Plone Product: TagCloudExplorer

Plone Product: TagCloudExplorer by David Whelan Ingeniweb develops excellent Plone products. The TagCloudExplorer is a promising new one, which I’ve been fooling around with over the past month or so. The “tag cloud” gathers together Plone subjects into a visual collection, emphasizing the subjects that are used more often. You may have seen a similar tag cloud on blogs or news pages. I have decided to uninstall it because it slows down my Plone too much.

Ingeniweb is behind a number of cool products for Plone, which are listed on Sourceforge.  Their products are a great place to start if you’re trying to soup up your own Plone.  When I saw that they’d released TagCloudExplorer on Plone.org, I wanted to see how it worked.

Initially, I had problems.  When I unzipped the file, I was left with a product folder called trunk.  After restarting the server, it didn’t show up in my products list or in Quickinstaller.  It only took me a short time to realize that I needed to rename the folder to TagCloudExplorer and, on restart, it showed up.

Customization was easy although there appeared to be a number of more advanced ways of controlling the tag cloud that I didn’t try.  But it was easy to set the number of tags, to change them from linear (all same size) to exponential (varying sizes based on use), and to get the portlet to appear.  I customized the portlet to fit into my site but they were only format changes, not substance.  It’s great when a product works right out of the box.

I noticed pretty quickly that my main page was taking longer to load and, clicking through the tag cloud portlet, it would take a long time to retrieve results.  A good deal of the problem is my server but the speed differences between having the portlet active and inactive were substantial.  If you are running a real server, this product would be a great addition, as a means for your visitors to get instant aggregation of your content by popular tags.

I’ve uninstalled it for now and perhaps in the future I’ll have powerful enough hardware to take advantage of it!

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