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This chapter is from the book

Categorizing a Weblog

Although Radio's weblog editor is designed primarily for the creation of a single weblog, this constraint can be overcome by organizing entries into categories.

Categories, which are disabled when Radio is installed, make it possible to file each weblog entry in one or more topic areas of your own creation. They're off when Radio is installed but can be turned on using the Categories preference.

There are six categories set up when Radio is installed: the home page (the main category) and five others: My Friends, My Hobbies, My Interests, My Organization, and My Profession. You can add other categories and delete all the existing categories (aside from the home page).

Figure 3.3 shows the weblog editor with categories turned on.

Figure 3.3Figure 3.3 Filing a weblog entry in two categories.

A weblog entry is filed in one or more categories by marking their check boxes (as in Figure 3.3). The Home Page box is selected by default; remove this mark to keep an entry out of the main weblog.

To enable categories, click the Prefs link on any page of the desktop Web site and look for the Categories link in the Weblog section.

There are several ways to present the weblog entries that are filed in a category:

  • Entries can be displayed on Web pages and in an RSS file specific to that category.

  • The Web pages for a category take the same form as the main weblog and have a design based on a theme. If you don't choose a theme, the weblog's theme is used.

  • A category's home page is the weblog URL followed by /categories/categoryNameHere. (Spaces are stripped from the category name and the first letter is always lowercase, so My Interests becomes /categories/myInterests and Politics becomes /categories/politics.)

  • New entries to a category can be publicized on Weblogs.Com, the service listing newly updated weblogs, or omitted from that site.

  • The category's RSS file has the URL of the category's home page followed by /rss.xml, such as /categories/politics/rss.xml.


If you are ever in doubt about where Radio is publishing something—such as a weblog entry sent to a new category—view the Events log. It contains a link to each file upstreamed by Radio to a Web server.

  • Entries can be offered only as RSS files.

  • Entries can be routed somewhere else using Web services that support XML-RPC or SOAP, two protocols for exchanging information between Internet-connected computers.

Each category is given its own folder inside Radio's www\categories folder. The name corresponds to the category's URL.

When you publish a category as a Web page, it can function as its own weblog with a name, description, and appearance completely different than the main weblog.

As an alternative, a category can serve as a section of the main weblog. My own weblog has categories for each of the subjects I cover most often: Radio UserLand, Salon Blogs, Java, and technical jargon. Each category uses the same design as the main weblog.

The most unusual way to use a category is as a holding place for information that is routed elsewhere.

For example, the Advogato Web site at http://www.advogato.org is a popular community for open-source computer programmers and other developers. Each site member can offer a diary describing current programming projects, bug fixes, current technology news, and other chatter.

As described in Chapter 1, "Tuning in to Radio UserLand," diary entries can be submitted to Advogato using an XML-RPC Web service.


Footbridge also can be used to send weblog entries to LiveJournal diaries and weblogs published using Moveable Type or Blogger software. The program is distributed as a .root file that should be placed in Radio Userland's Tools folder. To find out more and download the file, visit http://markpasc.org/ code/radio/footbridge.

This can be accomplished with Footbridge, a Radio add-on program offered as shareware by Mark Paschal. The software forwards a category to Advogato interface using XML-RPC. Once you set up a category to use this, all entries posted to that category show up on your Advogato diary.

By combining categories with Web services, Radio becomes an authoring tool for anything that offers a public XML-RPC or SOAP interface.

Configuring a Category

You can edit an existing category to change its name, description, and the way it is presented on the Web by following these steps:

  1. Click its name on the desktop home page in the Categories list below the weblog editor.

    An Edit Category page is displayed (Figure 3.4).

Figure 3.4Figure 3.4 Tinkering with a weblog category.

  1. Use the Category field and Description text area field to adjust these settings.

  2. The name and description are used on Web pages and RSS files for the category (assuming that it has a theme design which makes use of this information, as most do).

    A change to a category's name is reflected in Web pages and RSS files, but its URL remains unchanged.

  3. To present the category as Web pages, check the Render This Category in HTML check box.

  4. To make the category show up on Weblogs.Com, check the relevant check box.

  5. If the category is published as Web pages, you can choose a design with the Theme drop-down menu.

    Once you're familiar with themes, you can assign one to the category. To use the main weblog's theme instead, choose None.

  6. Click Submit to make your changes official.

The changes you have made to a category won't be reflected in the site until you publish a weblog entry that belongs to it. (A way to speed this process up is discussed in Chapter 5, "Upstreaming Files to a Web Server.")

Creating a New Category

There's no restriction on the number of categories a Radio weblog can offer.

To add a category, follow these steps:

  1. On the desktop home page, click the New link at the top of the Categories list (below the weblog editor).

    The New Category page is displayed, containing the same fields as the Edit Category page described in the preceding section.

  2. Fill out the fields as desired.

    The name you choose for a category is used to create its URL, so a shorter name creates a less cumbersome address.

    One way to get around this issue is to create the category with a short name that would make a good URL, save the category, and then edit it later to lengthen the name.

Deleting a Category

You can delete categories as well, which removes them from the list below the weblog editor. Follow these steps:

  1. Click the Prefs link on any desktop Web page to see the preferences page, and then click the Categories link in the Weblog section.

  2. Click the Categories page link.

    The Categories page is displayed, listing all of your categories.

  3. Check the check box of the category (or categories) to delete and click the Delete button.

Deleting a category does not remove any of the category's weblog entries, files, or folders.

If you want to remove a category's Web pages or RSS file from the Web, open the www\categories folder and delete the category's folder. Within minutes, Radio will automatically detect the change and delete the files.

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