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.


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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