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Collective Faceted Navigation provides an user interface which lets an user browse items of a Plone site by selecting amongst pre-defined criteria.

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What is faceted navigation (the concept)

First, what is faceted classification:

A faceted classification system allows the assignment of multiple
classifications to an object, enabling the classifications to be
ordered in multiple ways, rather than in a single, pre-determined,
taxonomic order.

-- Wikipedia (Faceted classification)

Once we know what faceted classification is, we can infer what is a faceted browser:

A faceted browser or faceted semantic browser is a user interface
which makes use of faceted classification to allow the user to
explore by filtering available information. Each facet typically
corresponds to the possible values of a property common to a set
of digital objects.

-- Wikipedia (Faceted browser)

An example would help, I guess:

A traditional restaurant guide might group restaurants first by
location, then by type, price, rating, awards, ambiance, and
amenities. In a faceted system, a user might decide first to
divide the restaurants by price, and then by location and then by
type, while another user could first sort the restaurants by type
and then by awards. Thus, faceted navigation, like taxonomic
navigation, guides users by showing them available categories (or
facets), but does not require them to browse through a hierarchy
that may not precisely suit their needs or way of thinking.

-- Wikipedia (Faceted classification)


Various examples of faceted navigation are also available on the home page of the MIT Exhibit project.

What is Faceted Navigation (the Plone product)

This concept sounds cool, but what does Faceted Navigation (the product) exactly do?

Once we have installed the product, we will have to configure facets (i.e. criteria), which are actually linked to default or custom catalog indexes. Then the user will see a new link in the portal actions bar (along “site map” and other links), called “Faceted navigation”. This link leads to an user interface that lets the user browse portal items via… a faceted navigation.

Warning: I do not pretend to be an expert on this subject, nor do I think that this is the definitive implementation of this concept in Plone. I also have other user interfaces in mind; they could probably be implemented using the current code. Anyway, there are a lot of ideas floating around: a good start would be the Plone classification workspace on OpenPlans.


Example applications have been set up:

  • Burgers;

  • PyPi - Python packages (in development).

Feel free to try them and provide feedback.



This version has the following dependencies:

  • Plone 3.0.x or Plone 3.1.x

This product might also work with Plone 2.5 (probably with a backported version of KSS, though).


The user interface makes use of KSS. Therefore, Javascript must be activated. There is no plan to provide a non-Javascript version.

The user interface should work on all modern browsers. It has been successfully tested on the following ones:

  • Firefox 2;

  • Firefox 3;

  • Opera 9;

  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 6;

  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 7.

Support for earlier versions and other browsers is not planned.

Installation and configuration

See doc/install.txt.


The most up to date documentation of this product lives in the “doc” folder of the sources. It is mirrored in the Documentation section of Faceted Navigation on


The development of this product has been initially sponsored by ENA (Ecole Nationale d’Administration) and conducted by Pilot Systems.

The following people have developed, given help or tested this product:

  • Damien Baty (damien DOT baty AT gmail DOT com): original author, tests, documentation, maintenance.

  • Leonardo Caballero (leonardocaballero AT gmail DOT com>): Spanish localization.


Collective Faceted Navigation is copyright 2008 by ENA (Ecole Nationale d’Administration).

This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program. If not, see the section about licenses of the GNU web site.

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