A few weeks ago I came across a project in the DotNetNuke Forge which caught my attention, the Page Management module. After playing around with it locally I found that I really liked several things about it: Easy to use, looks good, little usage (if any) of post backs (it’s a great little module overall, I am just focusing on the items that caught my attention at the time). These few points I noted are an area I feel many modules (including my own) really need to focus on. About the same time I came across this module I also realized I have a need for a way to display tags on a DotNetNuke site. Back in 5.4 we added tagging to the DotNetNuke core and with the recent forum 5.0 release, I implemented it in the module. This is all fine and great, however, there was no way to display tags applied except at the content item level (ie. a forum thread). What if you want to display all tags used on a page or all tags used across a site? In this case, you have to use a third party module. At this point, I searched through our Forge and found one module that would meet most of my needs but not quite everything. Because of this need (for a tag cloud) and for my desire to show that module administration can be an easy process, I decided to create the DotNetNuke Rad Tag Cloud module.
Recently, Telerik added a new control to their collection: Rad Tag Cloud. As of DotNetNuke 5.6, DotNetNuke core shipped with a version of Telerik that included this control. Therefore, this module requires DotNetNuke 5.6. By utilizing this control, I pretty much had the primary view of my module complete and I simply had to focus on settings and populating the cloud with data. FYI, clicking any tag will take you to a search results page available in DotNetNuke installs that will show all items that have that tag applied and the module is completely localized. Before diving into setup, lets take a look at how the module looks when populated with data for most users:
Once you have the module installed, place it on a page in your portal. After placement on the page, if the module shows no results then you have no tags in your portal yet (check out the core forum module for something that exposes tagging). Otherwise, you should be getting results. Once you have some tag results displayed (you can go over to Admin –> Taxonomy as host and add terms to the Tags vocabulary), you can now tweak the module settings. Technically, you can tweak it without having tags but what is the point?
After navigating to the module settings screen, and scrolling to the bottom, you can see the module contains 3 tabs of settings. The first section is for general settings. From here, you can control the content filter (which allows you to display all site tags, all page tags or tags used in a specific module type). You can also control the way the results are sorted from this tab too. If at any point you are unsure of what a specific field does, simply scroll over the blue information button and a friendly help tooltip will be displayed with full details. Each tab has its own help tooltip specific to the view but all views access this tooltip the same way (as shown below).
Under the Appearance tab, you have settings that control the look and feel of the tag cloud. As you change the settings, the sample tag cloud will be updated in real-time (except for the applied skin, which requires an update. You can also see a demo of the 14 predefined skins). Besides the applied skin, you can also set the width of the tag cloud, toggling of match count display (on/off), Minimum number of match count results to display (ie. tag applied 3 times or greater to be displayed if set to 3) and the maximum results to display in the cloud. A sample of this tab can be seen below.
The final tab is the Advanced tab. Most items here do not need to be changed unless you want to tweak various CSS related elements of the tag cloud. I will spare you the details of what each one does but if you need help full details are available in the module. A screenshot of this tab can be seen below.
Well, that is all there is to the module. It’s not much but I think the two goals I set out to achieve have been met: A way to display tags used on a DotNetNuke page and show that module administration doesn’t have to be so boring!
If you are interested in using the module, you can download it from CodePlex. If you would like to demo the module, you can do so here. Please note that people who intend to develop the module either need a valid Telerik developers license or a DotNetNuke Professional license (which includes the Telerik license).