Order of control panels

For a while now I've been very irritated looking at the control panels and having them in an order that does not make ANY sense. For example, why is "Add-ons" the 7th in the "General" category, following "Site"?

I finally decided to dig, and realized that @ramon made this commit 5 years ago https://github.com/plone/Products.CMFPlone/commit/f831db3102f349ccd4347ca29e9048c56d6ce27d so that instead of sorting the control panels by title, they are sorted by ID, to give them the same (broken) order.

How often does someone change Plone site languages and need the control panels to be in the same order?

How often does a person who does NOT change their language visit the control panels and is driven nuts by their being out of alphabetical order?

And finally... wouldn't it be lovely if we could specify an order and have it stick per person... or maybe have the kind of "automatic type to search" that Zope 4 has in its UI so after I go to @@overview-controlpanel I can start typing "Ad" (for "Add-ons") and have only the matching panels displayed (the non-matching ones are filtered out).

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The order shouldn't change based on user or language in the same way as your phone settings aren't sorted by name either. They should be put into some fixed somewhat logical order and stay there, probably based around having similar items together and the most frequently used grouping first. Also some require additional permissions so perhaps they can be split off such as mail, theming and addons. or regional settings like datetime and language?

I thought that I was the only one with this "problem". Glad to see that someone else needs some kind of rational order (alphabetical?) there :wink:

I can sort almost everything I look at on a computer. Most recently used, alpha, reverse of the above, manual (like on a phone home screen). Maybe we need to provide an optional “sort by” choice. The “order” they are in now doesn’t make any sense to me, because it’s by ID and they vary wildly. Some are capitalized, others not, and the IDs often have no bearing on the title we see.

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I proposed ordering the control panels alphabetically but it was rejected with the 5.0 release :nauseated_face:

I recall a discussion at that sprint...

  • It shouldn't be based on title because it would change with the language
  • Idea was to have some kind of weight/priority for sorting but was not implemented
  • Therefore sort by id was choosen

I'm also for a fixed sort order, based importance or most frequently used (Site, Language, Navigation)

It was originally sorting based on title, and it would translate the titles first if there was a translation, but Ramon’s commit change it to sort by id (and left the now useless translation lookup there, making it seem like a half baked try). Which Peter confirms :nerd_face:

Let’s think about the frequency of:

  1. People who work most of the time with a single language set in their browser (ie they don't switch often)

  2. People who switch their browser language frequently. These people are going to be knowledgeable about Plone and won’t see a different title-sorted order as any more mental work than operating in a different language. Even when I switch languages I’m going to be looking for a control panel by its name in that language.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

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On Feb 25, 2020, at 03:07, Peter Holzer via

I'm also for a fixed sort order, based importance or most frequently used (Site, Language, Navigation)

Importance is going to be different for each person. Even for the same person, it’ll be different based on situation and will change over time. Same for frequency of use.

Let's not overthink this... I think we can come up with a more useful order than it is now :wink:

A position key as it's done in the actions controlpanel could be used for such a sort order and would make it even configurable...


Oh sure, go ahead and try to find a compromise solution! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: I'll look at that.

Also: how about adding a choice to the @@overview-controlpanel with:

  • sort by ID (default)
  • sort by title
  • sort by most recently used (will require capturing counts of each control panel click)
  • random order (oh wait, that's already the default! :wink:)

Also to make it painfully clear to everyone how random the order is (even if "fixed"): a checkbox to "show the arbitrarily chosen and unrelated-to-the-title ID"


@tkimnguyen keep it simple

  • useful order (in steps of ten)
  • no need to add a choice
  • no need to expose the position within a controlpanel view
  • overridable with a registry setting

It's not really about that. Its about images or help that uses screenshots in languages other than your own. They will be much harder to use if you can't use position to help you out. You are only left with icons.

+1. and also the number of items in the first section is probably now too much. There should be some more sections that logically make sense, some are content related like "site" and "languages" and some are technical like theme and addons.


Coming back to this... let me see if I got this right:

  • there is a problem that many people have noticed and have found confusing, including newcomers to Plone
  • it was a problem enough that people even filed issues like this one https://github.com/plone/Products.CMFPlone/issues/721
  • I too come to the same conclusion that it's a problem (it takes me a while and I'm slow / thick)
  • I get wrestled to the ground and told that the status quo (which is broken) is better than anything else
  • except for an extremely complicated and overengineered proposed solution that no one is going to have the time to implement nor maintain

Did I get that right?

I was trying to

It is embarrassing to demo Plone to large groups of people who then start trying to use Plone as part of a big training class and to have to answer questions like "why are these not in order?"

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My proposal always was (since 10 years or more):

  • Alphanumeric sort in the language shown.

That's it. Yes order changes depending on language, but IMO this is totally fine and much better than the current solution. And it is a simple rule.

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And it's a list of items. Imagine working on small devices. Arrangement left-to-right, top-to-bottom, matters less. And for languages that are right-to-left, physical arrangement makes no sense.

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