Galleries

EDIT: Ok, I’ve decided that this post will be 100% boring for most of you, so I’ve added a few pictures of some spicey ladies to liven it up

I have a lot of photo’s to share with you all. Hannah was telling me the other day how much I really had to get them up here for your viewing pleasure. So I set out on a quest to find the ultimate gallery plugin for WordPress, or the ultimate standalone gallery that would do, or the closest to that, or would I have to write my own?

Well… a bit of digging on WordPress Codex (the WordPress Documentation) turned up some options, here’s the path I went down:

Gallery2

This was leeping out of the page as being the be all and end all of online gallery software, and everyone I have ever met is using it and then wins some sort of special privledge to drink gin out of pool table pockets. I took a look. 8 meg download, definatly a lot more to upload to the server, first black mark against it.

Next came installing the thing, first of it demands that I create a text file to verify that infact I am the guy who should be setting up this thing. Oh thank god!, I’ve long campaigned for needlessly complicated security features to protect software in the few minutes its installed but I haven’t started setting it up. Clearly thousands of people are out there denying themselves sex with thier girlfriends just looking at my website for when I install the gallery software. Why, the world is thier oyster after that. Ferrari’s will park themselves outside their house and salmon will leap onto thier plates, smoking themselves on the way.

So, I click continue in the usual brainless fashion 20 times to be told “Congratulations, Henry, you are without a shadow a doubt the single greatest web developer the Internet has ever seen, you have installed me!”. Thanks. Now lets get some photos up of me and my friends behaving like idiots. Well, I will admit, they go up fine, and after another 5 screens of things which are needlessly spread out and unnesscary for 90% of people, I have an album up. But frankly, once viewed, it is easier to operate a Nuclear Reactor than do most of the things you quickly want to do, such as:

  • Add a comment quickly, and below the photo, and let others see it, and make it look like a blog entry. Oh no, look for that small link on the sidebar to be taken to a screen where you can’t see the photo
  • Add a caption to an image, see above
  • Customise the template to something less bloody complicated and obtrusive
  • Etc..

Needless to say I spent quite a long time using all of my 2:1 in Computer Science configuring this thing. And it still acted like a satanic beast which just wanted you to dive deep into theme’s etc to get it working. Now, I admit I am in a rush to get this tit going, but surely you can make it a bit easier than having to learn the finer arts of php to do it? Photoshop is spitting out great galleries, however it doesn’t allow the interaction I would like people to be able to have with the galleries. Its at this point I realise that its probably NOT going to get easier from here.

After yet more tinkering, and I’ll admit, seeing a few nice features, like rotating according to EXIF data, I’m still cursing. So I decide to just throw WordPress + Gallery2 (something that is seeming like amazing bloatware without doing anything at this point) together using WPG2 and seeing what happens. After a fairly smooth install, it becomes clear that this doens’t want to just nicely fit in with “get the job done” approach I took to theme development in wordpress, specifically “FUCK THIS! I’ll stick it all in one file which will do just as good a job as the 8 that WP uses”. I am alone in this view, 8 files are a good thing because they make matters twice as complicated and half as productive when developing them. WPG2 looked like crap and wasnt supporting URL rewriting etc. I had had enough.

Hitting the delete key, I thought this bit would be simple, send it back to hell. Oh no, Im still deleting the ten billion files it needed now. My FTP program has dropped its connection 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 times as it deletes the ten million files, again showing how Gallery is infact a better product than the next.

My advice to Gallery and its dev team: I respect the work, but its too complicated these days. I and many others are looking for an easy solution that can do the following:

  • Upload in a bunch of good ways – you’ve sorted that, good job, your actually top of the line at this
  • Integrates well with other applications – Keep supporting WPG2 and the rest, make life easy for them
  • Make simple, good looking, uncluttered galleries quickly – now this is where you fail, the default templates and all that come with it are overcomplicated, even for me who is very experienced with UI’s. I’m not going to let you anywhere near lay users
  • Add and view comments easily – again you fail here. Look at my blog and then look at Gallery. Can the two share a similar look and feel for comments?

Now, I’m waiting for something much better to come along and do the job. Coppermine seems equally bloated. There is some good stuff in the pipeline though.

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