It has been my pleasure to be part of the WordPress community over the past couple of years by providing the PhotoSmash plugin and supporting its users. However, like many developers before me, I find that as PhotoSmash’s install base grows, I can no longer provide a level of support that meets my personal standards.
Tonight, PhotoSmash received it’s 40th rating, 1 star out of 5. That’s always fun I fear that as the demands for support continue to outstrip the time available to provide it, I would see an increasing number of dissatisfied users like Mr. #40. That is not something I take lightly. Therefore, it is with regret that I will be withdrawing PhotoSmash from WordPress Extend and ending support for PhotoSmash within the next few days. Thankfully, there are many excellent alternatives to PhotoSmash in the WP Community, starting with the venerable NextGEN Gallery. So, it is with a mixture of sadness and relief that I move on to my next adventure.
To all of you PhotoSmashers, best wishes and…Cheers!
So, I’m wrapping up the latest version of PhotoSmash, which is mostly ready, but it’s been so long since I released a version and I’ve made so many changes that I’m reluctant to put it out there without some Beta Testing….so, please test the beta! Please! Download the beta!
So, anyway, like I started to say, I’m wrapping up the latest version and I just put in the whole WP Gallery integration code and now I’m thinking, “it’d be great to let users link the standard layout to the Attachment page…it’s so useful, and I just love it…hmmm…I think I’ll add that before we release….it’s not much code, anyway.” So, I add the options to the admin pages and am testing them out when….what the!?!? There’s already options for linking the image/caption to the Attachment pages. When did that get in there? Does that even work? I don’t remember writing that….huh.
I guess that settles it. I recently had somebody tell me ever so tenderly that I shouldn’t add another single feature until I clean up PhotoSmash (you can read that one here). And you know what, they were right. When you can’t even remember all the features you’ve already added, it’s time to take a step back…and in this case, do some serious code cleaning. This was on my “next up” list anyway (see the Facing Future post in case you doubt), but those things are confirming what I knew in my heart.
So, even though I’ve basically finished the Photo Sharing features (the Pixoox features), I have them turned off in the upcoming version. I’m not totally satisfied with the security model of creating a new user for requesting sites…I don’t really give them a way to claim that new user if they don’t provide a good email address, so that’s a bit of a bummer. Also, I’d really like to force everyone to use Twitter oAuth as the security mechanism, but don’t have a clue as to how to begin that.
So, that’s on hold. If anyone wants to beta test it, let me know and I’ll get it going. I’d really like someone who knows this stuff to consider how to implement the security mechanism.
Further, I really want you guys to have your very own iPhone apps for your sites…custom branded and the works. But I’m a total noob with iPhone dev. I’ll post a plea on that later, but the Pixoox piece was part of building an API for PhotoSmash that the iPhone app could use.
At any rate, that’s where we’re heading!
One of the true hidden gems of WordPress is its built-in Photo Gallery capabilities. You can use the Media Library to upload images and display them with a simple shortcode: [ gallery] (sans the space). Then you can view the individual images in the great Attachments page viewer (see Mr. WP’s blog, ma.tt, for a stellar example of the whole get-up in action). With the attachment pages, you get a permalink for each image and the ability to comment on images separately if your theme supports it (most do).
It is great!
It might sound a bit strange for the author of a Photo Gallery plugin (PhotoSmash) to be extolling the glories of another, 100% available to all WP users without lifting a finger, photo gallery. But it’s not strange at all, in fact PhotoSmash works great with the built-in gallery features and your Media Library. The upcoming version (v. 0.8.00) will offer the ability to display your PhotoSmash galleries using the default WP Gallery functionality out of the box.
So, you can display the standaard WP Gallery and have the PhotoSmash ‘Add Photos’ link right there to let your users upload new images to the gallery.
So, this is awesome, right? But the downside is that some of the other fantastic PhotoSmash functionality isn’t available in the WP Galleries. For instance, the Custom Fields cannot be displayed in the WordPress Gallery. You can still use that functionality and all the other PhotoSmash goodness in other places, even with galleries that you designate as WordPress Galleries, just by supplying the photosmash shortcode with:
which will override the Gallery Settings type.
Using PhotoSmash and the WP Gallery Feature Together
A couple of ways you can set view a PhotoSmash Gallery as a WP Gallery…First, you can make that gallery a ‘WordPress Gallery’ in Gallery Settings by setting the Gallery Type.
But what about normal galleries? Can you display them as WP Galleries? Oh yes, if you want to show a normal gallery using the WordPress Gallery feature, you can simply add one of these to your photosmash shortcode:
Customizing the WP Gallery Display
If you want to change the way the WordPress Gallery looks, you can add to your shortcode: wp_gallery_params=” … “ where the ‘…’ is any of the WP gallery shortcode parameters. Here’s the WP Codex tutorial on how to use the gallery shortcode: http://codex.wordpress.org/Gallery_Shortcode
PhotoSmash is just running that shortcode, so you can use anything you see in the Codex.
