hack, tags, Utterly Off-Topic

Technorati, Tags and Heirachy

I’m new to the world of blogging but not new to web design and programming.
I’ve poked at Movabletype for a couple months and today is the first time I’ve found something I wanted to do that didn’t have an “official” fix. I finally had to apply a hack to get MT to do what I want.
That could be because I’m still mostly unfamliar with the application.. but I wanted to document what I did.. in case I ever need to reverse it.

Today at work I delved into the world of tags and specifically Technorati. The word “Technorati” just sounds cool. I’ve known of it for a while.. but never really had a good understanding of what it’s doing.
In a nutshell.. Technorati is a search engine for blogs.
I have a blog.. I logged into Technorati and “claimed my blog”. This essentially registers my blog on Technorati and allows it to be found by the tags used in the blog. Because I use MovableType, the “categories” are used to designate the tags. After claiming the blog I also had to update MTs settings to ping Technorati when entries are added. All of that was relatively painless.
For a long time I’ve failed to see the usefulness of filing entries under multiple categories in MT. Yes, a project may fall in multiple queues, but if I’m Joe Internet user.. and I arrive at BungalowDreams.. I get disappointed when I find out that all of the categories seem to have the same entries under them. I, Joe, would like to see groupings of posts.. that roll up nice and neat in a heirarchy.
So that’s the crux of the problem. I want to maintain a heiractical category list.. while allowing for deeper tagging.
The path to accomplish this seems to be to use the Primary category for the heirarchy and the additional categories for the tagging.
MT understands the concept of a primary category.. but when listing out the categories I couldn’t figure out a way to have MT show only those categories that have at least one post that lists -this- category as the primary category. Granted.. I only spent 20 or so minutes trying to figure this out.. so it may exist.. but it wasn’t easy to find so I gave up.. and went for the hack.
When I setup my categories I didn’t specify a Category Description. Honestly if “Diary” isn’t descriptive of what is contained in the category, then I can’t see how adding more words is going to clarify the meaning. To get this hack to work I went into all of my “primary” categories.. and added a description (in this case I just re-entered the category label as the description).
Then on the “MAIN” page I updated my category listing to only show those categories that have a description:

<MTIfArchiveTypeEnabled archive_type="Category"<div class="module-categories module">
<h2 class="module-header">Categories</h2>
<div class="module-content">
<MTSubCatIsFirst><ul class="module-list"></MTSubCatIsFirst>
<MTIfNonZero tag="MTCategoryDescription">
<MTIfNonZero tag="MTCategoryCount">
<li class="module-list-item"><a href="<$MTCategoryArchiveLink$>" title="<$MTCategoryDescription$>"><MTCategoryLabel></a> (<MTCategoryCount>)
<li class="module-list-item"><MTCategoryLabel>

Then I updaed the “Individual Entry Archive” to show the tags at the bottom of the page and link to Technorati: Ie, just in case Joe wants to find more blogs that are tagged with these same words.

<br />
<$MTEntryCategories glue=", "$><a href="http://technorati.com/tags/<MTCategoryLabel>"><MTCategoryLabel></a></MTEntryCategories>

As an example, the primary category of this post is “Utterly Off-Topic” (which it is when you consider the topic is “house blogging”). The secondary categories are “Tags” and “Hack”.

1 thought on “Technorati, Tags and Heirachy

  1. That is very kewl. I’ve been trying to futz with my site for Technorati as well, but under my free host (Blogsome, which has a server-side, limited version of WordPress), it’s not going so well. I am completely baffled by the coding involved in getting stuff to work.

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