Reference: Attributes

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Overview

Attributes are an important aspect of creating a well-constructed catalog. Earlier versions of PlantX had a fixed number of attributes and were limited in how they could be sorted and displayed. PlantX now allows for any number of user-defined attributes.

We use the term attributes, rather than size, because attributes are more than just size. They may describe the root of the plant, the shape, height, topiary, etc. Some systems refer to these as "tagged attributes" or simply "tags", but since the industry already uses the term tags to refer to physical tags hanging on the plants, we chose the word attributes.

Each product can have any number of attributes assigned to it, but keep them to a minimum. In fact, you could spend a lot of time and assign any number of attributes to a product, like height, spread, caliper, grade, container size, etc. But don't! Keep the number of attributes to a minimum. You will eventually want to sort and report on your inventory, and if you create a large number of attributes, you will segregate your inventory into a bunch of small, meaningless groups.

You should only apply the attributes to a product when required to tell them apart. If you have two plants of the same material, yet they have two different prices, answer the question "Why?". If the plants have a different prices because of their pot size, list the gallons. If it is because their heights are different, make attributes for height. Only list the attributes that make a difference in price.

Also, avoid too many attributes and attribute types overall. Because you can pick any number of attributes for a product, break down the attributes into smaller, reusable components. Rather than every permutation of "Plastic Pot #1", "Wood Box #1", "Plastic Pot #2", "Wood Box #2", etc. Create more simple attributes like Plastic Pot, Wood Box, #1 and #2 and then use them in various combinations.

New users should be sure to enter materials first.

Attributes List

Lists each individual attribute and its type. (Example: Height: 6 feet)
Plantx.net allows you to individualize each product by assigning any number of attributes. Use the minimal number of attributes needed to describe two different products.
Attributes can be assigned to a different attribute type, but their value cannot be changed. This is to avoid inadvertently changing one attribute to another for the whole catalog. For example, if you were to change 4' HT to 5' HT, your entire catalog would shift, which would not be good. If you need to change the way an attribute is used, it has to be done manually by creating the new attribute, updating the affected catalog items, and then deleting the old attribute.

Sort Order

Attributes are assigned a specific order. It is up to you to give the attributes a specific order. Giving the attributes order sets two important aspects: 1) the order in which the attributes are strung together for each catalog item; and 2) the order in which products are listed.

Attribute Display Order

When attributes are assigned to a product, the attributes are listed in the order in which they appear in the attributes list. This means that you have explicit control over how they should appear when listed in your catalog. For example, with the following list of Attributes:

Type Attribute
Form Tree
Form Shrub
Root #1
Root #2
Height 5' HT
Height 6' HT

Selecting Shrub, #1 and 5' HT for a product will produce "Shrub; #1; 5' HT".

Selecting Tree, #2 and 5' HT for a product will produce "Tree; #2; 5' HT".

Selecting Tree, #1 and 5' HT for a product will produce "Tree; #1; 5' HT".


Product Display Order

Because the attribute #1 is listed before #2, when the products from the above example are listed, they will be sorted accordingly:

"Tree; #1; 5' HT".

"Tree; #2; 5' HT".

"Shrub; #1; 5' HT"


By simply changing the order of just the Root type attributes, you can change the sort order

Type Attribute
Form Tree
Form Shrub
Root #2
Root #1
Height 5' HT
Height 6' HT

It will sort the products like this:

"Tree; #2; 5' HT".

"Tree; #1; 5' HT".

"Shrub; #1; 5' HT"

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