Category Trees Login

Contents

  1. Prerequisites
  2. Overview
  3. Management Of Category Trees
  4. Category Trees Administration Centre Interface
  5. Dependent Configurations
  6. Recommendations

This document describes the details about category trees within each project on the TOTECS platform. Category trees contain categories, as well as products assigned to each category, which is used to help users to find products within a project.

Prerequisites

Please ensure that you have read and understand the following topic links before reading on.

Overview

For each project within the TOTECS platform any number of category trees can be created within it. A category tree consists of any number of categories which can have any number of products assigned to each category. Category trees allows users to navigate through categories to find products assigned to each category, this makes it easy for users to locate products across the inventory that they have permission to see. Categories themselves describe a range of characteristics that can be applicable to a range of products. A few examples for the names of categories would be "Furniture", "Clothing", "Automotive".

Each category can be linked to one parent category, and it's this linking that creates a category tree structure. Categories that have no parent category are called the "top tier" categories. These are the categories that users will first see when navigating the category tree. If a user clicks on a top tier category then they will be able to see any categories that it is a parent of. The categories that are assigned to the parent category are called "child" categories. So if "Furniture" was top tier category, it could have child categories labelled "Chairs", "Tables", "Cabinets". These categories could then also have child categories linked to it, so the "Chairs" category could be a parent category of child categories labelled "Dining Chairs", "Outdoor Chairs", "Sofas". This process of having more child categories could go on forever, however the more levels of categories there are the longer it takes for users to navigate through the category tree and find products.

The image below shows an example of a category tree called "Retail" that could be set up in a TOTECS project. This category tree contains up to 4 tiers of categories. Each category could have any number of products assigned to it. So the Clothing category could have 40 different types of clothing products assigned to it, where as the Chairs category could have 2 products assigned to it. Note that this shows only one category tree, another category tree could be set up in the same TOTECS project called "Wholesale" that contains categories that business-to-business people could relate to.
Category Tree diagram

Category Details

Below are each of the fields that can be set for a category.

Category Field Description
Category Code Unique code that identifies the category. Each category in a TOTECS project must have a unique code. The code may be used in URLs so it is advisable to set words in the code separated by dash characters. eg. furniture-bedding. This helps for search engine optimisation (SEO).
Name Name of the category.
Description 1 First description field that can contain any descriptive text.
Description 2 Second description field that can contain any descriptive text.
Active If checked it denotes that the category is active and will display when category is listed to users.
Meta Data
Title Text that is placed into the title of a content managed web page when a category's code is placed in the URL. The category's title will display in the top bar or tab of the browser window, when a category's code is set in the web page's URL. The title can also be read by search engines like Google, and displayed in the search listings. It may also be used by search engines to relate keywords to the web page, and help the web page's ranking.
Description Text that is placed into the description of a content managed web page when a category's code is placed in the URL. This information is hidden to the user but can be picked up by search engines like Google to display with the link to the web page when listed in their searches. The description allows users from search engines to understand what the web page may contain.
Keywords Text that is placed into the keywords of a content managed web page when a category's code is placed in the URL. This information is hidden to the user but can be picked up by search engines like Google, and may be factored in when users are searching web pages that match the set keywords. In this field set a number of words that target details of the category that a user may search with.

Category Trees

Any number of category trees can be set up within a TOTECS project. Each category tree contains a collection of categories that inherit off one another. Multiple category trees can be setup to allow a user to navigate through different labelled categories, or to cover a different demographic of users. An example could be that one category tree is set up for business customers, and a different category tree is set up for retail customers. In both the Trade interface, and on content managed websites there is the ability to configure the category trees that are available in each.

One constraint is that each category must have a unique code. So if two category trees were created with both having a category named "Furniture", then two categories would need to be created with the same name, but having different codes such as "FURNITURE01", "FURNITURE02". This is a requirement so that when the category code is placed in the URL, the platform knows the category to find in the correct tree to display to the user.

Category Tree Details

Below are each of the fields that can be set for a category tree.

