Thursday, February 10, 2005

Blogger: Wishes, etc.

This post is a list of features I'd like to see in Blogger, the tool I use for this blog. I don't think that there's anything that will surprise support at Blogger, or anyone who's looked around the blogosphere a while, but here's the list, followed by comments on some of the items on it.
  1. Tagging, or something that can be picked up by Technorati tagging and other uses of tagging. This could take the form of categories or keywords; either of these means of implementing tagging would be fine with me. Providing both would be ideal.
  2. Trackback.
  3. Some kind of forum for the Blogger/Blogspot community to discuss wishlist items such as these. Yes, this is a meta-wishlist item.
  4. Categories or keywords. This would have been on my wishlist even before tagging took off, since it makes large blog archives more searchable.

Of these, I'd rate tagging as overwhelmingly the most urgent. If I want to use trackback, I can get it from Haloscan, and in fact I've done just that. I don't know of any equally convienient way of using tagging. The nearest thing I've found via Google is this hack from Laura Limay at limon, but I don't think that it would work for me.

The following will work, and in fact is illustrated by the current post. But it's far too clumsy and laborious to be called a hack. (I believe the term is kludge.) It's based on the procedure described by Technorati.

First, include in the post you want to tag html such as the following.
<p>Technorati tag: <a href="http://technorati.com/tag/wishlist" rel="tag">wishlist</a>
You can include something like the above in a post template for your blog (see the bottom of the Settings/Formatting page).

Of course, you can make the text on your page anything you want, and can use multiple tags. That's what I've done at the end of this very post, so you can view the html source for an example.

Then, after you've posted to your blog, you need to ping Technorati (or whatever site(s) you need to make aware of your tags). You currently need to do this manually. It would be helpful if Blogger allowed you to automate this. I've put the link to the ping page on my bookmarks toolbar.

So you can use tagging with Blogger is you want to. But even with the shortcuts I've suggested (post template in Blogger, ping link on the toolbar) it's rather... I come back to the word laborious. This means that Blogger pages will tend go untagged, and so will not be accessible to some from Technorati and other sites that use tagging. It may be a factor driving bloggers from Blogger to rival tools that implement categories or keywords.

Tags: , , , .

Update, the following day. It seems that the bookmarklet described in this post from Matt at Oddiophile prompts you for tags and then generates the html code. Let's use it to add another tag or two below...

Technorati Tags: ,

I checked Matt's bookmarklet by previewing the post and clicking on the link to bookmarklet. The first (i.e. at the time most recent) link Technorati listed told me about this post from Ted at Humanize the Earth. Ted had a thought that had also occurred to me: hey, maybe you can use del.icio.us tags to make your Blogger blog seem to have categories, and hence tags. But Ted actually did something about it!

I think that I will use Matt's bookmarket. I link to Ted's as well because some may prefer it due to the integration with del.icio.us. Thanks to both Matt and Ted for sharing!

In closing... I still think that this belongs in Blogger itself, and indeed in any blogging tool other then very small simple ones.

1 Comments:

Blogger Mark I. said...

I am wanting to tell blogger people how to ping my aggregator. Do you know what I tell them to do?

Thanks!

11:39 AM  

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