Tag clouds, part 3

I have been looking around for a tag cloud creator coz the existing widget does not update itself properly (the timing of the update seems to be random). There are a few issues in this, the first one being the confusion between tags and categories. Some off line tag cloud creators are available (such as Tag Cloud Generator). But for them, tag is another name for ‘category’, and rightly so coz tags are a very recent feature and the word was used interchangeably with ‘category’ till very recently as far as wordpress is concerned.

I did a little more research on xmlrpc and how it can be used with wordpress.com. 5 Advanced Techniques for Creating Plugins and Widgets for WordPress.com provides some interesting information. The primary source, however, is XmlRpc and XmlRpc Implementations. A Microsoft.Net XmlRpc class library is available with documentation courtesy Cook Computing.

I previously suggested that tags are not accessible via xmlrpc (I was using the metaweblog api from the above library). I was wrong. Tags are indeed supported (wordpress calls it ‘keywords’ though). Windows Live Writer as well as quite a few desktop blogging softwares support this.

So, finally, it seems that you have to write your own tag cloud generator. Since tags are supported, you can use the xmlrpc libraries to write a simple application that pulls all the posts, parses their tags property while maintaining a count, and then generates code in –
<a href=”tag-url”><font size=”tag-font-size”>tag-name</font></a>
– form for each tag. But this will have to be done after every post or batch of posts or whenever you want to update the cloud. You will have to run the software, get the tag cloud code, and paste it in a text widget or on a dedicated page on your blog. Another disadvantage is that the time and bandwidth required to accomplish this will increase in direct proportion to the number of posts.

I will provide one piece of information – to access tags from the XmlRpc.Net library, copy the MetaWeblogAPI.cs file to your project and modify the Post structure by inserting public string mt_keywords; somewhere in the structure.

It works for me, but the method is nothing more than a kludge.

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  • Lewis Moten (inSL: Dedric Mauriac)  On January 26, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    Man, I wish I had found this earlier today to figure out the mt_keywords part. I am only finding this post after I finished my product to infuse my posts with tags and found you through the end-result.

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