Category Tree Field Description
Category Tree Code Set a unique code for the category tree. Each category tree in a TOTECS project must have a unique key. The key is used in category data imports to know which tree to assign categories to.
Name Name of the category tree.
Description Text describing the details of the category tree.
Display Sets how the tree's top tier categories will be displayed within the Trade interface's left hand navigation bar, the options are:
Standard
Categories will be displayed in a list, one under each other. The amount of categories in the list that the user will be able to see is dependent on how tall their web browser window is.
Drop Down
Categories will be listed within a drop down form element. This allows all categories to be selectable by the user, however the user must first click on the drop down to see all categories.
Not Displayed
Categories will not be listed in the Trade interface's left hand navigation bar

Category Products

Each category can have any number of products assigned to the category. On a content managed website that contains category listing areas, users can navigate down through each category and see the products and child categories assigned to a given category. Within the Trade interface users must navigate to a category that contains no more child categories before they can see the products associated with the bottom category. Products can be assigned to multiple categories. So in the example above a "Computer Chair" product could be assigned to the "Computer Equipment" category, as well as the "Chairs" category. 

When assigning a product to category there are two fields that can be set for the mapping between the product and category:

  • Ordering: Set a number against products in the category, that allow the products to be sorted when listed in the category.
  • User Defined: Set any kind of text to the mapping.

Model Product Categories

Within the TOTECS platform there is a feature called "Make/Model" that allows models to be created. with each model representing a number of component products attached together to make up a single object. An example of this would be car manufactured for specific year. A car typically contains thousands of products, that contain anything from tyres, light globes, to an engine. When an administrator user assigns a product to model, they have the ability to choose a category that it is assigned to for the model. So different "spark plug" products could be assigned to the "engine" category for a given car model. When a user views a model in the Trade interface of a project, or on a content managed web page containing make/model areas, it can show all the products belonging to a model that are grouped together for each category.

It's important to note that a 2 tier category tree needs to be set up to allow the Make/Model areas to correctly show product data, where the products are assigned to the child categories.

Category Images

Each category can have any number of images uploaded to it. The platform supports JPEG, GIF, and PNG images being uploaded to the category. When a category is displayed within the Trade interface, or on a content managed website there is the ability to visually show the image of the category, which can help users identify with the category. Each image when uploaded is scaled to two different sizes, these are the "small" size, and the "medium" size. The sizes of these scaled images can be controlled through settings within the Administration Centre. One of the images assigned to a category can be set as the "primary" image. The primary image is the image that by default will display when the category is showing its image.

Category Permissions

Categories within a category tree can be hidden from users based on the Inventory Permission Role that they are assigned to. The inventory permission role dictates the products that a user is allowed to view. From this the platform will only allow the user to see categories that contain products that they can navigate to. This allows whole arms of categories within a category tree to be hidden from a user, but available to other users who's inventory permission role does allow them to see these categories. The permission system built into the TOTECS platform can hide any category that that does not lead to a user being able to find products. Because of this it makes it easier and quicker for users to find products that are available to them.

Management Of Category Trees

There are several different ways that category trees can be setup and managed for a TOTECS project. The best way can be dependent a number of factors, these include:

  • How often new products are created and need to be assigned to categories.
  • How often categories need to be created as new products become available, or how often categories need to be removed as products are removed.
  • If external business systems have the ability to support category tree data.

Below are the different ways that category trees can be managed. The approach that works best for you depends on where you want to manage the data, and what functionality any connected business systems provide to do so.

Trees Managed Exclusively Through The TOTECS Administration Centre

Category trees can be setup and managed exclusively within the Administration Centre of a TOTECS project. This means that the tree, and its categories are created by administrator user within the interface, as well as assigning products to categories, as well as images. 

Tree Managed In An External Business System And Imported Into A TOTECS Project

Category trees can be managed in a business system such as an accounting or ERP system with the product data and imported through the Connector software into a TOTECS project. This approach allows all the category data to be managed in the one location with the product data, however it relies upon the business system having the functionality to setup category trees, which is not always available. In this case the categories are created within the business system, as well as the products being mapped to categories. The categories and product-mappings are then imported into a TOTECS project via the Connector software setup on a computer that can talk to the business system that contains the category data. This option only works when the Connector software contains an adaptor that supports talking the business system and being able to find and obtain the category data. Check the Connector documention for supported business systems. Note that the category images are not supported in being imported into a TOTECS project, and must still be done using the TOTECS Administration Centre.

