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Awesome, Awesome, Awesome Product.

Awesome, Awesome, Awesome Product.

This is hands down one of the best components I have seen for Joomla. I will never design a website again without it. This provides exactly the flexibility I need in every way based on php rules.

Thank you Stephen. Impressive is an understatement. This is genius.

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Re: Awesome, Awesome, Awesome Product.

(blush)

Thanks techgump! Please spread the word!

I'd be interested in reading about some of the uses you have for it, if you have a few minutes to put it in a post?

Best regards,
Stephen

Stephen Brandon
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Re: Awesome, Awesome, Awesome Product.

Sure. My business has an affiliate program that is broken down by territory, in which territories are assigned by zip code. Based on the client's zip code entry (on homepage), I have to swap out data from generic Growth Engine Local information to information specific to the local affiliate assigned to client's zip code:

Web Logo, Contact Info, Plans Purchasable, etc.

Without at least a zip code, or an assigned affiliate, the user should not purchase yet, hence these menu items need to be hidden. (tho if they did it is not detrimental, we just prefer to promote our affiliates in their given territories over a direct sale with us. Likewise, our "book"/default price to public is higher than working through an affiliate. IE plan pricing may be reduced, and/or setup fees waived).

I also have to distinguish between user types, as this same website is also a management system for affiliates to manage their client base. In this case, the template needs to be larger to support large table views of data. Likewise, zip codes become irrelevant, because they are only used to setup clients with an affiliate. So I need to hide these forms and purchasable plans menu items for anything above a registered user (Registered users are clients, Author accounts are affiliates, above that are administrative accounts), as they simply do not apply.

Essentially I needed a very flexible platform to swap out information, menus, menu items, modules, templates, and perform redirects based on several factors... User Types, Zip Codes, and Cookies primarily. I use cookies in case the visitor/client returns later on same pc, so the user does not need to repeat steps of zip code entry (affiliate relation) if a permanent relationship was not formed in database and/or they have not yet logged in.

It sounds easy when I state it here, but the logic is pretty intense, considering that users may have multiple locations (zip codes) hence potentially multiple affiliate relations. Likewise, we have overrides for certain affiliate groups who are not limited by zip code, and we do this via url parameters and/or incoming CNAME sub-domains variations. Also I am using Jfusion to sync two Joomla site sessions for affiliate management, in which MetaTemplate also plays a role.

I'm still working through this logic, but should have it wrapped by this eve. I could not have done this nearly as cleanly or in the required time frame without both MetaTemplate and MetaMod w/ Pro. You are welcome to use my site when completed tonight as a working sample:
http://www.growthenginelocal.com/


A quick way to actually SEE how I use MetaTemplate is to enter a USA zip code... say "93401". When you see what it did on the site (notes below 1, 2, 3), then try another zip code... say "95008". As the site is not really "live" yet, I'm being specific as I do not have my full affiliate -> zip code table loaded yet, so I am providing you (the reader) with specific zips that I know are in the database already, and are assigned to two different affiliates.

On my site, MetaTempalte handles:

1. All cookie settings; when and how to set them.

2. Purchase menu items (Main and Btotom Menu); when to show or hide them. Hidden without zip code entry, or if user type is not compliant for those links.

3. Redirects. This is the very best! I am using MetaTemplate to process form data smile. Essentially with MetaTemplate, your forms do not need to go to a specific page to be processed. It's irrelevant if you set your processing as rules in MetaTemplate; this is powerful. You can see a simple use of redirect if you have entered a zip code, and are viewing  "Our Best Plans" page. On this page, only if you have entered a zip code, will the plans pricing buttons be available. Now while the URL for this button is always the same no matter the zip code, I am using MetaTemplate on click to redirect to the correct affiliate plan group (based on zip code / cookies previously set in our zip code form).

4. SQL actions; when to relate the visitor permanently to an affiliate, regardless of zip code changes, based on execution of stored client -> affiliate table data.

5. It also handles a lot more than this, but for visitors which are not clients or affiliates, these controls are not visible.


Anyways, there is a brief synopsis.

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Re: Awesome, Awesome, Awesome Product.

techgump,

To say I am blown away by this would be an understatement. I had to get up from the computer and go and get a cup of tea just to clear my head. Thank you for sharing about your setup.

You have done an amazing job with this. Although I have glimpsed some of the potential for "event-driven Joomla" while working on MetaTemplate, your example takes this concept to a whole new level.

