Administrator Help - RC v3.3
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 Chapter - 2.3 Options Builder & Adv. Search

Options Builder is the page which allows you to customize your options Drop-Down lists (option sets). There are some default options come with the package (such as yes/no, US states, List of Countries... etc). All options - default and those you build at this page would immediately appear by the individual optional fields selector at Categories Administration page.

At the Options Builder page you presented with 2 columns at the top. First is the name of the option set and the second is the list of values for the currently selected option. While you select options at the left column, the values on the right are changed with respect to the selected option set. The actual appearance of the selected option is always displayed under "Selected Option Preview:" tab, so you have a pretty good idea how exactly the selector would appear to the customer at the ad post page. You may sort the order of values with up/down arrow buttons as well as move selecte option to the top or bottom of the list.. Once desired order is established, click "Save Order" orange button to save the option set values to database. Following additional Sort Options are available:

SNA - Sort Numerically Ascending

SAA - Sort Alphabetically Ascending

SAD - Sort Alphabetically Descending

SND - Sort Numerically Descending

The "Remove" button would remove selected value from the list and the "Delete" button would toss out the entire Options set from the list. The "add" would add a new value to the list and "modify" would allow to change the selected value respectively.

There are few different option types can be created. The option type would affect the option set appearance and behavior throughout the board.

You may have One (1) blank value within your values list. Blank value means if client selected this value from the option set it would be equal to "not selected" and this option will not be displayed anywhere on the board for that particular ad. To create a blank value check "blank" check box while adding a new option to the list. Name the value like - "not specified", "not selected", "leave blank".. etc. The blank value marked with red color within the values list. Blank value would also help to create a check box effect (not the check box itself). Having one valid value and one blank value in the options list would force your client to select... or not to select this option - leaving it blank. If you need to change the status of the blank value and make it a regular value you need to remove it and recreate or add another blank value which would reset the "blank" status of the existed blank value.

There are situation when you would like to allow for the client to specify their own values in place of the preset values from Drop-Down list. In such a case, while the target option is selected, check the "Allow Custom Override" box, specify prompt text and push the "Set Custom" button. The result of this action can be seen immediately under the "Selected Option Preview:" tab. Client can select preset values as well as type his/her own by selecting the check box next to the list. The check box is a trigger which disables/enables Drop-Down options list and Custom prompt.

You can effectively convert any list to a "hidden" list by clicking "Hide" button (Note: If the option list is set as a range option set, it cannot be hidden and vice versa.). Hidden list would appear at the ad post page for the user to fill out, will not appear anywhere on the board except for the Advanced search (if the optional field to which this options set is bound is also selected to be searched.

Why would you need a hidden list? Hidden list would help you to make some of the other fields searchable. If for instance you have a "Price" field, which is a regular text input. People can enter practically anything there beside the actual price. Like "$20 - can negotiate". If you allow client to do so, the price field cannot be made searchable. Otherwise the search result may not be accurate as expected. In addition to the price you may add a second filed like "Price Range", make it a Drop Down "Hidden" list with preset price range values and make it searchable. Client would fill both "price" and "price range". The "price" would be displayed at the ad view page, the "price range" would not. But in turn the "price range" would appear within Advanced Search making certain that this ad can be searched within the decided price range. The disadvantage of this method is that you would have to create a number of hidden selectors if the sale items on your board are greatly varies in price range from one to another. For instance you cannot use the same range selector in Automobiles and Home Appliances categories. The other method of creating a "certain" searchable options list is to create a "Range Option Set"

You can create an Actual Range Option Set for Advanced Search on the fly. The range option set would consist of Two (2) Drop-Down lists of the same kind at the Advanced Search page but the order of the second box values will be reverted. Range option values can only be a numeric values!. During the Ad Post client selects a value from the Option List (Age for instance). While at the Advanced Search, this optional field would appear as a range so that people can search only for the desired Age range!

