Blog Engine .NET Tag Cloud Optimization

For all of the amazing blogs and websites that are out there, hundreds exist that are just average. Most of us are not experts, like Eric Lippert, who can write with authority on a single topic for years and have interesting and new things to say. Instead, there are blogs like mine. I write about whatever is interesting to me at the time. As the years progress, what I write about changes, and I want my website [Blog Engine .NET] to reflect that.

As I create new posts, they are shown on the front page till they get old. However, I have found that the default Tag Cloud widget is only interested in what I have written about most. For example, I took a motorcycle trip with my brother, so I wrote extensively about it. Since that trip almost two years ago, Arkansas was the top item on my Tag Cloud. I have nothing against that wonderful state, but I felt that it made my website out of date.

I have made a simple one line code change to the Tag Cloud that makes it more relevant. Instead of using tags from all 190 posts on my site from the last 2 years, I changed it to only consider tags from posts that are less than 1 year old. After this change was made, the Tag Cloud immediately updated and more accurately reflected what I have been writing about recently.

Now for the details, I’ll assume you’re familiar with Blog Engine .NET:

1. This example is using version 2.0, I have not tested it with other versions.
2. Go to the file (from the root of the source code download) BlogEngine.NET\widgets\Tag cloud\widget.ascx.cs
3. Using your favorite text editor (because we don’t need to compile anything) go to line 197.
  a. Method private static SortedDictionary<string, int> CreateRawList() method
      The old method

foreach (var tag in Post.Posts.Where(post => post.IsVisibleToPublic

With a minor modification highlighted, we can adjust the time to just the last year’s worth of posts.

4. With the minor change in the method, save the file, and upload it to the same relative path on your Blog Engine .NET installation and next time you call a page with the Tag Cloud on it, it will automatically re-compile and the cloud will be up to date.

Sorry that I used images instead of text, but I wanted the color to come out nice. If you’re nervous to make the code change yourself, you can download the one file to install yourself. (1.84 kb)

Happy Coding!

Hogan Haake