Tree Setup In TOTECS Administration Centre With Product Mappings Imported

A hybrid approach is to setup the category tree within a TOTECS Project, then in the business system set a category code in a spare field of a product, and only import the mappings between categories and products through the Connector software. The Connector software will need to be setup on a computer that can talk to the business system that contains the category mapping data. This method only works when the Connector software contains an adaptor that supports talking the business system and being able to find and obtain the category data. Check the Connector documention for supported business systems. Note that the category images are not supported in being imported into a TOTECS project, and must still be done using the TOTECS Administration Centre.

Tree Managed In A CSV Spreadsheet File And Imported Into TOTECS Project

A fourth approach is to manage the category data in a spreadsheet application such as Excel, save the data to CSV file format, and then import the CSV files to a TOTECS project. Both categories and product-category mappings can be imported from a CSV spreadsheet file. This approach can work well for administrators who can easily add more rows and data into a spreadsheet file. It has the draw back with version control, where if there are multiple administrator users wishing to modify the spreadsheet file containing the category data, then they need to be very careful not to be modifying the same file at the same time, or saving different versions of the file in different locations. This method still depends on category images being update within the Administration Centre of a TOTECS project.

Category Trees Administration Centre Interface

Within the Administration Centre of a TOTECS project, under the Inventory menu there is a menu item labelled Category Trees that takes administrator users to the Category Trees interface. Within the interface administrator users can view all of the category trees that exist within the TOTECS project. Additionally administrator users can create new category trees, view and manage the tiers categories that exist within a category tree, as well as assign products and images to a category.

Create A New Category Tree

For administrator users to create a new category tree follow these steps:

  1. Open a web browser and go to the Administration Centre for the relevent TOTECS project.
  2. Click on the Inventory menu button.
  3. Click on the Category Trees menu item link.
  4. Click on the Create Category Tree tree icon.
  5. In the Create New Category Tree dialog in the Code text field set a unique code for the tree. The code should not contain any special characters, nor should it be the same as any other existing category trees.
  6. In the Name text field set a name for the category tree. Set a name for the tree that users will be able to identify with, such as "Retail Category Tree", or "Stocked Products Category Tree".
  7. In the Description text field set text that describes the purpose of the category tree. An example of this would be "Contains categories with products that are sold to retail customers.".
  8. Click on the Create button.

The category tree will then be created and it will appear in the list of trees within the Category Trees panel.

Modify Details Of A Category Tree

For administrator users to modify the details of an existing category tree follow these steps:

  1. Open a web browser and go to the Administration Centre for the relevent TOTECS project.
  2. Click on the Inventory menu button.
  3. Click on the Category Trees menu item link.
  4. Right click on the tree node of the category tree that is to be modified and click on the Edit menu item.
  5. In the Edit Category Tree dialog in the Code text field set a unique code for the tree. The code should not contain any special characters, nor should it be the same as any other existing category trees.
  6. In the Name text field set a name for the category tree. Set a name for the tree that users will be able to identify with, such as "Retail Category Tree", or "Stocked Products Category Tree".
  7. In the Description text field set text that describes the purpose of the category tree. An example of this would be "Contains categories with products that are sold to retail customers.".
  8. In the Display text field set one of the options:
    • Standard: The tree will display in the Trade interface's left hand navigation menu as a list, with only the top tier categories displaying in the list that users can click on to navigate through the tree.
    • Drop Down: The tree will display in the Trade interface's left hand navigation menu as a drop down, with only the top tier categories displaying in the drop down that users can select from to navigate through the tree.
    • Not Displayed: The tree will not be displayed in the Trade interface.
  9. Click on the Save button.

The category tree's details will then be updated.

Delete A Category Tree

For administrator users to delete an existing category tree follow the steps below. Note that deleting a category tree is permanent and irreversible. It could have a major impact on existing content managed websites if they are configured to depend on a category tree that does not exist. Be sure that you wish to delete the category tree before following these steps.

  1. Open a web browser and go to the Administration Centre for the relevant TOTECS project.
  2. Click on the Inventory menu button.
  3. Click on the Category Trees menu item link.
  4. Right click on the tree node of the category tree that is to be deleted and select the Delete menu item. Note that the mirrored category tree cannot be deleted.
  5. In the Warning dialog click the Yes button to confirm that you wish to delete the category tree.

