Arun Stephens

Customising WordPress MU

Last year, before my trip to France, I thought about starting a web site where anyone can set up a blog about their travels. Plenty of them exist already. None of them are any good!

WordPress, which my blog now runs on, is pretty good and mature. They have a multi-user version, called WordPress MU, which would suit me nicely. It’s very extensible through a plugin architecture, so it should be relatively easy for me to add some decent geotagging. I will chronicle my efforts here.

WordPress has two classification mechanisms: categories, which are a fixed (more or less – by default you can add categories at any time) list, and tags, where you just type whatever tags you want. I want to disable (sort of) categories, and let users only use tags. I say “sort of”, because the categories are going to be a site-wide hierarchical list of places. Users won’t choose the place through the category hierarchy. Instead, they will type the name of a place and the Google Maps geocoder will look it up for them. The coordinates of the article will be saved, and the post will be categorised automatically. That’s the idea, at least. I will reuse the geocoding interface used for Zemobo.

So my first task is to remove the ability to select a category when writing a post. This will also have to be removed from the RPC thing that applications like Windows Live Writer (which I am using now) use. No idea how to do that. I think it will actually involve hacking the existing code rather than using plugins.

You can follow my progress here: http://localhost:8080/category/travel-blog/.