I spotted the Cumulus cloud soon after it was first released. At the time I had already released my e107 tagcloud plugin and was happy with how it looked. But the flash Flash based cloud was clearly much cooler looking than my traditional HTML tag links. A further release of the e107 plugin introduced gradient coloured links and a few new options but it still didn’t lok as cool as the Word Press tag plugin that Roy had put together.
Well thankfully Roy, the nice guy that he is, opened up his source code and released it freely out on to the net. This has meant that other developers such as myself have been able to adapt and pass on his code to a wider audience. Everyone wins! And in the same spirit I will distribute the e107 plugin for free to anyone that wants to give it a go!
So a big thanks to Roy, if you want to say thanks you can donate over on his site. If you want to thank me then all I ask is for back links from your sites.
So how did I adapt my tagcloud plugin to use Cumulus?
First of all, we need to include the js script that controls the cloud generation. Within e107 this is a simple procedure. Thankfully the API allows inserting into the header area of every page with a simple e_META script. The tagcloud plugin already has this script so all I had to do was slot a call to the new code in.
The Tag, URL and tag size are all passed into the JS script though some XML code. This was a great design by Roy and shows the value of such simple interchangeable formats. My plugin aleady pulls out the required parameters to pass into my own tag menu generation code, so all I had to do was wrap it in the required XML tags and pass it onto Roy’s code.
This was actually the hardest part to set up! I had to create a standard e107 admin page. Again this is fairly straight forward with e107, I simply created a few variables that are then passed into the tagcloud flash code.
The tagcloud is shown on e107 via a normal menu. Again the API allows addition of menus exceptionally easily. A quick change was required to call the new flash tag cloud, but also to ensure the old style cloud was shown to visitors who do not have flash capabilities. This is particularly useful for those concerned about whether search engines can still follow the links. Yes they can!
- Improved handling of special characters
- Greater flexibility on SEF links
- Order the HTML tags (not applicable to the cumulous!)
- Bug fixes
- Improved XHTML compliance (not quite 100%)
I have a few other ideas for improvement:
- Pick out tags relevent to the current content
- Improve ability for others to easily add config for their own plugins
- Add config files for popular plugins (eg Father Barrys)
- Technorati ping for those who adopt their tag format (yoursite.com/tags/tag+moretag)
- Fix bug which prevents some people entering tags on news pages
What else would you like added?