Interesting Questions about the Automatic Tag Generator Plugin for Live Writer

Hello again. I thought I would take this opportunity to share with you some of the more interesting and common questions about this plugin that I have received. Incidentally, if you want to try it out you can download it here. Don’t forget to put it in your plugins folder. The last version was uploaded at about 11PM CST on 12/1/2008. Yes, you are correct in assuming I have no life. 🙂

By the way, if you need another sign I have no life has anyone besides me noticed that the stats for our blogs has been down since about 11 last night? I shows 0 pageviews for me today there but my Statcounter shows 80 pageviews for today. No I don’t sit up all night and compare stats but I do follow it. I am a developer and like statistics. I think there is a correlation anyway.

When you see some of these questions you may wonder if you email or message me that I may put your email on a blog entry like this. Have no fear. Names are changed to protect the innocent and sometimes the not so innocent. The question you ask may be what someone else is wondering anyway.

Why are you beta testing a plugin? Doesn’t it either work or not work?

Under normal circumstances you might be correct. However this plugin differs in that tag generation is subjective to each user and what I like may not be what you like. So I thought I would entrust it to a few hundred of my friends and see what feedback is obtained. Because it is subjective, and reputations are formed and altered overnight I want to make sure I get it right.

Why do I have to see a form popup and look at the tags? I just want it to insert what the tags are and let me go on my way.

You are probably the same user who comes up to me at work and says “I just want to click a button and have it work.” No, you can’t have it that way. This is not Burger King. You can’t have it “your way”. Why? Well, because I said so first of all. Second because there is going to be times when tags are generated that you won’t like. If you misspell a word and use it more than once it will end up being included as a tag. And that would be embarrassing to you AND to me.

This next statement is from a developer: I downloaded your dll and looked at it in Reflector and the code is a mess.

Well it is good to know that someone has less of a life than I do. Only such a person would take the time to decompile a beta project and criticize the code. But here is the scoop on that. Originally this was just going to be used for me when I wrote it. It was going to be quick and dirty and I was going to be done. But then others I talked to thought this would be a good idea for users in general. So I switched gears and began looking at it through those eyes. Have no fear eventually I will put everything into neat little functions that will be pleasing to you and easy for you to rip off. (I can say that with a smile on my face cause I give away code every day!)

I love this plugin!

Thank you. The check is in the mail.

Why do you split words up like “Windows Live Writer”. Shouldn’t that all be one tag?

This question reflects a lack of understanding of how tags work. It does not matter what order they are in. In fact, splitting them up is actually going to generate more results as people who look for Windows and Writer alone are also going to see your post.

Why do you use the Microsoft Word thesaurus? It sucks.

The Microsoft Word thesaurus usually sucks only when the user tinkers with it and makes it suck.

I have noticed that the tags seem to have no logic at all in how they are chosen. Can you tell me how you decide what to include as a tag or what not to include?

Nope. It is an ancient Chinese secret handed down by my ancestors in Ireland generations ago. Just kidding.

Here is how it works. If the word is 3 letters or less it is kicked out. If it has endings such as “ly”. “ed”, “ing” and a few others it is kicked out. If it has more than 3 meanings it is kicked out as it is presumed a common word. If it is a verb but it is capitalized I assume it to be a noun. (e.g. excel or Excel) and it is retained as a tag. If it has no definition and no related words and it is not used more than once in the post it is kicked out. It it has no definition, but has related words and those words return as a noun (or verb if capitalized) that word is retained as a tag. If the word has any kind of number in it it is kicked out.

Are you dizzy yet? I know I am! I am amazed I came up with the logic that does it as good as it does at this point as I am not anywhere close to an English major. (My friends are saying “we know this” and smile.)

Don’t use Microsoft Word. Microsoft doesn’t support automation of Microsoft Word and it is poor form to automate Microsoft Word from a dll.

Hmmmm good point. Lets see what I can think of…..

I know! Don’t use the dll!

I suppose I could have written my own thesaurus but I would have written a 15 megabyte dll then.  And I know that would please everybody!

Why do you make me download and install the .NET Framework 3.5 to use this little plugin?

Because I can…. 🙂

Seriously though, it is worth the upgrade.

After I click “Generate” it doesn’t do anything while the tags are generating.

I will work on a sound and graphic explosion that will show while you are waiting. I also thought of using the “Jeopardy” theme.

Seriously though that is noted as a good suggestion.

Well that’s it. Thanks for all your comments and suggestions. We are almost done to where we can put this out for everyone. And if this sounds like something you sent me don’t be offended. I was just having a little fun. 🙂

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