The photoblog is imminent

July 30, 2006

I can't wait to get back into photography over the next couple of weeks. I had to put a lot of the joys of my life on hold while studying for the bar and I've probably missed shooting more than just about anything.

As I've discussed here before, a few months back I actually setup, over the course of a few days, a complete photoblog using Pixelpost. It's a great little package and certainly the best PHP/MySQL solution I could find, but man, I had to hack the hell out of it (as usual, I documented all of my changes so that I could help others with this in the future). The photoblog is currently fully functional and completely up to date; it took me forever to resize/upload all the old pictures I wanted to use, and in the order that they were originally included on this site (pulled in from Flickr).

Issues I'm still concerned about

The future

I've definitely got some misgivings about the whole thing, namely the future-proofness of it all, but the way I see it, I simply had to separate the photoblog from my regular site (for many reasons, not the least of which being that I wanted to display larger photos) and PP's package is currently the best thing going. Moreover, a few months back I spoke with one of the guys behind the upcoming pixyBlog and he told me that not only were they thinking very seriously about offering an open-source solution (in contrast to their initial offering of having your photos hosted with them), but that you would be able import all of your Pixelpost stuff into pixyBlog.

I've also been looking very seriously at Movable Type to handle the photoblog. Most of you know that I've a very intimate knowledge of that publishing system and used it for a few years before moving over to WordPress way back when. The only real problem I foresee with that system running a photoblog is that there are no site-wide photo options (e.g., I wouldn't be able to change the size of all the thumbnails from within the CMS1).

Thumbnail size

Pixelpost limits thumbnails to 100 pixels wide, and while this is fine for an archived page of thumbnails, I'd rather have them be a bit larger for the RSS feed (but smaller than the 800 pixel size I'm using on the site). I don' t think this is possible without some serious overhauling of the underlying framework.

Posting outside of the photoblog itself

This is something I've been struggling with for a while, and besides that little bar thing I just finished up, this was one of the main reasons I've held off so long on moving to a full photoblog. I'd like to keep pictures here because I think it offers a nice balance to the regular techno-babble that pervades the site (and I know some others feel the same). Furthermore, quite a few people are subscribed to this site and the more people that see the pictures the better. However, the process might be more trouble than it's worth.

So, what to do? I'm still not sure. I could always keep posting the pictures to Flickr along with my photoblog (and then pull in the 500 pixel versions from Flickr for the regular site, which is what I currently do), but this would essentially require me to post in triplicate (photoblog, regular site, and Flickr) and I think we're all aware that less than full autonomy usually doesn't sit too well with me.

Another hangup I have with this method is that I think I want to get away from Flickr entirely. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with the service (it's still untouchable as far as I'm concerned), but if I'm to do this whole photoblog thing I'd like it to be fairly centralized (hit counts, comments, etc.) and not spread out across disparate systems.

If you've any ideas, I'd love to hear them, but I'm pretty sure what I want isn't really feasible and at the end of the day I think I'm probably going to stop posting pictures to this site altogether (I'll just keep encouraging people subscribed here to subscribe to the photoblog as well).

Timeframe

I actually plan on having everything public by the middle of next week, unless I decide to take the Movable Type approach, in which case it will probably take an extra week as I'll essentially have to start from scratch; getting the templates setup shouldn't be too hard, but moving all the photos over will definitely take some time.


  1. This could probably be accomplished with a little shell scripting and some site-wide find/replace magic.   

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