Having gotten my blog up and running, I figured that the next logical thing was to somehow connect it to the [tag]social web[/tag] that is all the rage now. I figured it would be a a simple task. But I was quickly overwhelmed by the array of options. So I decided to start with something simple: [tag]Photo Sharing[/tag].
I spend way too much time on my photographs. My website has been lovingly prepared with all the care that my wife says I should give her. And while I plan on continuing to maintain my website as my medium of artistic expression, I did want to find a way to integrate my photographs with my blog that would not require me putting in additional time (I agree with Tanu, my website takes up enough time).
Photo Sharing on Flickr
First I had to find a photo website with good features in the social sphere, and everything pointed me towards Flickr.
[tag]Flickr[/tag] makes it real easy to upload and manage my photographs. Besides uploading through the browser, it gave me a desktop uploader tool that I can use to upload a whole bunch of photographs (a very useful feature when I am uploading a trips worth of photographs). I was even to set up a way to upload photos from Picasa (which is what I use to manage photos on my desktop at home), but that relies on the “upload by email” feature, which is slow and annoying, and prone to failure. I am surprised that there isn’t a better integration between [tag]Picasa[/tag] and Flickr available as a plugin.
Photo Badges & Slideshows
The Flickr APIs mean that there are a host of widgets/gadgets out there ready to use. My research revealed two main ways to display photographs from Flickr – badges and slideshows. [tag]Photo Badges[/tag] (because of their small width) are more appropriate for sidebar displays, while [tag]slideshows[/tag] are better for displaying photographs as part of a blog post or page.
Flickr gave me a pretty decent badge right away, and that is what I have in the sidebar to the right (showing photos from my “From My Travels” set). I loved that all I have to do is manage the photographs in the set and the badge will automatically update with the changes.
Alas, I couldn’t find a [tag]slideshow widget[/tag] that does the same. The best slideshow site I found out there is Slide.com. It makes it very easy to connect to Flickr, select a photo set and use it as the basis for a slideshow (they also support other photo stores, like MySpace). They have a decent array of formatting options, and they give all the necessary code to embed the slideshow in a post. However, after that things started to get complicated.
Firstly the slideshow, once created, is fixed. Updating the photo set doesn’t have any impact on the slideshow, which to me indicates that Slide is copying my photographs over to their servers from Flickr (not a true mashup in that sense). Secondly, the code generated by Slide doesn’t sit well with Wordpress. If I paste the code in and save it, it works. But if I now go back and edit that post/page without touching the slideshow code, something gets screwed up and the slideshow doesn’t render properly. I put a slideshow on the “Travel Addict” page of this blog, and every time I edit that page, I have to retrieve and re-paste the code for the slideshow. It is getting to be pretty annoying. If anyone has a fix for this, I would love to hear it.
One of the better features in Flickr is the ability to [tag]photoblog[/tag] directly from within Flickr to your Wordpress blog. You can setup your Wordpress account credentials within Flickr, and every time that you see a photo you like, you just have to click the “Blog This” button. You can write the post within Flickr and submit it, and it shows up in your blog right away.
That is also the problem. The post doesn’t always look the way you want it to look, and the fact that it shows up immediately means that you have to immediately go to your blog to edit it. Kind of ruins the benefit of blogging from Flickr. So I started to look for a solution to the problem and found the “Flickr Draft Post“plugin. The activated plugin recognizes posts coming in from Flickr and saves it into your drafts instead of publishing it, giving you time to get back to it for editing and publishing at your convenience.
It also took some debugging to get my blog set up. For some reason, the Wordpress type for the blog selection didn’t work. Moveable Type worked better for me.
[tags]Tech, Web 2.0, Blog customization, Blog skinning[/tags]
Tags: Blog Design
, Web 2.0