The easiest way to help your readers help themselves!
You can find out about FreshTags, view working examples and design and deploy it for yourself.
How Is It Used?
What Do I Need?
It depends on how you plan to use it. If you haven't tagged your pages with del.icio.us, you can still use FreshTags to share your del.icio.us bookmarks. If you don't even have a del.icio.us account, you can run FreshTags in "generic mode" - let the del.icio.us tag community do the heavy lifting for you! But to get the most out FreshTags, we suggest you tag your content yourself with tags that make sense to you and your readers. If you've already got a blog, then there's a bunch of ways to tag your posts.
How Do I Get Started?
Check out the blogroll on the right of sites using (various versions of) FreshTags. Then, peruse the different built-in layouts (drop-downs, scroll boxes, list etc) at the Build Page to get it just right. Finally, copy and paste the provided code snippets into your page or template (if using a blog). And away you go!
This lists only some of the features found in FreshTags - there are lots of other goodies to be found. If you're not sure what they are or like to suggest more, please join the discussion.
Works Off The Shelf ...
FreshTags supports a number of built-in presentation modes for listing either tags or titles:
- flat - just sprinkled across the page
- list - arranged as a vertical unordered list
- drop - a drop-down selection
- scroll - a scrollable box
- sub - plain text
... Yet Customisable
You can also customise your FreshTags layout by defining your own presentation (as HTML code) and through the use of styles. You can control the size, colour, position and other properties of each FreshTags element using style commands on your page, or through a linked external css file. This combination of customised code and stylable elements means that you can tweak to your heart's content.
Anticipates Your Readers' Interest
While your readers can choose tags on your page, FreshTags will also let you pick up on your readers' interests before they hit your page. How? Well, FreshTags will scan your readers' previous page for keywords that match tags you've specified. The previous page (or referring URL) doesn't have to be FreshTags-enabled: these keywords could be their search query or in the title too. Examples of websites with which FreshTags integrates in this way include:
- Google,Yahoo,MSN and most other search engines
- Technorati, Wikipedia, Open Tag Directory, Flickr, Furl, del.icio.us and most other social bookmarkers
- most blogs that natively support categories (eg. WordPress)
- and - of course - other sites using FreshTags!
Lastly, FreshTags now supports multiple tags! That's right: why limit your readers to just one choice? With multiple tags you can offer your readers the ability to drill-down to your content that most interests them. (Please select "flat-multi", "list-multi" or "scroll" as your tag type.)
Why and How?
FreshTags is a continuing riff on a blog hacking theme started in mid-2005 when bloggers, dissatisfied with the lack of category management in Blogger, began using social bookmarking services to tag their own pages to allow readers to find content by topic. Like all beautiful hacks, it was born of necessity but gave rise to novel and unpredictable consequences. FreshTags constitutes an open, collaborative, international jam session with ideas, discussion and code centered around the open mic stage at Freshblog (whence FreshTags got its moniker) - a blog devoted to blog hacks, extensions and news.
FreshTags' coder, frontman and principal roadie is Greg Hill - a long-time blogger and even-longer time doctoral candidate in Information Quality. Greg's interests include sprinkling rambling comments on other people's blog, avoiding his supervisor and pushing his opinions about. While he'd love to work for Google, he'd still take calls from Yahoo.
Other members of the ensemble include John at Freshblog (for ideas, discussion, bravely adopting early and shameless barrow-pushing) and Johan at ecmanaut (for more ideas, actual working code and inspiration). Shout outs to Singpolyma for adoption and extensions and Marc Morales for showing us the way with his server-side in-blog navigation.
Where Can I Read More?
- Categories Drop Down w/ Numbers?
- Categories Menu Upgrades
- Marc Has Cracked the Sidebar Menu!!!
- Categories Drop Down With Post Count
- Category Integration Between Sites
- Magic Delicious JSON Feeds
- Tag Passing: The Story So Far
FreshTags is a colaborative effort, released under community licensing. This openness means everyone is welcome to add to it, comment on it, extend it, suggest ideas and use it. Please attribute the author and let us know what you're doing with it by adding your blog to the BlogRoll or joining the discussion.
The current release is version 0.5. (Comments left in.)
|Jan 2006||FreshTags 0.5||added tag-grabbing for generic modes, archiving bookmarklet, defaults feature and low(er)-impact JSON fetching.|
|Dec 2005||FreshTags 0.4||improved support for multiple tags and included web documentation.|
|Dec 2005||FreshTags 0.3||major re-write: combined list/select layouts, customisation, multiple tags, tag extraction from referrer pathnames; FreshTags given a name; build and test pages created.|
|Oct 2005||Release 0.2||separate scripts handled select and list layouts; used published JSON feeds from del.icio.us; added archive page recognition|
|Sep 2005||Release 0.1||used wget and grep to scrape del.icio.us pages for tag names and counts to augment blog navigation, ftping the resulting javasript to a server|
If you want to find out what's going on, throw in some ideas or ask questions, head over to Freshblog and dive in. You can contact me directly at FreshTags@greg-hill.id.au, although I'd prefer it if troubleshooting and support queries went through the blog, so as to build up a knowledge base and avoid redundancy.
As a collaborative work-in-progress, there's a never-ending list of additions and enhancements to make. Feel free to share your ideas, experiences and suggestions. Or even better: code. Working, documented code. With explanations for the hard bits.
- More built-in layouts. Clouds, for instance, seem very popular.
- More integration. Other web apps and search engines from which to sniff out tags.
- More content. Why be restricted to displaying your blog posts in the sidebar? Why not your photos? Or other people's? Or encyclopedia excerpts? News headlines? What else?
- Blogrolling. Tag-driven peek-a-boo content from your friends and colleagues.
- Asynchronicity. As a rule, putting delicious on the critical path for page rendering is not a good idea: readers will not appreciate any delays in page loading due to delicious taking its time serving up JSON feeds. Future releases will look at fetching FreshTags after the page has loaded, with cheesy activity indicators in the mean time.
What else? You tell us. Head over to Freshblog and join the fray.
This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.1 Australia License.