This document is available on the Internet at:

Categorising Content

Date:  15th January, 2005


Rainbow Bridge, Tokyo

I've been extremely busy of late (which is why it's been so quiet around here) writing lots of code for the CMS in order to accommodate a new project we're working on (I'll write more about that when I am able to).

Unfortunately, my recent workload has prevented me from writing several articles I had planned and from releasing the "Referrer Spam Countermeasures" Apache module I've been working on. Both will make it on to the Urban Mainframe over the next few weeks.

One of the benefits of the work I have done recently is that there are several new features that will make their way on to this website. Many of these will come online in the near future.

However, there was one new feature I just couldn't resist. One that begged for immediate deployment: the facility to categorise my content...

All About Categories

“the ability to navigate sets of data in this manner is very appealing”

I know I'm extremely late to the party on this one, after all categories are common among weblogs. The simple truth is, I had never used them, not once, ever, on any website. Thus I had no idea just how damn useful they are when it comes to data mining.

I mean, sure, I've got a fairly good search engine (a much better one's "coming soon", honest) and I frequently cross-link to older content. Yet I'm painfully aware that many of you won't have read my older posts because, unless you know what to search for or, by chance, I happen to link to an article that's in some way useful to you. There was simply no easy way for you to get to that content and no easy way for me to present it. Today, with categories applied to all my archived content, these barriers are lowered, if not completely removed.

So I can now use links to collections of previous posts, like the examples below:

The ability to navigate sets of data in this manner is very appealing and I have no idea how I failed to realise this sooner. Now that the light has dawned, I've found myself browsing some of my favourite websites by category and I've found some great articles that I was otherwise ignorant of.

Categories on the Urban Mainframe

There's currently only one way to retrieve articles by category - look for "Filed Under" "Tags" at the top of each article, underneath the title and date. Click any of the tags to view an index of the relevant pages. I may add additional "views" as and when I realise a need. I will also add category filters to the new search engine, which you'll be able to enjoy when I finally get it up and running on this website (soon, I promise)!

At the time of writing, I have only categorised the Weblog entries - the other areas of the website will follow in due course.

Additional Benefits

With all my content filed by category, I'm a step closer to being able to offer the full-featured, personalised RSS service I previously committed to providing (Note to Lachlan: I bet you thought I'd forgotten about this).

Final Thoughts

I have found that it's sometimes difficult to categorise an article. Sometimes an article doesn't really fit any of my regular topics (so it gets filed under "Miscellaneous"). At the other end of the scale are articles that end up filed under a plethora of categories because they touch on a large range of subjects.

I think I may have been a little over zealous with some of the classifications I have applied and it is highly likely that there will be revisions as I develop the "filing system" further and refine my categorisation process.


The photograph of Tokyo's "Rainbow Bridge" was taken by Richard L. Bliss and sourced via morgueFile.

Update (28-Jan-2005): "Categories" (as referred to in this document) are now described as "Tags", inline with current taxonomy trends (which was pointed out by Noah Slater in response to this article).