Edmundo Hidalgo has written a plug-in called Cat2Tag. This is a close approximation of a plug-in that I was considering writing; one that enabled you to create categories on the fly. I’ve had a need for this several times already, and I’ve only been on WordPress for about a month for this blog.
This is a pretty nice implementation of what I was looking for – essentially Edmundo makes the category system tag-like. In fact the implementation shares a lot with the way that the new pop-up del.icio.us interface allows you to add tags, by selecting one from a list of available tags or by typing a new one in, free-hand. Once you’ve added a tag, it becomes a category for future posts.
My implementation idea was a little different, I envisioned a blank form field in the category section that when selected and filled would add the new category to the list. However, since this is already written and seems to do what I want it to, I’m not sure there’s a need for me to write a new one. The only drawback that I can see (and this is a drawback shared by my vision as well) is that it doesn’t seem to allow for heirarchical category additions. Perhaps I’ll hack Edmundo’s php to allow that at some point.
My only other hesitation is my innate discomfort in using the tag concept for an organizational model. I’ve been pondering this a lot recently with respect to Furl, del.icio.us, and Technorati tags and have solidified my thinking about it (surely the subject of a future post), but I think in this case my hesitation is much more one of semantics than of any real substance – essentially for Edmundo’s plug-in you can simply replace the word “tag” with the word “category”; the behavior and taxonomic architecture remains unchanged. This is not so for some other folksonomy systems. To resolve my internal conflict (and to keep clear the distinction between my WP categories and the Technorati tags I add to posts) I’ve hacked Edmundo’s plug-in so that it uses the word “category” instead of “tag” wherever it’s displayed on the page. I’ve also modified the css to change the size of the tag <span>; it was a little too large for my taste.
The only other drawback of using this plug-in from my point of view is that it leaves me without a nascent project to be pondering on. Oh, well, I’m sure something will come up….