The Old Pacific Highway Fireworks


June 12th, 2007 at 06:30am

Of all the things that appear on this website, the thing that I receive the most positive feedback about is the photos that I post (I also get berated for delays in posting them) and I have, on multiple occasions, had people suggest that I setup a page specifically for the photos. I agree that this would be a good idea, however there is no logical way to do this (to the best of my knowledge) in WordPress. I could easily setup a category called “photos” and add any post containing a photo to that category, but that would just produce a poorly organised set of pages of photos…it would work, but would be a rather daft way of doing it.

If I jump back to the year 2005 for a moment, prior to setting up Samuel’s Blog I had a photo gallery running on a webserver at home. This was fine at home where I had a direct connection to it, but was painfully slow for anybody trying to access it from the rest of the world as I only had a 256/64k ADSL link at the time.

The photo gallery remained in use when I setup Samuel’s Blog and was my primary image source before Google added image hosting to Blogger, this of course meant that images were slow to load, and didn’t load at all if my Internet connection died. The move to paid hosting in August 2005 made the photo gallery largely redundant as I was able to host the photos myself (along with other files which I was sticking on random servers I had space on until then). The photo gallery remained online and was linked to numerous times during the Spin Starts Here fiasco.

Recently I let the Dyndns domain name pointing at my home webserver expire, and since then the photo gallery has been sitting in limbo. Initially I planned on making a static version of it and placing it in a directory here (surprisingly easy in Gallery version 1 due to the availability of an “offline mode“), and then I started thinking about it, and much like every other project I come up with, managed to turn it in to something much more complex.

In case you haven’t already joined the dots here, I’m moving the live (not static) photo gallery to a subdomain of this website (announcement shortly). I have a few reasons for this.

Before I explain that, I’ll briefly explain the reason I’m moving the photo gallery to a subdomain rather than a subdirectory (such as is due to security. Gallery requires certain domain-wide settings that WordPress doesn’t, and whilst those settings alone wouldn’t make WordPress less secure, they would provide any WordPress exploit with more scope than they would receive under the current settings. The downside of this is that the photo gallery is unlikely to be archived by Pandora.

The reasons I am re-implementing the photo gallery are quite simple. Firstly, photos take up a heap of screen space on this blog, and as I like to take photos, I have to leave a bit of time between major photo posts to avoid forcing everyone to download a heap of photos (and scroll past a heap of them when they don’t want to see them). Having the photo gallery will allow me to upload a heap of photos to the gallery, select a couple of them for display here and give you a link to the rest.

Secondly, the delays behind me posting photos (especially major photo posts) has more to do with the time it takes me to create thumbnails, rename the photos, upload them, write the posts including all the thumbnails, links to the full size versions, alternative text, then make sure I’ve got it all right before finally posting it, than anything else. This is a time consuming process, and to be perfectly honest, isn’t particularly interesting, especially when I have heaps of photos (for example, The main Underground Cabling Tour post took hours to complete). The photo gallery can take care of resizing, thumbnailing (and even rotating) photos for me.

Thirdly, and you might want to refer to the previous link for this, the photos tend to get posted with minimal text and a lot of photos…it’s pointless to post much text as people tend to focus on the photos and ignore slabs of text, meaning the lengthy photo post is not an ideal format on a blog.

Fourthly, due to all this, I tend to make plans for photographic tours, and then never get around to doing them due to the time I will have to spend afterwards processing and posting the photos.

Fifthly, the gallery would be a logical way of displaying photos for people who only want to see the photos.

The benefits for you will be more frequent photos, less photo deluges on this blog, and less delays in me getting photos online (I might finally get the photos online from my trip to Sydney earlier this year, and possibly even the photos from John Kerr’s lunch in Terrigal last year).

To streamline the migration of the existing photo gallery I have conducted some tests and trials to eliminate any issues running Gallery on this website (which is running on a significantly different (and more up-to-date) configuration to the one I am running at home), and I will migrate the actual gallery later today, after which I will give you the address, and see about a few related cosmetic changes I have planned for navigation of this website.

For those of you who are interested, initially the photo gallery will continue to run on Gallery version 1, and will most likely be upgraded to version 2 at a later stage when it outgrows version 1. At that stage I will decide whether to just make a static version of the existing gallery or go through the upgrade process. That decision will depend on a number of things, and I’ll make that position closer to the date when I’m in a better decision to weigh up the pros and cons of each choice.


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June 2007

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