The category tree, and all of its categories, and the associated category images, product mappings, and model-product mappings to the categories will be permanently be deleted. 

Create A Category

For administrator users to create a new category within a category tree follow these steps:

  1. Open a web browser and go to the Administration Centre for the relevant TOTECS project.
  2. Click on the Inventory menu button.
  3. Click on the Category Trees menu item link.
  4. Expand the Category Tree and right click on a category, or on a category tree node and click the Add menu item.
  5. In the Create New Category dialog in the Code text field set a unique code for the category. The code should not contain any special characters, nor should it be the same as any other existing categories across any of the category trees.
  6. In the Name text field set a name for the category. Set a name for the category that users will be able to identify with.
  7. In the Description text field set text that describes information about the category.
  8. Click on the Create button.

A category will be added to the Category Tree, either as a top level category if a Category Tree node was right clicked on, or under the category that that was right clicked on. Additional settings exist for categories which can be configured by modifying a category.

Modify A Category

For administrator users to modify an existing category within a category tree follow these steps:

  1. Open a web browser and go to the Administration Centre for the relevant TOTECS project.
  2. Click on the Inventory menu button.
  3. Click on the Category Trees menu item link.
  4. Expand the Category Tree and right click on a category then click the Edit menu item.
  5. In the Edit Category panel in the Code text field set a unique code for the category. The code should not contain any special characters, nor should it be the same as any other existing categories across any of the category trees.
  6. In the Name text field set a name for the category. Set a name for the category that users will be able to identify with.
  7. In the Description 1 rich-text editor set text that describes information about the category.
  8. In the Description 2 rich-text editor set any additional text to further describing the category.
  9. Tick the Active checkbox if you wish to activate the category. Categories that are not activated will not be displayable to users through the Trade and Content Managed Website interfaces.
  10. Click on the Save button.

The details of the category will be updated, and apply to all users when they load the category next time.

Add A Product To A Category

For administrator users to add a product to an existing category, follow these steps:

  1. Open a web browser and go to the Administration Centre for the relevant TOTECS project.
  2. Click on the Inventory menu button.
  3. Click on the Category Trees menu item link.
  4. Expand the Category Tree and right click on a category then click the Edit menu item.
  5. Click on the Child Products tab.
  6. In the Product Code drop down, select the product field that you wish to find a product by.
  7. In the text box next to the drop down enter text to find the product by. An autocomplete drop down will display when the platform finds a product.
  8. Click on the product in the auto-complete drop down.
  9. Click on the Add button.

A record will be added to category products table containing the selected product, unless the product was already added to the category.

Remove A Product From A Category

For administrator users to remove a product to an existing category, follow these steps:

  1. Open a web browser and go to the Administration Centre for the relevant TOTECS project.
  2. Click on the Inventory menu button.
  3. Click on the Category Trees menu item link.
  4. Expand the Category Tree and right click on a category then click the Edit menu item.
  5. Click on the Child Products tab.
  6. In the Category Products table click on the X button.
  7. In the Warning dialog click the Yes button to remove the product from the category. 

The product record will be removed from the category products table.

Add An Image To A Category

For administrator users to add an image to an existing category, follow these steps:

  1. Open a web browser and go to the Administration Centre for the relevant TOTECS project.
  2. Click on the Inventory menu button.
  3. Click on the Category Trees menu item link.
  4. Expand the Category Tree and right click on a category then click the Edit menu item.
  5. Click on the Images tab.
  6. Click on the Browse... button.
  7. In the file dialog navigate the computer's filesystem to locate the image to upload. Note that the platform only allows images to be uploaded that are either JPG, GIF, or PNG images.
  8. Click the Add button.

The image will be uploaded, and have copies of it resized based on the image Settings within the Inventory menu of the Administration Centre. A dialog will display advising that the image was successfully uploaded, as well as a record appear in the Category Images table.
When uploading JPEG images ensure that the colour-profile of the image is in a web based format, and not a print based format, otherwise the image may fail to upload.