Furthermore, is you check "Search only" (after you have created a search range), client would be prompted with a regular text box at the ad post page but this box is number enforced. Client can only enter a number here (checked at submit). This gives a bit more flexibility to the client and make it searchable via create range. Just make sure to create a suitable range for a specific category and option.

At the bottom of the page, there is a section for creating new options set - pretty much self-explanatory. You may create an option set with multiple values from a gathered external text at once by checking "create by entering a text" box. Make sure to have one value per line.

As with categories, the Options set can be bound to option fields for user accounts (user registration form). Exactly the same rules apply to those options except for one difference -"Hidden" options cannot be bound to user fields. User fields build the same was as category optional fields only though Admin Preferences page.

Option Set can be presented in a form of Radio Button by checking the Make Radio Button box and clicking Set Radio button. Optionally check Align Vertically to display buttons vertically. There are some limitations apply to Radio Buttons:

1. No Radio Buttons would be presented on anAdvanced Search Page (even if the option set is converted to Radio). Radio buttons are only for Ads Posting page and User Registration.

2. Hidden option set cannot be made a Radio Button.

3. Avoid converting option set with Custom Override to a Radio button. Although no harm would be done, the radio button would not present a text box with custom override.

The option set converted to Radio Button would have a (Radio - btn.) textual identification on a preview within Category Administration and Admin Preferences pages, but displayed as a regular drop-down.

This feature would build options list from "live" ads data at the advanced search page. The idea is to display options (for specific options set), which were selected in one or mode ads for the respective optional field and disregards the rest, which were not used so far. Consider enabling "Pill Live" for options set with large options list. Making "Pull Live" for relatively small list would not make sense because after a few dozens of ads posted at classified, chances are that all of the available options in the list would be used at least once, hence the options list for the search built with "Pull Live" would not be different than the regular options list built from the default option values.

"Pull Live" at the advanced search page has a "Drill-Down" feature linked to Main Category selector drop-down list. That means a "Pull Live" options list would be built depending on selected category. If Category Tree is selected at the advanced search page or if Show Subcategories is enabled, then "Pull Live" list would also be dependent on subcategory or 3-rd level category selected from categories list. So that "Pull Live" list would be built from ads posted under selected category/subcategory/3-rd level category only.
Example: You have a list of countries as optional field and it was made a "Pull Live". At the advanced search page this option would DISTINCTIVELY list countries those selected at least once by clients while posting ads. In addition, when search is narrowed down to specific Category, the list of countries would be rebuilt and restricted to ONLY those found within ads under selected category.

Note: If option set has a blank value (bail out) and no option value among ads under specific category is found, the respective options set would NOT be displayed at all – facilitating the search by not listing the option, which would not bare positive search results.

Pull Live and Hidden

"Pull Live" can be applied to any options set except for the "Hidden" type.

Pull Live and Allow Custom Override

A special consideration should be taken when applying "Pull Live" to the options set while "Allow Custom Override" is already applied. Because "Pull Live" lists "live" ads data, all user custom inputs would also be listed there. This might not suite well as list would grow enormously while more ads posted at classified. It might also create an unpleasant experience for users who would be presented with search options list filled with hundreds of unique entries making a search less productive.

Pull Live and Range

"Pull Live" can be used along with "Range". Normally the range at the search page, would display 2 sets of drop-down lists (From … To). If "Range" is made a "Pull Live", then two scenarios are possible:

· If "Use Range Boundaries" (next to "Pull Live") is also selected, then 2 range boundaries (min/max values) from within posted ads data would be found and based on them the default list would be adjusted to fit the "live" range.

· If "Use Range Boundaries" is NOT selected, then the values would be populated from "live" das data.

This feature for options would build a set of check boxes for optional field presented on ad post or user registration pages, as well as on an advanced search page. "Make Multiple" allows multiple options selection for a single optional field thus expanding the default limit (20 fields for ads and 7 fields for user) into another dimension. That is if for instance 5 optional fields with "yes/no" options were previously used, then 5 optional field names might now be used to build a single option, made it "Multiple" and linked to a single optional field.

