I know you found the issue, but I’ll still answer all the original questions as those answers may answers other questions…
re: I have entered what seems to be the minimal short codes on the necessary page (see community page edit) yet I get only the basic directory list (see directory page).
The absolute minimal shortcode required is
[connections] as discussed in step 4 of the quick start.
To use a template, the minimal that needs done is install it and then activate it on the Connections : Templates admin page which is covered in the installing a template doc page.
One thing I noticed from the one screenshot… you should add all options to a single instance of the shortcode, do not add multiple
[connections] shortcodes to the page. Do that will only insert the director on the page once for each time the shortcode exists on the page.
re: Furthermore, I am unable to determine the category structure limitations and search capabilities from any of the material I’ve read. … re: I’m still looking for the category limitation/capabilities documentation.
Not sure I really understand… what do you mean by category structure limitations? Categories can be hierarchical but can not have duplicate category slug under the same parent category, just like WordPress categories. Is that what you mean? Or do you mean a method to limit which categories are displayed in the drop down Tile Plus? If that is what you are asking, there’s the exclude_category shorcode option.
I hope this as well as the link to further documentation help. Please let me know.