I really like that Gloss, even in its current pre-release status (v0.5.1) already supports multiple glossaries. I also like its flexibility to place any or all glossaries or terms anywhere; either somewhere within a post or page, or hard-coded in a template file, using the available template tags.
What I’m less thrilled about is the fairly limited text entry method. Although one can in principle use formating (HTML) tags, which have to be typed in manually (or pasted in from some other HTML editor) and therefor allow the use of, say, list elements (let’s forget semantic correctness of HTML or standards compliance for a moment) it’s a bit messy that way.
Now, I also understand that a visual editor is on the horizon, somewhere on the to-do list. And from what I can tell, Gloss uses separate fields and tables to contain the definition lists and data. What I’m (even) less sure about, is why instead of the current method of using a separate field with its data created / edited via a separate plain text editor in the WP Admin back-end, it doesn’t pick up its terms and definitions from specifically marked (tagged, wrapped, encapsulated…) content in plain posts or pages. That way, or so I suspect, it would also be possible to offer a link back to that page.
Here’s the underlying idea why I think that’s a good alternative. For a straight-up vanilla glossary, a simple ordered (in the sense of sorted) list of terms and definitions is all it takes to be functional. But when (ahem) one works on developing a bilingual glossary, especially one that is ‘enriched’ in its definition with commentary, explanation, examples, and (why not) illustrations or other reference materials (e.g. links, images, audio/visuals…) which can be especially helpful working with different languages, you’re SOL very quickly with the current data structure.
So, that’s why I’m wondering whether it makes more sense to optionally allow for linking to (referenced) source pages / posts, where the given definition of a term is expanded with more information. Essentially, what I’m thinking of in practical terms is adding a link such as “click for more info” at the end of the definition, pointing to the pertinent page where the “long version” of the definition can be found, in all its multimedia glory, with the added bonus of already having a stable visual editor: the standard WP editor.
The definition itself, by the way, might in such a case perhaps be stored in (and pulled from) the excerpt field; that would make the link between a given definition and its “extended version page/post” more manageable, I think. In such a case, a “definition post/page” would be set apart from a regular one by way of either a category or tag, or a custom field. One could even put the term itself (the key) also in a custom field, so that you have all three elements put together in one chunk of already connected data, i.e. in a WP post or page.
And finally, it would be really helpful to have some type of TOC (in alphabetically ascending order, pretty please) as a list of entries, to navigate through the terms and get much faster to the pertinent definition, and in turn, its pseudo-encyclopedic extension post/page.
Hey even wannabe lexicographers can dream, can’t we!
P.S.: Here’s another reason I like Gloss so much – after going through several options to create a wiki of sorts, for a collaborative application of a distributed glossary development team, not all of them (ahem) equally well-versed in wiki formating and usage conventions, I gave up and settled on WP as a more easily shared collaborative editing / publishing option. The working philosophy of Gloss, together with the myriad options out there for user access, roles and capabilities management, reinforces the benefits of WP as an accessible, flexible but potent information sharing and management solution. In other words: please don’t give up on the development of Gloss! My thanks to its author, Joe Casabona.
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