I had never thought of specifically processing form data with MetaTemplate. That's a stunningly beautiful idea, as MetaTemplate gets the chance to process the form before the page's component gets hold of it, and can perform any actions that it needs to including (as you are doing) redirects, or changing some of the contents of the page including visible menu items and modules (with the help of MetaMod).

It strikes me again that one of the beauties of MetaTemplate is that it works above the level of other components, i.e. the rules execute (almost) as soon as there is a web request, irrespective of what page was requested, then can activate things that will affect the rest of the page...

...I guess you haven't needed to embed logic about different user types etc. into your templates, as is quite common in order to show different things to different people. You probably haven't had to hack modules in order to show different things to different combinations of user types. And you've been able to control much/all of this from a single event-driven logic flow in MetaTemplate.

If you use standard forms components there often has to be an extra page redirect; with MT this may not always be necessary, and as you have demonstrated the contents of the form can simply be used to restyle portions of the page (template / menu items / modules) in a way that a standard forms component could not easily achieve.

You're obviously a very smart programmer - I can see the logic alone for this would take a great deal of thought and planning.

Well done!

Thanks again for the feedback.

Best regards,
Stephen

Stephen Brandon
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Re: Awesome, Awesome, Awesome Product.

(blush back), but it's your genius that made it possible.

FYI, I'll update you tonight when the logic is finished. Likewise, you still have an acct login on the site, if you want to take a peak when I'm done. Unfortunately my example in above post is not ready for use... but shortly.

Back to the point, it's extremely useful for the form data to process before components and mods, as I can now alter information that would typically not update on the following page. IE: elements would load correct data (like module or template data) before the form processing took place in the component or article. Now we get that data ahead of time. Soooo sweet.

AND ALL DONE WITHOUT A SINGLE HACK. OMG.

For those of you who like free-bees (I'm one of them), you won't like me for this, but it's true. Stephen, this should not be free. You deserve to make fair compensation on this development. If I was fully informed of the ease and power of this package ahead of time, I would not hesitate to pay $50-$100 per licensed site for this, or $300 for an unlimited seat.

I would urge you to consider a name change as well, as "Template" is just a small fraction of the control that is gained. I did not even take the time to look at this until you installed it, as I foolishly made the assumption it was pretty much for template control alone. Maybe MetaJoomla? MetaJoomlaPHP? MetaPHP? MetaControl? MetaJ!PHP? I don't know, but food for thought.

-Forrest

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Re: Awesome, Awesome, Awesome Product.

Ok, a day late, but I think my logic is sound now, for those of you who wanted to see a working sample smile
www.growthenginelocal.com

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Re: Awesome, Awesome, Awesome Product.

Hi Forrest,

I just took another look at your site, but still can't see any difference in the pages between using 93401 and 95008, except that the "Purchase" menu item appears once a zip code is added. Just thought I'd let you know.

I'm also contacting you off-line about your other suggestions... you've been making me think!

Best regards,
Stephen

Stephen Brandon
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If you use MetaMod or Chameleon, please post a rating and a review at the Joomla! Extensions Directory: Chameleon | MetaMod

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Re: Awesome, Awesome, Awesome Product.

Sorry, we were doing an affiliate swap. Clear your cookies and try again. You'll see it operating now.

PM'd you with contact info.

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Re: Awesome, Awesome, Awesome Product.

FYI, now that we've applied that zip, you'll notice changes of:
Logo
Phone contact info (upper right of all pages)
Contact Page details
Plan pricing on the Purchase page (in this case no setup fees)
Availability of pricing buttons on 'Our Best Plans' page

If you inspect your cookies, you'll see a variation of cookies from growthenginelocal.com, depending on how you access, navigate, and utilize the site. All handled via MetaTemplate / MetaMod, I am in heaven.

Again, this is just what is visible to a front-end user. MetaTemplate handles a lot more logic than these simple changes... pretty much anything one can dream via php. Frankly, MetaTemplate becomes super powerful in fixing various issues many components have, without hacking them, by intercepting and altering data before component load. I still can't get enough of it... as I know I sound a little redundant at this point smile Thank you Stephen.

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Re: Awesome, Awesome, Awesome Product.

Stephen, I installed metaTemplate Pro on the GEI Corporate website, and needless to say, YES, the pro options would have most definitely helped expedite the code I did manually. Specifically the 'User/group related' options in my case.

You have definitely gone the extra mile in providing a robust solution. My opinion still remains however that it is TOO robust for the common user, as there are so many options it does need to be modular in form, where one could add and remove 'modular functions' from metaTemplate as needed for there rules.

Best...

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