thank you for your detailed and instructive reply, in particular the
link to the rendering process chart. I'm sorry, though, you found my
example too long since I really tried to break down my actual problem
into a minimum working example, trying to use self-explaining object names.
Anyway, I'm not convinced that isTrue evaluates to true just due to some
placholder strings for non-cacheable objects since I get exactly the
same output when either
a) replacing the COA_INTs with plain COAs and/or
b) entirely removing the TEXT object from the supposedly empty COA(_INT).
(And yes, I did clear the cache after applying those changes... ;)
It seems that if.isTrue.cObject < some COA(_INT) always yields true, no
matter whether the content array is cacheable or not and/or does contain
anything at all.
So... is there any way to use COA(_INT)s in conditional typoscript
expressions and make decisions based on whether they render as empty or
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