Modify An Category Image

For administrator users to modify details of an image assigned to an existing category, follow these steps:

  1. Open a web browser and go to the Administration Centre for the relevant TOTECS project.
  2. Click on the Inventory menu button.
  3. Click on the Category Trees menu item link.
  4. Expand the Category Tree and right click on a category then click the Edit menu item.
  5. Click on the Images tab.
  6. For the image that you wish to change its details for, click on the Title table row cell, enter a title to describe the image, then click the Save button.
  7. Click on the Description table row cell, enter text to describe the image, then click the Save button.
  8. Click on the Is Primary table row cell, Y to make the image the primary image of the category, or N to not set it as the Primary image, then click the Save button. If an image is the Primary image of the category then it will display when the category appears through the Trade interface, or on a content managed website.
  9. Click on the Is Active table row cell, Y to make the image active, or N set it as inactive, then click the Save button. Only active images will display with a category.
  10. Click on the Filename table row cell, enter text that will display in the file name of the image, then click the Save button. To hep search engine optimisation set keywords in the file name of the image to allow search engines to match the category image to image searches.

Remove An Image From A Category

For administrator users to remove an image from an existing category, follow these steps:

  1. Open a web browser and go to the Administration Centre for the relevant TOTECS project.
  2. Click on the Inventory menu button.
  3. Click on the Category Trees menu item link.
  4. Expand the Category Tree and right click on a category then click the Edit menu item.
  5. Click on the Images tab.
  6. In the Category Images table click on the X button for the image that you wish to remove.
  7. In the Warning dialog click the Yes button.

The image will be removed from the category, and the record in the Category Images table removed. Users viewing the category will also not be able to see the category image any more.

Set Search Engine Optimised Data For A Category

For administrator users to set search engine optimised data for a category, follow these steps:

  1. Open a web browser and go to the Administration Centre for the relevant TOTECS project.
  2. Click on the Inventory menu button.
  3. Click on the Category Trees menu item link.
  4. Expand the Category Tree and right click on a category then click the Edit menu item.
  5. Click on the Meta Data tab.
  6. In the Title field enter text to label the category. This text will display in Title of web browsers when a content managed web page is displayed to a user that has the category code in the URL of the web page. Search engines such as Google will also display this title in the search result listings, as well as use the title to find keywords which may influence page ranking.
  7. In the Description field enter text to describe the webpage that the category appears on. This text will be embedded within a content managed web page that contains the category code in the URL of the web page. This text may appear on search engine result listings to describe the details of the page that the category appears within. This descriptive text may not be used by search engines to rank the web page that the category displays within, but helps users to understand what may appear on the web page.
  8. In the Keywords field enter text that contains words related to the web page that the category displays on. These words may help search engines to rank and match the web page when users enter search terms into search engines to find web pages.
  9. Click on the Save button.

The meta data associated with the category will then be updated. When a user views a content managed web page that contains the category code in the URL, then the web page's title, description, and keywords will be used in the web pages data, which can be read by search engines such as Google to help it to understand and rank the category web page.

Dependent Configurations

  • For a category to display in the Trade interface, or on a content managed website the category must be set as active, at least one product within the category must be visible to the user's Inventory Permission Role, or the category must have child categories that contain products that are visible to the user.
  • For an image to display with a category in the Trade interface, or on a content managed website the category the image must be set as active. The image that is displayed will be the image marked as the primary, or if there are no active primary images then any other active image assigned to the category will display.
  • In order to import categories from a business system through the Connector software, one category tree needs to exist in the project that is marked as a "mirrored" category tree. When a TOTECS project is created a mirrored category tree is created by default and cannot be deleted.

Recommendations

  • Avoid creating category trees that contain too many tiers of categories. The more tiers of categories that the user needs to navigate through, the more tiresome it becomes for the user, and the longer it takes for them to find the products they are looking for. Ideally keep the category tree to 2 tiers of categories if possble, 3 tiers maximum.
  • Don't put too many products in one category. If there are hundreds of products in the category then it makes it harder for a user to find the product that they are looking for. If there are lots of products in a category then it might be better to create more categories and assign the products into the separate categories. Otherwise use Product Groups, or Product Combinations to help reduce the amount of products that display.
  • Try to manage the category data in one place as much as possible. Using the Connector software and business systems that support category tree structures allows the category and product data to be managed in one location.