Having satisfied the publishing of text — with a WordPress blog installed on a hosted domain — the natural next step is publishing photographs. While it’s easy to upload and embed images in a WordPress post, it’s better to have a specialized image gallery when the photo archive is large. The long term goal is to show random thumbnails on your WordPress sidebar, inviting the browsing images in your gallery, but that’s a feature for some later day.
I edit and store images in a hands-on approach for myself.1 For most snapshooters, though, since web hosting is now so cheap — $5 per month for 110GB! — the blogger can take advantage of that space. The alternatives are living with the constraints of a free service (e.g. Flickr), or paying for a “pro” account.
Fantastico supports automated installation of Coppermine — which has many fans — but I’ve found Gallery to be great choice due to a unique client-based front. Gallery Remote enables drag-and-drop staging of image files and then automatically downsamples images as it uploads them to the web site. Since a 1024×768 image represents a 0.8MP file while point-and-shoot cameras commonly have resolutions of 5MP to 6MP, downsampling is a task that can be gladly automated.
As I install the packages on some friends’s web sites, I’ll record the tasks along the way.
A. Install Gallery
(1) Again using Fantastico — on site5 SiteAdmin, it’s under “CGI & PHP scripts — Gallery is halfway down the page, under “Image Galleries”.
- (a) Install in a directory named gallery. (Watch out on documentation, because sometimes people install under gallery2).
- (b) The Admin access data Administrator userid and password are a maximum of eight letters, so they’ll truncate if you’re longer.
- (c) For the Base Configuration, use the admin fullname of yourdomain with an admin e-mail address of email@example.com (that you had previously set up).
B. Setup Gallery
(2) Go to yourdomain.com/gallery, and login with the admin access userid and password (i.e. the eight-letter version). If you wish, at Account Settings, you can change your password, but you can’t change the initial 8-letter admin userid.
(3) Select Site Admin. On General Settings, change the Embedded Markup to Raw HTML. (The e-mail settings have already been set up by Fantastico, so you can leave these blank).
- (a) At Plugins … Plugins … next to URL Rewrite … ensure that this is disabled. While pretty URLs seem to work fine for Gallery by itself, the developers of WPG2 WordPress-Gallery integration are explicitly avoiding it.
- (b) Scroll down the Plugins … Plugins … screen to install (and activate) (a) theme(s). I like Hybrid.
- (c) Select the other tab to Get More Plugins … then Download Plugin List. Selecting to download or upgrade from this list calls to the Official Release Repository, as the most painless way of keeping a system up to date that I’ve ever experienced!
- (d) From Get More Plugins … scroll down to Remote Interfaces … and you’ll see Remote … download …. Do that, it it should become activated on the Plugins … Plugins … screen.
(4) Under Site Admin … Themes … you can choose the default theme. (As I said before, I like Hybrid).
(5) Go to the main Gallery page (i.e. leaving Site Admin) by selecting the Gallery link in the upper left. (When you get to the main page, if you’re using Hybrid, select the icon to open up the side panel). The root directory is considered to be an album, so let’s modify the basic information there.
- (a) Select Edit Album … and change the Title (e.g. Firstname Lastname’s Photo Gallery). The Description will be at the top of the page when someone comes to the site, so you might provide him or her with a path back to the blog, e.g.
Have fun viewing the photographs!<br />
When you'd like to read, <a href="http://yourdomain.com/blog">visit the blog</a>
- (b) Under Edit Album … Album … I find that Thumbnails of 150 pixels will allow two thumbnails wide with descriptions in Hybrid, but 120 or even 100 pixel images are legible. Check Use this thumbnail size in all subdirectories.
At this point, Gallery is functional, but it’s empty. It doesn’t have any albums defined, and it doesn’t have any images. You could continue in this web interface, but let’s take advantage of available client interface.
