If you're reading this, you've probably seen a tag cloud (Figure 1) as you've browsed the Web. In this article, I'm going to provide a little analysis and history of tag clouds, and then get on to more important matters: I'll demonstrate how to create your own tag clouds in Perl and PHP.
Tag clouds are a current fashion. But in April of 2005, web design guru Jeffrey Zeldman decried their faddishness in his headline, "Tag Clouds Are the New Mullets," comparing them to the once popular haircut that has become a fashion joke. And this was before they really started to catch on.
But jaded criticism is a common side effect of sudden ubiquity, and Zeldman also praised the brilliance of the idea. And as I have said, I will show how tag clouds, when used properly, have real, and lasting merits.
All of the scripts in this article can be downloaded from O'Reilly's web site at the following URL: http://examples.oreilly.com/tagclouds/.