Smoothgallery consumes my life

I wrote a month ago about why I don’t, or can’t, use Flickr. Since then, I’ve done some restructuring of my photo gallery and, while I like the way it looks and functions better, I discovered something very important about Smoothgallery that I hadn’t thought of before. First, my last theme displayed 15 images on a page and, after you had viewed those 15 images, you needed to go to the next page. Second, Smoothgallery loads all of the images in a gallery at once so you can smoothly transition from one to the other.

The first statement impacts Smoothgallery by limiting gallery sizes to 15; if there were more than 15 images in a gallery, they wouldn’t be displayed. That’s easy enough to fix by increasing that limit, but then I run into issues where every image is loaded at the same time. I have a gallery with over 400 images, so when I gave this a try, it immediately overloaded my server because it tried to load all 400+ pictures simultaneously.

My conclusion is that, first, I want to keep Smoothgallery. It’s so much nicer than Lightbox, and I don’t want to change the way the gallery looks again. Therefore, I need to reorganize my albums. All of them.

I’m currently at 60 albums with well over 3000 images, and now I need to go through and break them down further into smaller categories. For example, I’m currently in Orlando, Florida at Educause and have subsequently been taking a lot of pictures of the conference and surrounding area. Instead of just creating one giant album, or even albums according to the day I took the picture on (like I have now), I could organize them according to location or event: Exhibition Hall, Conference Hall, Disney, Hotel, Orlando, Airport, etc.

It’s going to be a lot of organizational work, but I think the end result will be significantly better than what I have now. It will also, hopefully, decrease bandwidth usage and speed up gallery loading. I’m just not sure when I can do this; I get back to Springfield on Friday night, and Saturday marks the start of NaNoWriMo. But it’s still something that needs to be done, and sooner rather than later.

Lightbox

Just a quick post about my foray into Lightbox. I started messing with this while writing about Flickr the other day, and after a bit of tweaking, I got it working.

You could just follow the steps on this page, but installing the plugin for WordPress is probably easier. The first, however, will allow you to use Lightbox wherever and however you like, while the latter will only work inside WP.

I, of course, followed the steps to do it manually (mostly because I didn’t find the plugin until after I was done and had it working *sigh* ). Something I discovered that might be of interest to you is that, while the instructions technically allow Lightbox to work, it 1) doesn’t tell you everything you need to do and 2) doesn’t necessarily work right on blogs.

First, when you upload and extract the files, it is assumed that you’re putting those in the root of your web server. I had put them elsewhere, and subsequently it wasn’t working.

However, because they assume root (once you get them moved there), going to a specific blog entry will prevent Lightbox from working. Essentially, all the code in the JS and CSS files point to root or ../images for everything. Which is great, and works just fine on my main page (http://mstublefield.com), but when I go to a blog post (for instance, https://mstublefield.com/blog/2008/09/24/why-i-dont-use-flikr/), going to ../images actually points at https://mstublefield.com/blog/2008/09/24/images (the ../ being “go up one level”).

So, I went through the JS files and the CSS file and changed the links from dynamic to static. Therefore, instead of ../images/close.png, it became https://mstublefield.com/images/close.png. Instead of js/whatever, it became https://mstublefield.com/js/whatever. This allows Lightbox to work inside specific blog posts, as well as on the main page. The only files that need edited are the lightbox.js and the CSS file.

Secondly, the CSS file wasn’t quite working for me. The instructions say to put it somewhere and their files will point to it. Instead, I had to manually copy/paste the CSS and append it to my main stylesheet. This seemed to work a lot better for some reason. Maybe it’s that I didn’t have the CSS in the right place, but regardless, it was easier just to copy the code over.

Between adding ZenphotoPress and Lightbox, I’m pretty excited about adding more pictures to my blog 🙂