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New Product Ideas - Blog "Best Of"

I resolved to occasionally put out ideas for new products and services a while back. My transition the Movable Type has brought a whole new series of opportunities to implement some of the ideas I have had for Wizbang.

One idea that is a topic of current relevance is the possible use of a "Best Of" plug-in for MT. For radio talk show listeners the concept of "Best Of" should be familiar. When a talk show host is on vacation the station plays "Best Of" tapes compiled from previous shows. I propose a MT plug-in to accomplish the same task on MT blogs while the author is taking a break.

How I envision the plug-in working is to use the Categories feature of MT to get various articles from a selected category. The reason for using categories is to be able to include (and by extension exclude) a relevant subset of articles for inclusion in the "Best Of" class. Take my News category, there's almost nothing in that category that would work as a "Best Of" entry because they are all time sensitive posts; they were relevant to the news of the day when they were first posted, but now they are stale. My Stories category is an example of a set of posts that are basically timeless. Many of these stories were lightly read at the time of their posting, and recycling them is actually a good use for them.

As a blogger puts more and more material into the archives, these items are basically forgotten. Rerunning them temporarily in the first post on the main page (without altering the actual position in the archives) is the goal of this plug-in. Sort of like the One Year Ago Today plug-in on steroids.

Here is my basic outline of a spec...

Major Tag

MTBestOfIsBestOf - True/False (1 or 0) switch to allow the "Best Of" that turn the feature on or off. Using this system allows you to leave the full set of tags in your template during normal blogging. They just won't do anything until you set the flag to ON.

Tags under MTBestOfIsBestOf

MTBestOfCatagory- The MT category from which to get best of material.
MTBestOfDuration- The length of time (in hours) that a post should stay in the "Best Of". After X number of hours the next entry in the category would cycle into the "Best Of" slot.
MTBestOfItems- The number of "Best Of" items to display
MTBestOfCriteria - The selection criteria to be applied to the "Best Of" category for picking eligible posts.

Now when a blogger needs to take time off they can keep the front page fresh. Just like radio, if you've already read the story you can simply keep surfing. It's sort of like the lame NBC promo's from a few years ago for their Thursday night repeats: "If You Haven't Seen It, It's New To You"

Anyone want to develop this? I guarantee that I would use it


Comments (4)

My thoughts...The ... (Below threshold)

My thoughts...

The Duration tag wouldn't work at all. The tags are only read when MT builds the page and the page is only rebuilt when you save an entry or a comment. There'd be nothing to trigger a rebuild when the time ran out. So if anything, the Duration would only be a minimum duration; a time during which the list wouldn't be rebuilt even if the page was rebuilt.

I'd need to know a little more about the Criteria tag, but the rest of your request can be handled by three other plugins working together. You can use the RandomEntries plugin to get a random entry, one of the category filtering plugins to select a cateogory or list of categories from which to draw entries, and the CacheThis plugin to make sure that the random entry stayed on the page for a minimum amount of time.

The criteria would be possi... (Below threshold)

The criteria would be possibly a search term to narrow the list of items in the category that would be used by the RandonEntries plugin. I'm not sure what all the searchable items are, so if things like a range of post ID's, a date range, or a search expression could be applied to the category to build the set of posts that would be cycled through by the RandomEntries plugin that would be great.

I gather then that the code would have to be inserted and removed from the template if I was to use the other plugins? One of my thoughts was that you could have this block of tags in your main template, but they would be dormant until a binary T/F was set in the template. I guess that still entails editing the template and rebuilding, but it probably easier that remembering where and when to put the whole code block in. Personally I would take it either way...

Thanks for the info on the other plugins...

See, I think picking a "bes... (Below threshold)

See, I think picking a "best of" sounds really egotistical. If ANYONE should be picking a "best of", it should be the readers.

That's just my opinion.

I picked the name "Best Of"... (Below threshold)

I picked the name "Best Of" for the analogy to talk radio. In operation it would be here's a story from the archives you may not have seen.

My though was that if the last post sits at the top of the page for a week things get stale. Of course VodkaPundit was away for over a month and he was still pulling heavy traffic.




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