Blogger Hacks, Categories, Tips & Tricks

Friday, October 07, 2005
Categories Drop-Down with post count
As you'll see in the sidebar, I'm sporting a new categories drop-down menu that automatically populates with my 20 most frequently used tags & provides a post count. There's a wee bit of polish required to have the menu look the way I'd like it to look, but we're working on that!!

The automatically-populating drop-down is a feature that I have long desired, and the post count is the cherry on top, enabling readers to see the relative importance of various categories as they make their selection. This added Freshblog feature is thanks to Greg, who blogs at both Vent & Speccy. He's generously allowing me to piggy-back on his scripts as a way of further testing the service.

There's a possibility (no promises... it's not my technology) that this might be more widely available at some point. If you're using the del.icio.us categories method, & you're interested in getting the functional menu on your blog, leave a comment here & I'll do what I can to hook you up!!

Many thanks to Greg. Holy cow, this must be beta-tester Friday or something!!

Update: Here's a wee bit o' the old feedback.

The drop down script pre-generates an anchor tag & so when you choose an option in the menu it takes you straight to the del.icio.us/acct/tag+tag/ page & will only show posts that are tagged w/ the anchor tag & something else. I have previously linked direct to individual tag pages & because of that I haven't used a universal tag (Freshblog, or whatever) on all my posts. Maybe I should've done that from the beginning. My logic was that if I was breaking the posts up into categories, I didn't need a global one.... This menu, though, would work more effectively for me if I did. Can I add a tag to all my posts in del.icio.us simultaneously, he asked with a laugh?

Posted at 3:42 PM by John.
4 Comments:
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Blogger Koorosh Eslamzade said...
Hi John,
thank you. I have learned a lot from your weblog and implemented many of them specially categories.
It is so much important to have categories and I started from pull-down menues but you konw it needs template manipulation and I prefere not to do that. Therefore I turned to Del.icio.us and made an account only for categories and collecting titles and I was happy with that until I found out there is a way for counting different categories indivitually.If your new mettod works with Del.icio.us , so there should be a way to have simple and alphabetic ordered categories that also have post number besides.

here is my weblog:
http://weblogcrawler.blogspot.com
and my del.icio.us acount:
http://del.icio.us/weblogcrawler
Please take a look, I appreciate your help.

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Blogger Greg said...
Hi Koorosh,

I'm the guy John mentioned above.

I had a look at your blog and see you're using the new delicious "linkrolling" technique via JSON. It's good stuff.

That said, I'm not sure how to get it to do tag counts. Delicious do have methods for extracting this info via an API (and also via SOAP or REST or somesuch), but they ask people to cache the results, to avoid having one hit to their servers for each pageview of your blog.

This is what my hack does. If you're interested in trying it out, I'm happy to help you. Have a look at the sidebar in my AFL Footy Player blog (under Watchlist) and see if that unordered list would be suitable for your blog. Or, you could try the drop-down approach as modelled on freshblog and vent.

If so, send me an email (as explained here) and I'll get you set up. (It involves adding three lines of javascript to your template.)

I should mention that this is a free and somewhat experimental stop-gap until blogger or delicious implement something more substantial.

Cheers,

-Greg.

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Blogger anniebluesky said...
I have a couple of questions.

First, what do the numbers after the categories stand for? Some I figured out, but some I can't. One reads 6/34. I think the second number is the post count. What is the first one?

Second. I didn't see this post until after I set up FreshTags. The way I read this, FreshTags automatically selects the x number of .... oops. Nevermind, I just figured out the second question myself. I thought it said that it would automatically show your most popular *posts*. But it shows your most popular *tags*. So that leads to another question. Can it populate your most popular posts automatically? As it stands, I went in and set a new tag "Popular" and assigned that tag to the posts I think are most popular. If FreshTags did that without my help...well, that would be something!

peace...
annie

ps/ this is my last edit...I promise!!!

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Blogger John said...
Annie,

1. The post count (highlights 6/30 or whatever) says that there are 30 posts tagged highlights & that 6 of them are also tagged w/ the currently selected / displayed tag. We wanted you to be able to find related content & get a sense of which tags are used together. The #'s will chage if you select a different tag.

2. Freshtags will auto-load a tag if you put it in the default box when you set up. On the build page you'll see that Greg's tag is "published" and this shows posts in his sidebar Freshtags install on the build page.

Mine is "highlights," & if you come to Freshblog from a non-freshtags site & not from a search, that's what you see. You could set your tag to be "popular" & Freshtags would list those posts by default.

Freshtags will still respond to passed tags and search terms, though, so this won't load for every user. Greg also points out in the comments after I upgraded this way that engines don't crawl scripts, so the freshtags menu links won't count as inbounds to those posts, & that may drop their visibility / traffic. I haven't noticed anything major, although I haven't watched too closely either!

Hope this helps.

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