July 21, 2006

Tagging the mix

OK, I switched back to MovableType a couple of weeks ago. Since then, I’ve been working on getting Blog to do every other little thing I wanted working in conjunction with MovableType. That’s also mostly done now (yes, expect a new Blog beta soon – I just need to test this build for a few days to make sure that everything works fine and to add a few more features for "classic" blog – such as a new <$BlogTags> tag :p)

Now that Blog works the way I want with MovableType, I’ve been turning my attention to the latest features that come with MovableType 3.3 🙂 One of these is the ability to use tagging. What that means (if you’re not up on tagging) is that you can use a set of keywords to tag the subjects (or areas) that a particular entry deals with. I mostly use tagging because I love tag clouds – they give me a more visual idea of the kind of subjects that I talk mostly about and what is important to me on a long term basis :p

Till MovableType 3.3, I was faking the tags. I was actually using categories to give the appearance of tags. The problem with categories is that they are a bit more static than tags. You have to first create a category and then set it up before you can use it. On the other hand, with tags, all you do is simply specify any keyword/tag you want on the tag field and the blogging framework handles all the nitty gritty stuff behind the scenes. So, being utterly lazy, it was no wonder that I opted to use tags :p

The problem was, that I had already set up all my entries in Blog using categories and I really hate to duplicate work. I didn’t want to have to go through hundreds of entries, look at the categories and then set up tags for them. I got around this in Blog by providing an option in the latest beta which asks you at the time of upgrade whether you want to convert categories to tags. But what about MovableType? I could have edited all the existing entries in Blog and have published to MovableType again but that also sounds too much like work :p So I sat down and started working on a new PHP script which would convert existing categories in a MovableType blog to tags.

The result is a new script which seems to work fairly well 🙂 You can find it under the Blogging Scripts section on my site if you need this particular functionality. Just remember that the script works only with MovableType 3.3 or later …