If converting/consolidating options to "Multiple" at the classified where ads already posted, consider the fact that some existed ads data may not be properly displayed after conversion.

"Make Multiple" is not compatible with any other types of options. It cannot be "Hidden", "Range", "Allow Custom Override" or "Pull Live". Only "plain" options set can be made "Multiple".

There is multiple options appearance drop-down list next to "Make Multiple" check box on an "Options Builder" admin page. "Make Multiple" could appear as a list box with option to select items by Ctrl + Left Mouse click or as a set of check boxes listed with a specified number of boxes per row.

Multiple options selected at the ads post page (or user registration page) with respective check boxes (or from a list box) stored within a single ad optional field separated by a comma and listed at the ad view page in the same fashion.

While made searchable, "Make Multiple" allows searching for individual items in a set.

Restrictions

· Any set of options made multiple cannot have more than 180-190 characters for combined option names in a set.

· Option names for the set made "Multiple" cannot contain a comma character [,] because comma is used as a multiple options separator.

· "Make Multiple" is a powerful feature but requires additional resources while made searchable. Consider every choice in a "Multiple" set as a separate optional field because it would require as much processing. Design advanced search page with the least of optional fields made "Multiple".

Common keywords to exclude from search – configure a list of words which would be dropped if specified as search keywords. Include words with 3+ characters in length separated by a space. Max length of all words should not exceed 255 characters (including spaces).

Allow Categories Tree – whether or not to display a check box above main categories list, which opens a category tree. It is recommended to hide this check box if having more than a few hundreds of categories (overall number).

Display Ads Count - whether or not to display number of ads posted in front of the category name or in front of the options made "Pull Live" (except "Range" type).

Drop Empty Categories – do not include categories with 0 ads posted into the categories list.

Sort Categories – sort categories by available types of order – Name, Custom or Number of ads posted. Note: "Custom", is when the order is established at categories browser pages, when "List Categories Alphabetically" is unchecked in Admin Preferences.

Show Subcategories – Would enable search for subcategories and 3-rd level categories.
Note: This is NOT the same as Categories Tree. Subcategories list is built depending on selected main category.

Enable Radius Search (in advanced search configuration header) – Enables Radius proximity search.

Note1: Simply enabling this option would not enable a radius search. A respective geo table should exist in database. See Radius search Plug-in in "Extras" folder within distribution package.

About Pull Live and drill-down

The relevancy of drill-down feature is established between the option which is made Pull Live and categories selector. While option is "Pull Live" enabled, options list would be populated with values pulled from ads data (respective field) relevant to the selected category. There is NO other relevancy established. For instance changing other options would NOT drill-down the Pull Live option set with live data.

"Pull Live" is configured to hide the drop-down list from search page if no data was found in database for particular option or if only one value was found. Indeed, there is no need to make something available with only 1 selectable option. That means if for instance you have only one ad posted under selected category, no "Pull Live" forms would be present at the search page.

Combination "Pull Live" and "Range" can be configured in 2 ways with "Use Range Boundaries" or without (see configuration in chapter II – Pull Live and Range). While using Boundaries might be more attractive due to the fact that the list would consist numbers from the options set in sequel but restricted from "top" in "bottom" in sync with mix/max ads data, the list built without boundaries (from live data) would be more accurate and might produce more precise search result.

About Pull Live/Multiple options and performance

Every Pull Live option set requires an addition processing at the server. It is recommended to restrict the number of Pull Live option sets for the same category. Making every other option set a Pull Live is not efficient performance vise and might result is excessive database queries. Same is true for options made Multiple. Every individual option within a single option set made Multiple, can be considered as a separate optional field when it comes to search query. Theoretically if you have all 20 optional fields configured as Multiple with 4 available options (check boxes) in each, then it would essentially be the same as having 80 optional fields made searchable and respective conditional search clause.

As with categories, the Options set can be bound to option fields for user accounts (user registration form). Exactly the same rules apply to those options except for one difference -"Hidden" options cannot be bound to user fields. User fields build the same was as category optional fields only though Admin Preferences page.

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