Friday, February 06, 2009

Make a 'categories' box in Blogger

I love the keyword feature that Blogger added a while back. Blogger calls them labels, but they're just keywords. I like tagging posts with keywords and being able to view all the posts for a keyword. I even spend a little time now and then pruning down my keyword list, realizing that no reader is going to find a huge list useful. 

For a personal and wide-ranging blog like this one, the keywords make it easy for me to see what topics I'm blogging about most often. You might learn something about yourself from this. Maybe you're obsessed with potatoes and never knew.

Last week I decided that if I couldn't and wouldn't limit my blogging to one subject, then I could at least present the posts according to a few major categories. So I created a category box and put it up top on my right column.

To make the box, I added a Link List gadget. I gave the box the title Categories, and for the URLs of the links, I used the same URLs that Blogger uses for some of my labels...I just selected one and copied the link address, and got a URL like this

So all I've done here is manually put links to these particular labels at the top of my page. 

The alternative would be to use extreme label discipline and limit myself to just a few labels. But that's completely unrealistic. :) 

A fun variant on this would be to create a gadget that gets the post count for each label and displays links for the top three labels, say. But that would require code. 

Of course with a plugin-like thing like this, someone might have created one, so I did a brief search. I didn't find anything like that, although I see that there are tag-cloud-style gadgets out there, so probably one could simplify the code from one of those (since they have to know how many posts-per-label in order to display a proper tag cloud) into what I'm describing. 

That kind of thing would be dynamic content, which I love, but I don't really want that in this case. I'd do this mainly to learn how to write a blogger gadget. 


  1. Consider this idea swiped.

  2. Hey, I was worried that this idea would either a) seem so obvious as to be stupid (kind of my metier, really, but it worries me at times) or b) not quite make sense to someone who didn't already know a lot about html and blogger. So thanks.

  3. Oh, but I seem to be an idiot when it comes to looking up how to do stuff like this in Blogger.

    Where do I find the Link List gadget?

  4. Never mind! I did it! All by myself!

    I'm a REAL boy now.

    Next I'll tie my shoes.