tagclouds and beyond

A few people have inquired about tagclouds on the right hand sidebar of this blog. Tagclouds are a simple, but creative and powerful way to harness the power of Web 2.0. Tagclouds have been popularized by del.icio.us , connectedy and flickr. A tagcloud is an automated way of generating folksonomy views. Folksonomy, according to wikipedia, is a collaborative way of categorizing information on the web, on the basis of freely chosen keywords (tags) by users.

There are several ways to create tagclouds. Pete Freitag explains creation of tagclouds using ColdFusion. However, I prefer doing it by using a handy service offered by TagCloud.com.

Technically a tagcloud is a collection of tags (which are clickable hyperlinks). Clicking on a particular link will take the user to a new page with the article abstracts to the RSS feeds associated with that tag. It will also display the other tags associated with that feed.

Typically, the way it works is as follows:
The user can specify a list of RSS feeds, either directly or through an OPML file. Tagcloud_5All these feeds are stored in a database. Then keywords associated with each feed are extracted using a web API, like the one provided by Yahoo’s content analysis web service. These keywords are then associated with appropriate feeds. Based on the frequency of the tag (as to how often is a particular tag associated with a feed), the tags are displayed in different font sizes (using CSS styling)

Tagcloud.com is based on an original idea of John Herren. There are other similar ways Tadalists_3to creatively use CSS styling to display content (text) on the basis of relevance/weight. 37signals uses weight-based CSS styling in its popular Tadalists. Based on the number of to-do things, a circle of varying sizes is displayed in front of the to-do list. A list with 10 items has a larger circle than a list with 3 items.

Let’s be technocratic.

One thought on “tagclouds and beyond

  1. tagclouds and beyond

    I’ve started to work with Web 2.0 technologies, primarily to learn more about them. I’ve recently posted…

Comments are closed.