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Trouble with hierarchy: Pages & their Parents

  1. I’m very confused about the concept of Pages, their Parents and the whole hierarchy thing. My impression of what the relationship should be and what I see in experimental practice, are two different things.

    Let’s start from the top (please read carefully). I use a very simple DePo Masthead theme. At default, 3 tabs appear in the Header Tab are: About; RSS; Archive (in that order).

    Interesting, btw, when I go to Dashboard | All Pages, I don’t even see entries for RSS & Archives, but that’s probably another can of worms.

    Via Dashboard | Pages, I add a couple pages as follows: 2nd Page & 3rd Page.

    I then visit the site and see that, sandwiched in between About & RSS, are 2nd Page & 3rd Page, so the Header Tab area now looks like:
    About; 2nd Page; 3rd Page; RSS; Archive

    So far so good. Now, in Page | Attributes, I notice this thing about “Parent” and read the following via Help:

    ***
    Pages are similar to Posts in that they have a title, body text, and associated metadata, but they are different in that they are not part of the chronological blog stream, kind of like permanent posts. Pages are not categorized or tagged, but can have a hierarchy. You can nest Pages under other Pages by making one the “Parent” of the other, creating a group of Pages.

    Parent - You can arrange your pages in hierarchies. For example, you could have an “About” page that has “Life Story” and “My Dog” pages under it. There are no limits to how many levels you can nest pages.

    Order - Pages are usually ordered alphabetically, but you can choose your own order by entering a number (1 for first, etc.) in this field.
    ***

    All this sounds wonderful but, in my practice, it doesn’t happen this way:

    For the 2nd Page attributes, I chose Home as its parent in the hope that it would somehow be nested in a hierarchy scheme under (or within) the Home page, as advertised in Help.

    So I go back out to the site to see what it looks like. The first and most obvious thing is that the 2nd Page tab has disappeared from the Header Tabs. This might well be OK, given my interpretation of what is supposedly happening. So I click the Home tab to open that page. I expect that there will be tab (or some obvious link) to the 2nd Page - its child. But what instead do I see? NOTHING! I see the Home page text but no reference whatsoever to the 2nd Page. Buzz kill.

    Finally I’ve played with the “Order” attribute and do not see it behaving as advertised. The default is 0 (zero). For my 2nd Page, I noted that changes to 1, 2, 3, etc. all have the same result (none of which make particular sense):
    About; 3rd Page; 2nd Page; RSS; Archive

    I wonder if anyone else has experienced this frustration.

  2. May I suggest you read this article carefully and maybe more than once?

    There are two ways to establish page order.
    Page Order - Page attributes module order numerically rather than alphabetically
    http://en.support.wordpress.com/pages/page-attributes/#order
    http://en.support.wordpress.com/pages/page-attributes/

    Custom menu
    If you have a custom menu then you must establish consistency. Check the Pages sub-pages themselves to see if you have established a Parent page and child page “hierarchical structure” in the page attributes module. Remove if required.

    Also remove any “order” numbers you have assigned that may conflict with the order you are creating by dropping and dragging. Or simply change them so they are the same order as you establish in the menu. Establish consistency – problem solved
    http://onecoolsitebloggingtips.com/2011/08/11/wordpress-com-custom-menu-walk-through/

  3. Thanks for the post, TimeThief. To be honest, the issue I raised about Order was a tiny, tiny part of the bigger problem I raised: HIERARCHY. ( I shouldn't have brought that up.)

    I explained very clearly how I made Home the Parent of the 2nd Page and do not "see" it on the Home [page. This behavior is at odds with what is "advertised" in guidance, as I documented.

    At this stage, I have no Custom Menu (though I appreciate the onecoolsite link you provided; I bookmarked that for later. I jumped the gun on a Menu I earlier created experimentally but now have rolled it back. The site is no more sophisticated than I described in my post. I'm trying to understand basics and reconcile advertised behavior with what I actually see on my site.

    Again, why can't I access (see) my (child) 2nd Page according to what the guidance says is supposed to happen? Something's not right ...

  4. PS:

    I totally studied this link:
    http://en.support.wordpress.com/pages/page-attributes/#order

    The following example is very clear:
    http://myblog.wordpress.com/about/
    http://myblog.wordpress.com/about/life-story/
    http://myblog.wordpress.com/about/my-dogs/
    http://myblog.wordpress.com/about/my-dogs/rosco/

    I have also noted that, in Attributes, when for a given page I select Home (my case) to make its Parent, when the change is Updated, the Permalink is updated to reflect this change (/home/ in inserted upstream of the page name). I get that. And in the nice example presented for the Dogs, a couple of drop-down tabs appear under About for the child pages. Wonderful. Bravo!

    Guess what?

    I did the same thing and in my world, that’s not happening. I get no drop down (access to my child page). That’s what I’ve been trying to say here on this post!
    Frustrating.