C. Install Gallery Remote
(6) Within Site Admin … Plugins … Get More Plugins … scroll down to Remote Interfaces … Remote … and select the action install … from the Official Release Repository. (I’ve been in the habit of installing just the English UK, but once had to install all languages to get rid of an error).
(7) Open another browser tab (or window), and go over to http://gallery.menalto.com/wiki/Gallery_Remote . Download the current version for your platform, and install it. (I already had Java 1.5 installed on my Thinkpad, so I didn’t need to download the package with Java 1.4 embedded). Install it.
(8). Start Gallery Remote client on your PC/Mac.
- (When I started it, a message of a new version came up. I shut down Gallery Remote client and downloaded the zip file, which contained some files with updates — not a complete set. After unzipping the file, I copied these over the installed version, overwriting the old versions).
- (a) Under Options … Preferences … Upload … check Resize before upload … and Force resize to … 1024. Within a browser window, it’s unlikely for anyone to see more than 1024 x 768 px, but 1280 or 1600 is available if you think anyone will ever get screens that big. You might also check Allow HTML markup in captions and extra fields, if you wish.
- (b) In Gallery Remote client Preferences, under the URL selection, you can fill an Alias (yourdomain.com), Username (the 8-letter one), Password (also 8-letters), Gallery Type (standalone), and URL (http://yourdomain.com/gallery).
(9) On the Gallery Remote client main screen, select the Destination Gallery and Log in.
- (a) Create a New Album. I tend to name albums like 200701a-Helsinki, but you can choose whatever makes you comfortable.
- (b) Drag-and-drop image files from your PC/Mac (e.g. Windows Explorer) into the middle pane of Gallery Remote client. (I find that if you drag more than one file in at the same time, Windows puts them in reverse order. Thus, I drop-and-drop one by one, to avoid having to resort, later). Alternatively, there’s an Add Pictures button that brings up a file browser.
- (c) Select the Upload Pictures button.
- (d) Create a second New Album, drag-and-drop images, and Upload Pictures, so that you’ll be able to judge the view of Gallery better.
At this point, you should have a populated Gallery web site!
D. Provide a sidebar link from the WordPress blog to Gallery
(10) In WordPress admin … Presentation … Widgets …
- In Text Widgets … increment the list by one, and save. Drag-and-drop that new widget into the sidebar — I prefer the right sidebar in Relaxation 3-column. Enter a headline (e.g. Photo Gallery), and a link in the body, e.g.
<li>Visit the <a href="http://yourdomain.com/gallery">photo gallery</a>.</li>
At this point, you can publish your words on the WordPress blog, and there’s linkages to and from Gallery. On some other day, we can add anrandom thumbnail image to the WordPress sidebar. (At the moment, I’m waiting for the impending new v3.0 release of WPG2).
1 I have a web server in my basement where I keep my digital photo archive. It’s unreliable because it relies on Dynamic DNS (DDNS) which gets lost when the router is our house is rebooted, or if the server isn’t rebooted after a power failure. I run DAlbum on this server as my photo archive. This has major advantages for me:
- I can FTP the files directly to the server, thus maintaining a full-sized archive copy of the digital image online. Files uploaded via PHP scripts (e.g. Gallery 2) are normally restricted to 2MB maximum, each. A 3MP image saved as JPEG Superfine, a 5MP image saved as JPEG Fine and a 7MP image saved as JPEG Standard may (or may not) be under 2MB in size. Using a script such as Gallery would still require me to have an archive somewhere else.
- In contrast to most other PHP image archives, DAlbum creates and stores archives in a batch mode, rather than on-the-fly. Since I know when I will and won’t use the server, batch processing works fine for me.
- I’m taking photographs in a different way, now, since I know that the resolution viewed on computer screens is so low compared to the resolution of the cameras (e.g. 5MP or 10MP). I’m shooting pictures with the assumption that I’ll crop them, so the framing in my viewfinder isn’t as tight as when I used to shoot film.
I have to admit that if I hadn’t already installed an Apache server in my basement some years ago, I probably wouldn’t do so today.