Why Do I Still Need PhotoSmash?
Well, PhotoSmash offers some very useful and unique functionality, including: ability to let users upload images to galleries, ability to create completely custom gallery layouts and custom upload forms (with custom fields), contributor image galleries, ratings, favorites, etc, etc. But perhaps one of the most unique functions is its ability to be used as a WordPress Gallery. There’s lots to love in both galleries, and the beauty of it is that you don’t have to choose.
Comments on Photos
So, now there are 2 ways to get comments on your Photos. 1) You can use the WP Gallery feature of PhotoSmash; or 2) get a Smashly.net membership ($25/yr) and get access to the PhotoSmash Extend plugin which gives you the ability to create new posts with each uploaded image (very flexible…uses a custom layout, complete with custom fields, etc, for the creation of the new Posts).
This has been a highly requested feature, and now you’ve got some options.
The Long Run
Matt Mullenweg (http://mm.tt), the founder of WordPress (if that’s the right word), said somewhere that he uses the built-in WP gallery functions because they’re guaranteed to work forever. There are some very good Photo Plugins out there, check out the venerable NextGEN Gallery if you haven’t already (with a million+ downloads, you probably have ), but they aren’t core to WordPress. Matt’s comment has merit. So, even if you’re using NextGEN or PhotoSmash or any of the other plugin galleries, consider if you can use them in conjunction with the WP gallery. As far as PhotoSmash goes, you can, and that’s a good thing!
Hi everyone! This is the third or fourth site that I’ve upgraded to WordPress 3.0 RC1, and everything is looking good.
I would like to note that anyone running PHP 4 on a 1and1 hosted site might have some troubles installing PhotoSmash (and NextGEN Gallery too). It appears that something is weird with their PHP 4 settings that WordPress doesn’t like. But you can easily move to PHP 5 (and you should), since 1AND1 gives you a choice.
Anyway, I’m excited by the new possibilities afforded by WP 3.0. PhotoSmash appears to be playing nicely with it, so enjoy!
I’ve been giving plenty of thought to what needs to happen to PhotoSmash. That largely revolves around making the code cleaner, making the admin interface cleaner and easier and less intimidating, and providing more out-of-the-box options for prettier galleries.
But, if you look 5 years down the road, who knows if you’ll even need something like PhotoSmash or even, dare I say, WordPress. With as much innovation as has occurred over the last 5 years, you sort of feel like a kid on the beach building an elaborate sand castle, all the while watching the tide come in. You know it’s just a matter of time before the waves are washing your creation back to sea. I mean, what is the iPad going to do to the face of technology? What will it be like when we’re wearing computers that augment our reality in real-time…all the time?
Well, 5 years is a long time and it’s not, all at the same time. Having a vision for that is key. Your dreams can’t come true if you don’t have any…so here’s for you as you face future.
I’m embarrassed to say that I sent the first version of Twitpic-it out with a bad URL.
I caught the error tonight when I loaded Twitpic-It to another one of my blog sites and tried the Twitter login test. It kept failing and I was confounded. In debugging, I found that I had hardcoded the WP Admin URL to the site that I was doing the development on.
This bug was a result of my borrowing the code from Alex King’s Twitter-Tools, and in my haste to see if I could make it work, I hardcoded the URL and forgot to go back and make it dynamic. The test login requests for any site other than my test site were dying when they hit the WordPress Admin nonce checking mechanism, so no harm was done.
This has been fixed as of 4/21/2010, and I apologize to the 70 or so individuals who downloaded TwitPic-It before I realized my mistake. It was not a small mistake in my eyes, even though it caused no harm. It does highlight the amount of trust we place in the developers of our WordPress plugins, and I do not want to abuse that trust.
There are 2 versions of Lightbox in the WordPress plugins directory, and only one of them works properly with PhotoSmash. The one you want is Lightbox 2 by Rupert Morris.
There are a number of other Lightbox-like plugins that you can use as well, each with a slightly different flair than Lightbox. One of my favorites is Shadowbox JS. Very similar, and you don’t even have to change your Rel setting. There’s also Fancy Box, Thickbox (not a bad choice since the script is being loaded for the PhotoSmash forms anyway…this reduces your overall load times for your visitors), Gray Box, Slim box, you could get old naming them all…and many of them are very cool!
In case anyone was concerned, PhotoSmash appears to functioning completely normally under WordPress 2.9. I’m running 2.9 on this site, and the demo galleries are working fine.
I’m making some enhancements to the photo tagging that is currently available in PhotoSmash that will be coming out in a week or so. The test blog I’m using for that development is running WordPress 2.9 as well.
I think 2.9 will be a huge benefit to all of you who are using the Add to WP Media option. This is going to let you do some editing of your images using the new image editor in the WordPress Media gallery admin pages. This includes rotating images, resizing thumbnails, and grabbing different crop areas for thumbs.
