(Health warning: this post is very boring...)
The last couple of weeks, and this weekend especially, have been a geeky code-pushing time for me as I try to cram in some much-needed site development.
I've finally turned on the tagging system, which lets you find blog entries, web pages, news articles and members by keywords, and I've been working for the last couple of days to tidy up the code that creates peoples' public profiles so I'm ready to start writing the tabs code (which lets you see all the content a member has created on UPSU.net). I've also just finished working my way through the 5,000-ish-lines of code that make up the UPSU Groups system, ready to incorporate group management into the site.
I'm going to ramble on a bit about each of these three features, because they're quite important to how UPSU.net is going to grow as a community site over the next 12 months. I hope...!
The tagging system has been in development for over a year now, and it's more-or-less finished, bar a couple of bugs that mean some results don't show up when they should.
"Tagging" is a way of adding keywords to your content - blog entries, web pages, news articles, your profile, and photos, to let other people search for your content - and everyone's content - about a particular "thing". For example, this blog entry is tagged with "development", and you can find other blog entries by me about development by clicking the tag link at the top of this blog entry.
This also means you can search for other members of UPSU.net by their interests, and once the new profile pages have been finished, this should make a lot more sense.
The best thing about the tagging system, though, are tag clouds, which graphically represent the top 100, 200, or however many tags which are the most popular in a given area. You can see what I mean by taking a look at the tags homepage.
One other benefit of this is how the tagging system works with blogs: your blog's web address is something like "upsu.net/blogs/johnsmith". If you tag a few blog entries with "football", you can find a list of all these blog entries at "upsu.net/blogs/johnsmith/football", and a miniature tag cloud - the top 15-or-so tags used in the blog you're viewing - is shown on the right of every blog page belonging to that author.
I've also tried to make it as easy as possible to tag blog entries - you simply have to type a new tag on each line in the "Tag this diary entry" box (when you write or edit your blog), and your tags can be more than one word, e.g. "top 40 chart tunes".
Everyone who's a member of UPSU.net has a member's profile. This lists as much - or as little - about you as you like, and also lists your UPSU.net content, including your forum posts, any comments you've made (but you can still leave anonymous comments if you'd rather simply by logging out when you want to post a comment), your blog entries, and - coming in the near future - your UPSU.net friends and group memberships.
Your profile also has a "contact me" page which lists your contact details - if you've specifically said you want them to be visible - and, for signed-in members, an "e-mail me" form which sends an e-mail to you without the sender finding out your e-mail address, as well as a "my picture" page if you've uploaded a photo of yourself.
If you're a contributor on UPSU.net, you can also create web pages and news articles, and upload photo galleries - these will also be shown on your public profile so you'll have an easy way to find all the work you've done on the site.
This is quite a lot of content so, to make it easier to sift through it all, I've begin splitting the profile pages up into "tabs" of content. At the moment you'll probably only see the three that are working - "about me", "e-mail me" and "picture"; you can get a sneak preview of how things might look below: