February 24, 2006

Tags, categories and changes

After getting the latest builds of Blog to work, I have decided to remove Ultimate Tag Warrior from the mix here on SM. This is not due to any issues with UTW itself – it’s a great plugin and does the job well – but due to me realizing that UTW was overkill and that for what I was doing, it introduced overhead that wasn’t needed 🙂

Basically, I post all my entries from Blog. I never use the WP admin interface much except to remove spam. I do all my editing, posting and other entry management stuff via Blog itself. The only reason I was looking for a tag cloud mechanism was so that I could show a visual representation of the various topics covered on this site and let somebody interested drill down easily to only the posts that interested them. UTW allows you to do all that but in my case, I was simply converting categories to tags to do this. Since the categories are a built-in feature of WordPress, it occurred to me that I didn’t need the overhead of UTW (which would slow down XMLRPC to an extent) if I had a plugin which displayed a tag cloud based on my categories.

Enter the WordPress Heat Map plugin which does exactly that 🙂 After a brief search of the Net, I actually found a couple of different alternatives. The other one was the Weighted Categories plugin, which apparently inspired the author of the Heat Map Plugin. However, the Heat Map plugin appeared to be better maintained and supported and so, I went with that :p Incidentally, the author of the Weighted Categories plugin is apparently working on a way to make his plugin work with keywords instead of categories. I would be interested in that if it didn’t create too much overhead and worked without any issues with XMLRPC-based posting. But I doubt it … There is another plugin which supports keywords – the Keywords plugin, and the author is apparently working on tag cloud kind of support. Unfortunately, it works basically the same as UTW (just not as well :p) and so, I don’t see the point to pursuing that one either :p

Basically, what I’d like from a keyword tagging plugin for WP, is for the plugin to examine each new post, identify the keywords automatically and then add them as tags. Of course, at the moment, that appears to be too much to ask for :p The biggest problem appears to be identifying the keywords. Yahoo Content Analysis doesn’t do too great a job of it as I’ve mentioned before and while Tagyu does do a much better job, it is abominably slow and tends to end up in my XMLRCP session timing out before the analysis is done :p The best solution would be something that the plugin can do itself instead of contacting an external server but the implementation is the key ….