Suttaplex Nodes

Okay, because we all love jargon so much, let’s introduce a new term. Yay! As with previous new ideas, I will develop it here, so expect this to change.

A node is any item that is represented in the nav drawer as a link.

So the nodes are levels of the hierarchy, but specifically, those levels that represent actual features of the texts, as opposed to mere navigational convenience.

My thinking on this is evolving from a number of related questions.

  • How to handle division length texts?
  • Should we represent vaggas, etc. in the Suttaplex list?
  • How do we integrate descriptions of things at a higher level than suttas?

I took inspiration from Inbox by Gmail. There, a day’s emails are grouped together in a list of expandable panels. Each day is separated by a field. This separating field is not on a “card”, but on the background; it is de-emphasized. It is also fairly simple, consisting of just a title and one action icon.

It seems to me we can resolve all these issues by adopting a similar idea.

  • Represent nodes on the background layer of a suttaplex list.
  • Each node has a title, preferably in translation.
  • A node may optionally have a description.
  • If a node has a description, this is hidden by default and expanded as usual.
  • Expander icons only appear if there is a description.
  • There is no need to supply IDs or any other information.
  • Any node may appear in a suttaplex list underneath a node at a higher level of the hierarchy.
  • However, any node may also be selected and displayed by itself from the nav drawer.
  • Nodes do not have data parallels. However, if a node has parallels, these may be mentioned in the description.
  • Typography:
    • Top-level node heading:20px
  • second and subsequent levels: 16px
  • description: 14px
  • color: dark grey (same as subtitle in suttaplexes)

As compared to suttas, nodes are often semantically thin and less amenable to systematic treatment as data. In many cases, a node merely represents a keyword derived from a word in the first sutta of a vagga. However, in other cases a node is quite rich and deserves a substantive explanation; for example, a nikaya.

Since node descriptions are hidden by default, we can allow a longer and more flexible description than for suttaplexes. The purpose of the information is to acquaint a new user with the basic background information for that node. Typically they might include:

  • Title in original language
  • ID
  • Extent
  • Subjects, style, etc.
  • Language
  • Sectarian affiliation
  • Translator, date, etc. (for Chinese)

While a user might revisit a Suttaplex list many times, normally we’d expect them to just check a node description once. So it should not be intrusive.

Here is a mockup of a Suttaplex list with closed nodes.

And here is a mockup with the nodes expanded. Each node may be expanded individually, but here they are both expanded.


was this mockup meant as a ruse as well, to test advertence to details or is it just lighthearted about them?

It’s just dummy data.