Old Site

This site is archived. I now update and maintain my blog here.

A couple of Umbraco packages I'd like to see

I'm really happy with Umbraco as a blogging tool since I got livewriter support hooked up writing a blog post is now an extremely quick process and I don't need to worry about anything expect the content of the post.

Yesterday I was sat thinking about what tools would improve the quality of my posts and came up with a couple of ideas for Umbraco packages that I would like to see. As time is limited and I'm not sure I'll have the time to build these packages I thought I'd outline my ideas here and possibly inspire someone else to pick up the ideas and run with them.

The first idea is the more simple of the two. I'd like that when I publish a blog post that certain keywords are automatically linked to URLs. For example the word Umbraco always gets linked to umbraco.org or the phrase Liverpool gets linked to the official Liverpool website. These words and phrases would need to be setup in a configuration file.

I could see this idea working as an Action Handler or some kind of button on the TinyMCE toolbar. The latter is probably a better idea as you may only want to add links to certain blog posts. You'd also want to verify the links that had been added to the blog post in case the code had made any mistakes.

The code itself would be pretty trivial. Just some regular expressions parsing your blog post body.

The benefit of this functionality is that you can enhance your search engine rankings by having reciprocal links with other sites and manually adding these links to each post can get quite time consuming. I may get around to building this functionality myself it is probably only a few hours work.

My second idea is a little more abstract and probably needs some more thought. I'm painfully aware that my blog looks rather plain. The blogs that stand out for me use some kind of relevant images within the body of the post.

The idea of going and sourcing an image for every post I make is quite painful. What I'd like is something that would auto suggest some images based on the tags and body content of a post.

I'm speculating that the functionality would search either the Umbraco media section or some kind of online public image library (or both). With events in Umbraco 4 I'm imagining it would be quite easy to create a Lucene index of media items. Some kind of classifier may be used against the body of the blog post in order to determine the keywords for the post.

Again, I Imagine some kind of button on the TinyMCE toolbar opening a popup with thumbnails of suggested images. When a thumbnail is clicked the image is inserted to the post body with any required scaling performed automatically.

So, those are my thoughts. It turned into a bit of a longer post than I imagined. If nothing else, it serves as a reminder to myself when I'm looking for a new project.


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