Thank you for trying to make sense of my frustrated bumbling words. I sincerely appreciate your time in answering.
Yes Colin, that's exactly what I meant about the categories order. I'm having to explain over and over to my users that the categories are not ordered independently and that they have to re-sort them if they want the latest file first. So, being able to sort one category by date and another by back-end order is paramount for me.
Here's my scenario:
I have about 7 or 8 categories, with mostly audio files that are 2 hours long on average. These are recorded classes. Almost every week there is a new audio added to the main category, which is holding over 300 download files. This category I need sorted by the latest added file first.
The other categories are mainly static and have classes in them i.e. Class1.zip (which contains a mp3 and a pdf file) Class2, etc. etc. These other categories I need ordered in the sequence set in the back end. All these other categories combined hold about 200 files and are quite static.
I've been adding files to this database for the last 8 years, when I inherited it from the previous webmaster. The back-end order for the main category is a mess because of migrations, backups, restores, etc.
I have, for the time being, mitigated the issue by running a SQL Query and assigning 0 as the order number to all the files in the main category. This means that they are now ordered by ID, which is close to ascending chronological but not quite. I've placed a note in bold and red stating that the files are not in chronological order. So hopefully when they see 2008 (2005 is the earliest) they don't assume the files are missing as they were doing when they were seeing the files dated 2015 ("There are no downloads after 2015" is what I get). I don't make the assumptions and I don't make up the questions, I just have to deal with them the best I can.
And this takes me to my second part of the question (which I apologize for the confusing wording earlier, it seems my brain wasn't ticking correctly), the re-ordering of the download files in the back end.
To reorder the files, I click on the "Order" column and then enter the number for its order or click the arrows to flip it with the next file. This is fine with a small amount of files or if the files are not completely out of order.
With a big number of files in disarray, if I want to reorder in something that is let's say close to alphabetical, I can't have them all on one page, so it would take a lot of guessing and many many tries to slowly get them in order. Let's say I could order by Title and then enter the numbers manually in the order boxes that would be an improvement, but it's not possible now (after reordering by Title, the order boxes are not active and when you click again on the Order column it reorders by it) and I don't know that even this would be possible in the future.
I have, however, with some patience, managed to re-order the other categories in their appropriate order which has helped, since now when they click on i.e. Cat-C they see Class 1, Class 2, etc., and not Appendix H, Addendum 5, etc.
Ordering improvements in the back-end would be great but would still not solve my problem. I could fake the dates on the classes so that when ordered by latest first they would still show in the order I want them. This has 2 drawbacks, 1 that I have to change the dates on about 200 files and 2 that the dates would not be accurate, not a huge problem but a problem.
Independently setting the category order would mean to me that I have my files in the correct order by default, which I've never been able to do.