Catalog Links Throughout a Bongo4U Website

Catalog Links Throughout a Bongo4U Website

Whenever Emerge2 designs and develops a website that integrates, or at least links to, an online ecommerce catalog, we specify the catalog links in a very specific manner. There are many benefits to this approach.


We create an entry in the website navigation called something like Catalog, Shop Online, Products, etc., to be the entry which takes users to the online ecommerce catalog.

For this navigation entry, we use a Page Path of /catalog, /shop, /store, /products, etc.; we define this navigation entry as a redirect page (Page Type: External Redirect) and enter a special redirect URL using a Bongo4U short-code as follows:
Redirect Address: {{bongo4u=catalog_url}}
The actual catalog URL is entered into the Site Properties form in field "External Catalog URL", e.g. "". The actual URL is only ever entered in this one location.
An average Bongo4U website has between 8 and 30 links to the catalog throughout its various website pages.

For all of those links to the catalog, we code the link URL to link to the above mentioned redirect page (not to the actual catalog URL). For example, if we had created the following redirect page:
Short Title: Catalog
Path: /catalog
Page Type: External Redirect
Redirect Address: {{bongo4u=catalog_url}}
Then whenever we had a link to the catalog anywhere else in the website content, we would use a relative URL to link to "/catalog/". It's that simple.


In our experience, over the lifespan of a typical website, sometimes the catalog URL changes. This can happen when a new version of a catalog is implemented, when the client changes to a different ecommerce provider, or for a variety of other reasons.

When the catalog URL changes without this approach, you need to search through all of the content on all of your pages to find every reference to the old hard-coded catalog URL, and update each link to use the new hard-coded catalog URL.

On the contrary, when using the above approach, you just have to go to the Site Properties form and update the URL in the "External Catalog URL" field and hit [Save]. All done, everywhere without missing any links.

In addition, occasionally an ecommerce catalog needs to be taken off-line for maintenance or for an upgrade. Sometimes these periods are for 1-4 hours, and sometimes longer. With the above approach, you just need to edit the redirect page to change it from "Page Type: External Redirect" to be "Page Type: Public" and put a WYSIWYG block on the page with a message to users about the maintenance / upgrade, e.g. "Our catalog is currently undergoing maintenance or an upgrade and will be back online shortly." And everything on your website still works fine and users are not sent to an off-line catalog where they will see a "404 Not Found" or "500 System Error" or other response from your off-line catalog during this period. When the work is done, just edit the redirect page back to "Page Type: External Redirect" (it will ignore the WYSIWYG message block), and everything is back to normal across all of your 8 - 30 catalog links throughout your website.

There are other benefits of this approach, but the above two reasons as very helpful when the need arises. The approach ensures consistency and reduces the potential for errors, and makes it easy to affect all links to the catalog whenever that might be necessary or helpful.