Technotags WordPress plugin

Thought I’d see out the year by releasing my first WordPress plugin. The Technotags plugin allows you to specify Technorati, Flickr, and del.icio.us tags as well as geo tag your post using Google Maps. Tags are stored as custom fields in your WordPress database. I implemented tags in this way as I believe that your posts’ metadata, the tags themselves, should be stored separately from the post itself to future-proof your tags rather than lock them into post content.

Get the plugin here. Let me know how you get on and please be gentle as this is not only my first WordPress plugin but also one of my first attempts at PHP scripting.

Now GPS enabled

Stand in the place where you live
Now face north
Think about direction
Wonder why you haven’t before

Stand by R.E.M

I’m now much more location aware since buying a GPS receiver, not that I ever used to feel particularly lost but it’s comforting to know my exact location to 14 decimal places 😉 I’ve always had a bit of a geeky thing for satnav but many of the commercial systems are way too expensive. I found a cheapo GPS receiver for less than £40 and with my ageing P900 and a couple of shareware apps I’m away!

I’ve found there’s a whole array of geo-aware services out there. Check out Flickr geotagging and geocaching.com for starters.

I’ve also updated my WordPress metadata plugin to recognise lat/long tags. So to see where I am from time to time check out the geotag links in my posts. I’ve signed up for a Google Map key so one of my Xmas scripting projects is to create some maps for this weblog.

Specifying Flickr tag wildcard

Is it possible to specify a wildcard character when searching Flickr tags? For example, suppose I want to find all geotagged pictures, I would normally have to specify several tag URLs e.g.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/tags/geotagged
http://www.flickr.com/photos/tags/geotag
http://www.flickr.com/photos/tags/geotags

etc. but with a wildcard I could in theory at least search for

http://www.flickr.com/photos/tags/geotag*

Anyone know if this is possible? Same applies to other tagging services such as Technorati and del.icio.us.

Exploring WordPress metadata

Sweet. My adventures with WordPress have lead me to explore the metadata capabilities of the posts database. I wanted a way of adding Technorati tags to my posts in such a way that I can optionally render the same tags as Flickr or Del.icio.us tags. Plus I wanted to future-proof my tags (metadata). There are a number of existing plugins that allow you to add Technorati tags for example and editors such as Ecto even allow you to specify tags by importing from your Del.icio.us account. But in most of the plugins that I found, tags are added into the post body itself and are not stored as seperate metadata in the database. I didn’t want to mix my data with metadata so I looked around for a solution that allowed me to create metadata using WP’s custom fields. Aha! I thought, another excuse to learn a bit more about the WordPress gubbins and PHP. So I delved, read the WP Codex of wisdom and wrote my first plugin.

My first WordPress plugin allows you to add tags as custom fields then render them as hyper-linked tags, Technorati tags by default but also Flickr and Del.icio.us tags and in fact tags for any web service that you care to develop an API for. I’m very pleased with the result. No doubt there’s already a plugin that does something similar but heck, this is my plugin and I had fun learning more about WordPress in the process of writing it. I don’t have any plans to release it to the wider world but if anyone’s interested, even if it’s from the point of view of a newbie like me who wanted to find out how to write WP plugins and to explore WP metadata, then drop me a line. The tag links you see at the end of this post are courtesy of my first few steps with PHP.