Eduglu and the aggregate social tag cloud

I’ve been monkeying with a Drupal site that looks like it could fulfill most (even all?) of the mythical Eduglu concept – a website that aggregates all feeds published by students in a class/department/institution, and helps contextualize them in the various groups/cohorts/courses each student participates in. It’s getting really close – it can currently suck in all kinds of feeds, auto-tagging items, and even lets students create their own groups and associate feeds with them. There are issues, to be sure, mostly with respect to honouring the original tags in the aggregated items, and with taking advantage of the social rating system added to the website, but it’s so close I can taste it.

At the moment, there are almost 1200 items aggregated from feeds published by 19 users. It’s only been running for a week, so that’s not a bad start…

One added bonus of using Drupal for this, is that I can drop the Tagadelic module into place to generate a tag cloud representing all aggregated items’ tags. Here’s the tag cloud from the current prototype site:

Eduglu Tag Cloud

Just seeing that aggregate cloud makes me smile. I’ll have to work on things like adding a group-only tag cloud, and maybe a tag with date parameters (which could be REALLY useful to build a movie displaying the shifts in tag weights over the course of a semester or year…)

As an aside, I’m pretty sure that this is the first post that I’ve added to all of the main categories of my blog: General, Work, and Fun. I’m pretty sure there’s something to that…

Simple Tags – Tag Autocompletion in WordPress

When I switched from Drupal to WordPress as the software that runs my blog, one of the things I missed was tag autocompletion while writing posts. Drupal has a great freetext tag field, including an AJAX utility that automatically checks with the server for tags that match what you’ve started to type in the tags field.

And now, WordPress has that too! With the Simple Tags plugin. It has some other features, too (but I haven’t tried them yet) but the tag autocompletion is killer. Why isn’t that included in a stock WP install?

Here’s what the autocompletion offered as I entered the tags for this post:

SimpleTags Autocompletion

Converted to WordPress 2.3 Tags

When I upgraded to 2.3, I left my 500+ categories in place. I used categories as tags, so didn’t see the need to convert them over to the native tag format. I’ve thought about it some more, and just bit the bullet. All of my categories have been converted over to tags (I think), and now I’ll use categories and tags in slightly different ways.

Categories will be used to define the “type” of post – work, personal, fun, etc…

Tags will be used to describe the “content” of the post – wordpress, rant, travel, etc..

It looks like a few Categories weren’t completely converted over to be Tags, so I’ll see if there’s any manual intervention I need to do, but that’s the plan for now.

I do REALLY wish the Tags field had autocomplete, as Drupal’s freetagging input field does. It’s soooo hard to remember the exact spelling/tense of all of the tags (is it folksonomy? folksonomies? etc… autocomplete would have me there at folks.)

Upgraded to WordPress 2.3

Seems to have worked, so far. The “Similar Posts” plugin borked, so I had to disable that. Everything else Just Seems To Work™.

So, what’s the difference between Categories and Tags now? I used to use Categories as tags. Are they both interfaces to the same table in the database? One way to find out…

Update: oh. they’re separate things. well, that’s silly. so, now all of my old /tag/tagname links that used to point to category pages now point to empty “tag” pages because none of my posts have actual tags. That’ll be fun to clean up…

Update 2: wasn’t so bad. just went into the permalink settings and had “tags” point to /tags and left my “categories” pointing at /tag. Not exactly what they had in mind, but whatever.