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> English > Contribute > Writers > Organization of contents

Organization of contents

September 2010 — last update May 2013

All the versions of this article: [Deutsch] [English] [français] [русский]

Few exceptions apart, DoudouLinux website pages are all generated by the contents management software Spip. This software offers the following functionalities:

  • online edition of pages as articles from the web browser (no third-party software required)
  • contents language management (multi-lingual site)
  • management of article publication cycle (being edited, being reviewed, published)
  • articles arranged in sections, section are then used as a site navigation menu
  • version management for each article, ie. translations and modification history
  • management of writers and their rights

The website pages are made of articles or sections in the Spip terminology. An article is a standard web page. Sections are used to group articles by topic. Each section also has its own web page used to describe the section and to browse its pages.


Sections act like file folders: as many articles and sub-sections can be arranged inside a single section, recursively. On the web site, sections parent of the current section are displayed on top of the page, below the site header, so that the reader knows at any time in which part of the site he is. Moreover root sections that have no parent section are used on to define the site language. So their name is the language name.

Every section owns a description text which acts like an article body: it is displayed in the section page and uses the syntax of an article text even if section editing does not look like the article one. The section description text is then used to precisely describe the part of the DoudouLinux site to which the section corresponds.

Finally a system of inheritance from the parent section to the children ones avoids the default language inside a whole section to be modified: any article in section French is associated to the French language. However we have noticed in practice that when a new translation of an article already existing is created, it inherits the reference article language. So you need to change its language after the article is recorded.

Site menus and sections

Spip uses sections to automatically generate menus. Therefore section organization between languages should be exactly the same to provide website homogeneity. The link site map may help you for this job. Please note that when a section and its possible sub-sections do not contain any published article, the section is not shown in menus. This is why menus look empty when a new language is started! You even cannot see the language at all if it really has no article published because its root section will not be displayed.

The main menu in the header on the page top is generated from the list of the main sections of the current language. Main sections are sections directly attached to the language section. The side menu, on the page top left, is generated from the current section that the visitor is reading. This menu includes sections whose level is identical to the current section one. Pages and sub-sections of each of these sections are of course also included in the menu.

Order of displaying in menus

The default is to display articles and sections in increasing order by creation date, most recent ones on the top, least recent ones on the bottom. To avoid the need to create articles and sections in the desired displayed order (and order may change), it is possible to rearrange them afterwards by numbering them. To do this you just need to add at the beginning of the article or section title a number followed by a dot and a space. For example “Contents organization” would become “2. Contents organization” if we want to make it appear in the second position in the menu.

Note: order of sections mainly matters. For articles you should take care of order in the “Documentation” section only. This way documentation pages can be presented with a logic that matches the information given on each page.


Articles are arranged in sections. No article should lay at a language section root otherwise the page would not appear in any menu [1]. The only exceptions are the download page and the Debian package repository because they are systematically linked in the site header and above the side menu on the left: no need to do more again! All other articles should then be attached at least in one of the main sections of the language.
  |— English → home page
  |      `— (main sections)
  |             `— (articles)
  |— Español → paginá inicial
  |      `— (rúbricas principales)
  |             `— (artículos)
  |— Français → page d’accueil
  |      `— (rubriques principales)
  |             `— (articles)

At the moment the tagging functionality of Spip is not used so that articles are only grouped through sections.

Reference article and translations

Articles of a new language should not be created from scratch but should instead derive from the initial article of one of both reference languages. If you use services such as Google Translate to speed up translation writing, we recommend to use the English version as a reference since Google always translates to or from English [2]. The site configuration causes French to be the reference language, ie. the version known to be the most up to date. However when the English version also exists, synchronization with the French version is regularly achieved so that English can also be considered as a reference [3]. To create a new page translation, you have to display the page to be translated in the site administration interface then unhide the block “ARTICLE LANGUAGE AND TRANSLATIONS” in order to show the button “Write a new translation of this article”.

Note: unlike articles, new sections cannot be created as a translation of a reference section, sections are all independent from one to another.


[1] As the text of the language section is used as a website homepage for this language, child sub-sections and articles are not displayed in this page to give a more classical look to the website.

[2] When he is translating from Russian into French, he is first translating into English then into French…

[3] But our English is a little less good as our French…

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