Movable Type Tags Plugin

By Deane Barker on July 19, 2005

I played with the Movable Type Tags plugin tonight. It was...almost a great thing. I can see where it would work well for a lot of things, but ultimately, I uninstalled it.

The tag concept is actually very simple: it replaces “keywords” with a field called “tags.” Then, whenever you save an entry it parses the tags and does one of two things:

  1. If it finds a category named the same as the tag, it assigns the entry to the category

  2. If it doesn’t find a matching category, it creates it, then assigns the entry to it

This means you get a category for every single keyword you’ve ever used. And if you have category archiving turned on (most people do), you get an archive page for every single keyword.

This may be just what you want...or it might not. The thing I didn’t like is that it seems to be hard-coded into splitting the keywords field on spaces, not commas. When I put these keywords in an entry:

Bill Gates, Live 8

I ended up with four new categories: “Bill,” “Gates,” “Live,” and “8”. Not quite what I intended. I think I’d need to put underscores in the text or something.

So, the bottom line is that this is an all-or-nothing type situation: either you have categories, or you have tags, but they aren’t really going to co-exist very well.

Again, if you have a new blog, and you want to do tags from the start, then you’re set. However, if you have hundreds (thousands) of entries that have been “keyworded” without the intention of using those keywords as de-facto categories, then you might have your work cut out for you.

Still, good to see this tag around. Brad Choate wrote it, and he hasn’t done a bad thing with an MT plugin yet. MTKeyValue is a default plugin install for me. MTSQL was brilliant too.

Comments (2)

Mike says:

I played around with this plug-in recently as well, and I wasn’t a fan of all those categories either.

What I ended up going with was a method that if you put a keyword or words in the “keywords” field it simply placed them in the Keywords field in the MT database for that entry (like normal), then I used a perl script at the bottom of the entry template (by using the perl plugin for MT) and that took the keywords and put them at the bottom of the post with the standard [ rel="tag” ] so that it will be picked up by technorati.

I also edited my live search to search the keywords field in the database so that users can search for the tags. That also allowed me to make the tag listing at the bottom a link to my search for other entries tagged with that word.

Phil Weber says:

FYI, you can surround multi-word tags with quotes and the plugin parses them correctly, e.g.: “Bill Gates” “Live 8”