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Category and Forum Nodes - Why different?

ManagerJosh

Well-known member
#1
So I'm configuring my forums at the moment and I'm just wondering why forums and category nodes were categorized as two separate entities.

I do appreciate the clarity of the two being separate, but at the same time, I wonder why we couldn't switch back and forth between the two.
 

Brogan

XenForo moderator
Staff member
#2
Category nodes can be used in 2 ways.
They can either be used as anchors in the forum home page or they can be used as separate pages.

acp_nodes.PNG

Additionally, threads can't be created in category nodes but they can in forum nodes.
 

Paul M

Well-known member
#5
A category contains forums and a forum contains threads.
A forum can also contain forums.

I presume hes asking why you cannot change a category into a forum, and vice versa ?

Another way to look at it - a category is just a forum [with no threads] so why is it a different type ?
 

Brogan

XenForo moderator
Staff member
#7
A forum can also contain forums.
That's true, I omitted that from my post.

Why would you want to change a category to a forum though, and vice versa?

Another way to look at it - a category is just a forum [with no threads] so why is it a different type ?
Well a category is displayed on the forum home page.
Presumably any threads in that category would also be displayed on forum home in the same way forums within that category are?

That would make for a very messy and long forum home page...
 

ManagerJosh

Well-known member
#8
well it's a matter of perspective for me. I like switching between the two because sometimes when I'm cleaning things up, or introducing new forums I explore different perspectives between the two and see how they look overall
 

Mike

XenForo developer
Staff member
#9
It's really deep, technical reasons. All sorts of things rely on the node type, including some unique checks, URLs, general handling, permission that apply, etc. It's really just a different concept to what you're used to, so it's not really reasonable to pull that in. :)
 

Kier

XenForo Developer
Staff member
#10
I think it's worth pointing out some of those technical differences.

In vBulletin 1, there were separate database tables for forums and categories, and they were genuinely different items. With vBulletin 2 and our introduction of infinitely (theoretically) nestable forums, it made sense to merge forums and categories into a single data type for performance reasons. Therefore, in vBulletin, a category is a forum, it's just a forum with 'Can contain posts' turned off. That's the only difference between the data.

Conversely, XenForo places forums and categories into a flexible node tree, into which any kind of data can be placed. In XenForo, categories, forums, links and pages are all nodes, but categories and forums both extend the node concept in different directions. They have different options, permissions and all sorts of other differences that means that unlike vBulletin, it's far from trivial to turn a forum into a category, and it's certainly not something you'd want to do on regular basis.
 

Ra

Active member
#11
Two days ago spent an hour changing from forum to category.
12 times sent Kier and Co to hell desperatly trying to find a way to save my time :D
It would be a real hard thing to convert f-s into c-s some day if you decide that you don't need users leave posts in the forum - I changed manually all the forums, thanks god I have just tens of them.
I have no idea but could there be any way to make it easier - I'd welcome that.
 

Ahmed

Well-known member
#13
A few days ago when I was playing with my test forum I created a forum when I was intending to create a category. Then I wanted to change the forum to a category but I couldn't find how to do that. I thought it was a bug or a missing feature and thought someone would report about it. Today, again, I created a category when I was aiming to create a forum, and couldn't find how to change the category to a forum.
OK, this is NOT a bug, and it's NOT a missing feature, as I see IT IS A FEATURE.

You might have a point in making it work like this, but to be honest, I find vB more flexible regarding this, and it's useful to make it so.
Please take into account making it easy to change one node type to on of the others, because there are a lot of people may want to put a forum as a category and vise-versa, or maybe some day someone will want to change the page into forum and vise-versa. It's really a very important feature that we need to use from time to time.
 

Kier

XenForo Developer
Staff member
#14
The concepts are simply not the same. You wouldn't post a thread and expect to be able to turn it into a private message, would you? Just because vBulletin stores the data in that way doesn't mean that we are going to do it in the same way. In fact, we do it differently, and in our opinion, better.
 

Ahmed

Well-known member
#15
Yes, I know.
I didn't mean you should do it the same way vB does, what I meant is that there should be a way to change one node type to another. Just in case someone will need to do that in his forum.

BTW, I think this way is better too, just if we can also change node types, that will be perfect. :)
 

Quillz

Well-known member
#16
I have to admit I found "nodes" a little confusing at first, but now that I understand how they work, I think they're a really good idea.
 

Ahmed

Well-known member
#17
I have to admit I found "nodes" a little confusing at first, but now that I understand how they work, I think they're a really good idea.
Yes, they are a good idea, the only issue is when an admin wants/needs to change one node type to another.
 

mjp

Well-known member
#18
there should be a way to change one node type to another.
That makes no sense from a technical standpoint. Everyone is complaining about a few clicks to create another node - it's crazy. Are your fingers that fatigued that it's a burden, those few clicks? Damn, man.

"Dear Honda, it would be more convenient for me if I could switch the speedometer to a tachometer at my leisure. I understand that they are right next to each other, but I'm used to looking at the right side of the console and it is terribly inconvenient to look two inches to the left when I need to know my RPMs. So I really NEED to be able to make that switch whenever I'd like to. Thank you."
 

Brogan

XenForo moderator
Staff member
#19
Again, I will ask the question, why would you want to change a category to a forum and vice versa?

Why not just create a new forum and delete the old category?
Likewise for changing a forum to a category, create a new category and delete the old forum.