What you have accomplished: insert the specified line into the _block_templates table, which will then allow a raw unstyled "menu" block to be dragged or placed into header_bottom section of a page layout. 

Open Design>Layouts - place the menu block into header_bottom, clear cache, and check your page. 

Then start styling the new menu with CSS.  That's my next step, later tonight or tomorrow. 

Thanks AC. 


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