WordPress: Tag Cloud Based on Author Posts

Hey there! I'm currently working on a CLI tool to deploy WordPress apps to DigitalOcean. Check it out! It's free and open source.

I’m currently working on a little russian social network powered by WordPress and I kinda got stuck this weekend on the user profile page. WordPress has got a pretty good mechanism for working with users, and the users meta piece is so awesome and useful. I’ve a little problem though, trying to output a tag cloud based on posts that a specific user has written.

In general this might seem simple, but for high performance the WordPress developers have mad a pretty complex taxonomy mechanism, that works like a charm, but I haven’t seen any author or author_id parameters in any of the taxonomy functions. Making a custom query to a database may be a little more complex than what I came up with, but I’m pretty sure it’s better at performance. Here’s the easy way:

$profile_user_id = get_profile("ID", "kovshenin"); // Replace this with yours
$profileTags = array();
$wp_query = new WP_Query("showposts=-1&author=".$profile_user_id);
while (have_posts())
	$tags = (array) get_the_tags();
	foreach ($tags as $key => $value)
		if ($value->term_id > 0)
			if (key_exists($value->term_id, $profileTags))
				$new_term = $value;
				$new_term->count = 1;
				$profileTags[$value->term_id] = $new_term;

$profileTagCloud = wp_generate_tag_cloud($profileTags);
echo $profileTagCloud;

What this does is it runs through all the posts by a specific user (kovshenin in my case) and retreives all the tags to each post via the get_the_tags function, then compares to what it has already collected in the $profileTags array and increments the count variable if that tag already existed there, or adds the new tag as an object into the array with count = 1.

You may find other parameters pretty useful too (link, slug, parent). I use the link parameter to lead to a new search by tag page limited to the specified user. Here’s a full list of parameters that should be included (and may be changed on the fly) and accepted by the wp_generate_tag_cloud function (using a print_r output):

    [0] => stdClass Object
            [term_id] => 6
            [name] => tag 2
            [slug] => tag-2
            [term_group] => 0
            [term_taxonomy_id] => 6
            [taxonomy] => post_tag
            [description] =>
            [parent] => 0
            [count] => 2
            [link] => "http://localhost/tag/tag-2"
            [id] => 6

Also, keep in mind that this is an object (of stdClass) and may not be treated like an array. I’m working on a custom SQL query directly into the WordPress database to achieve the same results but in less time (I hope). I’ll get back to you after the benchmarking.

About the author

Konstantin Kovshenin

WordPress Core Contributor, ex-Automattician, public speaker and consultant, enjoying life in Moscow. I blog about tech, WordPress and DevOps.