Very, very useful update to WordPress! A hearty “THANK YOU!” to the WP core Team.
And while I’m at it, thanks to all of my PhotoSmash users for sticking with me through this year! PhotoSmash went live back in February of this year (I think…). It’s come a long way, and the user community has been very helpful in rooting out the problems and pointing the way toward the features that make PhotoSmash a unique and hopefully useful piece of the WordPress community.
Cheers to all, and Merry Christmas!
At long last, I have the first version of PhotoSmash Extend almost ready to go out the door. While I have enjoyed providing PhotoSmash and the support for it for free, I plan to charge a small fee for PhotoSmash Extend. 99% of users who want PhotoSmash features will find everything they want in the main, free plugin. I think there are somewhere aroud 1,000 active users of PhotoSmash, maybe a few more (at least that’s how many usually upgrade in the first couple of days after a new release). Nearly all of those users will have everything they need in PhotoSmash itself, but there might be some who want these advanced features.
Enough rambling…so, what’s in PhotoSmash Extend???
Create New WordPress Posts on Uploading an Image
This is the hallmark feature of PhotoSmash Extend! It gives you the ability to create a new Post when someone uploads an image to a PhotoSmash Gallery. Here are a few of the configuration options:
- Use attributes in the normal photosmash Shortcode to turn on new post creation for a particular upload form: [\photosmash create_post=newpost\] (without the slashes…can’t figure out how to write a shortcode that doesn’t look like a shortcode to WordPress )
- The attribute is: create_post; the value is the name of the custom layout to use for building your new post
- You create an html template in PhotoSmash Custom Layouts that will be used for new posts…you can have as many as you like and invoke them in the shortcode above
- Add preview_post=true to the shortcode to show the user a Preview link to the new post after upload is complete
- Control who can create new posts: Admins, Authors/Contributors, or Subscribers
- Control the default status of the new post: Pending, Draft, or Published
- Show a multiple-select list box of your WordPress categories (options for setting the category parent node – does all categories by default, excluding categories, setting the depth of the hierarchy to show, and setting whether it is multi or single select – multi select by default)
- Allows setting a Custom Field in the post for a post thumbnail
- You can use a standard form or a custom form for this upload.
- Your new post template can be as complex as you like and you can use standard and custom fields at will…it can even include shortcodes (like a new photosmash gallery within the new post)
So, it’s pretty flexible. You’re creativity is pretty much set free on this.
Module 2: Set Text/Image/Ad/etc Inserts to Display within a Gallery
This module of PhotoSmash Extend lets you set up special inserts to display within your galleries. You control what you want the insert to be…you can specify as many different ones that you like and it will rotate through them. So, you could set a Google ad, an image, and some other kind of message for one Insert Set and assign that set to a gallery (or as many galleries as you want). Those galleries will display those 3 inserts starting on the image # you specified to start and skipping X number of images until it shows the next one. You can put a limit on how many inserts get show, and the gallery will loop through those 3 inserts until it hits your maximum # of inserts for the page.
Create unlimited number of insert sets and assign them to galleries. Each gallery can only be assigned one Insert Set.
Probably helpful to somebody out there.
If you’re interested, send me an email at byron at whypad . com.
PhotoSmash users, check out the new star rating system! It’s a simple 5 star system, with some standard features. You can see a live demo here on Smashly at the PhotoSmash Demo page.
This is still a bit of a work-in-progress, though it should be functional and future changes should be transparent to you.
PhotoSmash Star Rating Features
- Standard 5 star system
- Gallery specific settings
- 2 default positions: overlay top of image (as seen in image above), or after caption
- Allow anonymous ratings, one per IP address – set this in PhotoSmash Settings (bottom of first tab). It’s global to all galleries that have
- Toggle switch allows user to hide/show all ratings per gallery
- To enable a gallery, go to Gallery Settings and edit the gallery, then set the Rating type option at the bottom of first tab
- Hovering over pops up a little info box on the overlay display
- Feature in the works: I’m working on adding a rating type for vote up/down type ratings. This will allow photo contests and other applications
- Feature in the works: Sort by highest rated images
- Need to get Widgets going to have a Highest Rated widget
Feature that would be nice: right now, this system doesn’t show partial stars. If anyone wants to take this on, that would be great!!
WordPress has some great star rating plugins for rating comments and posts, e.g. GD Star Rating and WP-PostRatings, but unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find one that could be plugged in to use for rating images with PhotoSmash. I ended up adapting some code from a jQuery rating prototype that Karl Swedenberg put togther here, itself based on code by Ritesh found here.
Special thanks to Milan of GD Star Rating for the use of the stars used in the gallery!
Appeal for Help!
If anyone wants to improve the rating system, I am definitely open to some help! Ideally, the ratings would display partial stars, as mentioned above. Also, the ability to select other star sets….and if anyone creates star sets that they would be willing to share with the community!
Let me know in the Help page if you find any problems!