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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Code Snippets: Why I did not like the delicious approach for creating categories

I have been getting emails about why I did not like the delicious approach to categorizing blogger posts. All the email were in response to my entry Categorizing Blogger Entries. The approach has a number of advantages but I did not like it for the following reasons:

1) Once you click on a category created through delicious, you will be moved outside the blogger domain.

2) If you want to add a posting from a computer other than yours you will have a harder time categorizing your post. Especially if you don't have access to the code that generates your delicious tags (such as bookmarklets). Even if you have good programming knowledge, the fact that you will be writing long HTML sentences for your delicious URLs makes you prone to spelling mistakes

3) This is of minimal importance: Categorizing a new entry takes three steps with delicious: creating a posting, creating a link in the category section and creating a tag in delicious. With my approach, it is only two steps: creating the posting and creating a link in the category section.

An advantage of the delicious approach is that it provides you with the ability to integrate with other cool applications and it enables people to search your blog entries through tags. I guess every approach has its advantages/disadvantages.

I have decided to divide my categories into two sections. One using the delicious approach and the other using the blogger search approach (my approach). I will run the experiment for two months. At the end of the period I will create a posting giving you the results. I will have a separate posting for this test sometime today or tomorrow to give more details

By the way, you might be interested in viewing postings made by Greg in his blog blogfresh. He has a number of nice hacks for blogs created through blogger.com

8 Comments:

  • Hi Taher,

    First off, I should mention that I'm a guest blogger at Freshblog, which is John's blog.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. Just to be clear, I in no way meant my remarks as a challenge - just trying to get to the bottom of it, from a user's perspective!

    1) Using the "search the blog" method will take you off your blog on to the blogger search page. Using delicious+FreshTags means that categories and posts are listed in the sidebar - your readers stay entirely on your blog where you control the template, scripts etc.

    2) Adding from a different PC. This is a concern. To get around it, you'll notice that I have a slightly hacked template on my blogs that provides a "tag" link that, with one further click, puts my content into delicious. This works on any browser from anywhere.

    3) Categorising an entry with delicious takes two steps (the same): creating a post and tagging it. (You don't need to create a tag in delicious; if it sees a new one it will assume it's new.)

    Vent - check out the sidebar listing of posts and the Tag link.

    I just re-read the above and I'm worried it sounds like I'm trying to bully you into using delicious - I'm really not. I just want to find out what the (mis)conceptions are against this method, with a goal of improvement.

    With that in mind, I look forward to hearing more about your experiment and will be sure to follow it.

    Cheers,

    -Greg.

    By Blogger Greg, at 1/18/2006 6:40 PM  

  • Greg,

    Thanks for the comment. I also appologize if my entry seemed to attack the delicious approach visiously :). I guess once I start my experiment and start to track traffic I will get a better idea.

    By Blogger Taher Baderkhan, at 1/18/2006 7:07 PM  

  • honestly speaking the del.icio.us method which Greg came up with is actually a stroke of genius! and since he's looking into asynchronously update the post listings under a tag when you select one, i'm keeping very high hopes for freshtags

    also, with performancing for firefox integrating del.icio.us in their next release (1.1), im sure that 2-click (you lazy ass! :P) will come down to one click (just hitting the 'Submit'), and will save you trouble. it comes out on 24th Jan, so keep a lookout for it!

    i'll be writing an article on tagging myself, since i've really become interested in the opportunities it presents!

    [adityavm.blogspot.com]

    By Blogger Aditya, at 1/18/2006 10:53 PM  

  • Yep, just to be clear: I didn't invent using delicious to make categories in blogger. (Read up on Freshblog and ecmanaut for the history.)

    My contribution is in getting the tags/content out of delicious and into your sidebar - which has become known as FreshTags - and has the side-effect of allowing readers to pass tags between blogs.

    BTW, as someone with an interest in research methods - do you feel like sharing your experimental design? I'm guessing the independent variable is the category method (search engine vs delicious - somehow randomised) and the dependent variable is the click-through rate? Or am I way off?

    By Blogger Greg, at 1/18/2006 11:33 PM  

  • Okay,

    Here's why I don't like the delicious approach as a novice blogger. First, as Taher states, using delicious takes you away from the main blogger page. Second, you have to do some editing to each post you make such that it works....yuck. So far, Taher's method is one step better. However, both fail on this account (Taher's method still goes away from your specific blog to the general Blogger search site). I'd love to have categories keep the reader right in my blog. Unfortunately, Taher (and I realize this may be the only way to do it) I don't like having to prefix my entries with the category name either. It would be great if you could simply write your post, click what category you want it in and your done. I'd love the category function to be seamless. The delicious method just seems way to tricky since you have to manually tag every post using manual coding. For someone like me who wants only two or three catergories forming what I envision as a real "multiblog", it needs to be much easier. I feel I jumped the gun by going with blogger, if wordpress, indeed, does this automatically. And, as so many have pointed out, this really is the only way to go if you want to blog a lot. Some of the best formats are www.tompeters.com or www.radicalcareering.com/hogblog/index.php. I'd love for categories to be like that.

    By Blogger Gabe, at 2/25/2006 12:51 AM  

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