Over the couple weeks, I have had three web projects: fixing the email contact function in the sidebar, getting a cycling log, and finding a better way of getting digital photos published. The latter two ideas were vaguely connected.
The email has been a little game. I wrote a new email form, rewrote the php post function page and got it working. Then the spam arrived. I wasn’t sure if it was injection spam, or whether the bots had found my email address in the function form. I have been tweaking and testing, tweaking and testing …
For cycling, I wanted to add a cycling log page as a fixed author page. I found that if I put my notes in an OpenOffice spreadsheet, I could save the sheet as html and then upload it to my server. The OpenOffice suite lets me embed links in the spreadsheet, so I just have to open the sheet, add a row of notes, save in html and upload. I lwrote the cycling page to display the 2007 log inline or open it in a new window.
I wanted to have picture links in the cycling log – I thought thumbnails might be to much for what am doing. At the same time, I wanted to publish more pictures and putting them in the blog wasn’t that useful. Putting images in posts isn’t hard, but the images get buried in the text. I looked for a way to get pictures in an album or gallery program, which I might leverage with thumbnail links in the blog, instead of saving the photos in MT.
I thought the MT PhotoGallery plugin might do the trick. It saves the photos as individual blog entries in a separate blog, and the blog opens as a set of photo albums or galleries. It provides a nice, well designed set of albums within the familiar MT interface. The installation worked but the instructions assumed more knowledge of php programs than I had when I started, so the process was slow. The special entry interface for photos used the upload date by default. Changing that requires opening the photo entry in the main editor interface. The main drawback proved to be the limited size of the images at 480×360, which is set when the images are saved as MT posts. There didn’t appear to be anything I could do to let viewers resize or zoom without getting into the code for the upload interface, and changing the publishing (display) templates. The upload limit was a little low for the size and quality of images I was loading. When I began to look at other solutions, I realized that uploading one image at a time was a drawback too, and that this system did not allow for the camera timestamp to appear on viewer’s browser page.
My next move was installing Gallery, which is more powerful and flexible. It is a separate, open source, Web application. I have MySQL and all the required Apache, PERL and PHP handlers, modules and scripts on my server. My host had a Fantastico installer for Gallery, so it went in with a few clicks.
It gives me a gallery for photos, and I can link to it from the cycling log or this blog, so that seems to be the way to go. Now I have to load and label the photos and keep working that. (Update, June, 2010 – it did not work out. I was not taking a lot of pictures, and Gallery had to be administered and protected, which was too much work. MT upgrades gave me the option of loading pictures more easily, and that was that).