  5. PS2:

    I stumbled onto this closed post which describes very much my problem:
    http://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic/child-page-not-displaying-under-parent-page?replies=5

    Much of the thread dances around the concept of the Custom Menu but no where on the WP help screens for Hierarchy (parents/children) does it say that Custom Menus are necessary to have the functionality. And in fact, I'm trying to avoid Menus for now to see/understand the default hierarchal functionality that is "advertised".

    I think Panos may hit the nail on the head; he wrote:
    only some of the themes with a top nav menu support dropdowns to child pages in their default menu, and Andrea is not one of them, but all themes with a top nav menu support dropdowns (to whatever you wish) if you create a custom menu.

    Well now we may be getting somewhere. And indeed, this little-known fact should be flagged on the Attributes guide page !! That would same someone a lot of time!!! For someone to really understand the problem posed on this post, maybe the real question to answer is:

    Does the DePo Masthead theme I'm using support the dropdowns to child pages ??? I'm beginning to suspect the answer is NO. A corollary question is: How, when shopping around for theme, would one know if a candidate theme had this capability?

    Can anyone please speak to this?

  6. The Depo Masthead theme does not have native dropdowns to child pages. That's why I tried to steer you towards creating an custom menu. The only way you can have them on that theme is to create a custom menu.

    Custom menu
    If you have a custom menu then you must establish consistency. Check the Pages sub-pages themselves to see if you have established a Parent page and child page “hierarchical structure” in the page attributes module. Remove if required.
    http://en.support.wordpress.com/menus/
    http://en.support.wordpress.com/menus/#adding-pages-to-your-menu
    http://en.support.wordpress.com/menus/#changing-the-order-of-menu-items-and-creating-sub-menus

    Also remove any “order” numbers you have assigned that may conflict with the order you are creating by dropping and dragging. Or simply change them so they are the same order as you establish in the custom menu. Establish consistency – problem solved

  7. OK, Timethief. That should do it. With respect, I wish when you steered me to Custom Menus you had simply mentioned that what I was trying to do w/o them was impossible with my theme. That would have saved me a lot of time & frustration.

    I recommend again that the guidance for Attributes page:
    http://en.support.wordpress.com/pages/page-attributes/#order
    be embellished to make clear that some themes don't support the functionality discussed on that page. (That should be a marquis at the top!) The page doesn't discuss Special Menus at all and yet not a whisper is made of the show-stopping fact (discovered the hard way) that some theme don't support the hierarchy functionality (and thus, Special Menus may be required if they are supported by the candidate theme).

    Just trying to help others in the future.

    On to Special Menus ...

  8. With respect I had to load that theme into my test blog in order to verify what I said above because there is no list provided by WordPress.com of themes that are not coded to provided dropdowns natively. But all themes can have custom menus. Please feel free to share you suggestion with Staff on Monday when they recativate the support link. http://en.support.wordpress.com/contact/

  9. Thanks Timethief. I plant to do that tomorrow following the link you provided.

    With respect, had the guidance prominently contained the necessary caveat (er theme capability), and had there been a prominent attribute of capability in terms of page display hierarchy (I just made up that term) for the theme I chose, this post would have never been necessary. And all of my time fiddling w/it would have been obviated and you would have found much better things to do w/ your time. <smile>

    One of the most important things you said was:

    there is no list provided by WordPress.com of themes that are not coded to provided dropdowns natively

    That's totally not good, and that is something which must be addressed imho. You shouldn't have to do that; no one should.

    ps:
    You might or might or might not be able to tell it, but I'm a software developer and I used to write technical guidance for the US Government for a living (15 years). The intersection of these 2 things makes me especially sensitive to the issues presented in this thread. I'm a documentation freak. For many WP users (most?), the relationship between published guidance and behavior/functionality is unimportant: they only care about "How do I get there?". My philosophy is different:

    Imagine the unimaginable from the user's perspective and develop documentation (guidance) w/ the end user in mind. Install "guard rails" (event handlers) where you can, but also address places the user may wander. Do it once and be done w/ it.

  10. One of the most important things you said was:
    there is no list provided by WordPress.com of themes that are not coded to provided dropdowns natively

    When I had the opportunity during a lull at work I checked this out in my test blog and provided the answer to you. We are done here. the rest af what you have to say to Staff can be sent to them tomorrow. Have a good rest of the day.

  11. @samadams1773: Some WP support docs are incomplete or misleading. "There is no list provided by WordPress.com of themes that are coded to provided dropdowns natively", but there is such a list provided by me:
    http://wpbtips.wordpress.com/2009/03/24/parent-page-links-to-child/
    As I'm saying in that post (as well as in the reply you quoted), all themes with a top menu support dropdowns if you replace the regular menu with a custom menu.
    Check my instructions on custom menus as well:
    http://wpbtips.wordpress.com/2011/12/19/custom-menus/

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