The Geek abides...

Wallpapery Gallery Redone... Again!

Date/Time Permalink: 01/14/07 02:13:55 pm
Category: Site News

OK, I quit trying to make it perfect, but I did make it scalable so that when the time comes to make it perfect, I'll be able to.

So, there's the wallpaper gallery back up. It's simple, it uses the same theme as the rest of the site, and it's much easier to navigate.

The deceptively simple prospect of simply having a page that displays pictures has proved to be the biggest hassle of the site.

First, I tried Coppermine. The trouble with every single website gallery software product that I've seen out there is that it's always a hundred dollar program on a nickel errand.

[begin rant]
Do you hear me, gallery software designers? I don't need a blog, BBS, operating system, X-Wing Fighter, joomla template, podcasting server, Flash games arcade, and Ajax showcase wrapped up into the gallery. All the gallery systems out there are yelling "Tons of features! We add a thousand more every release, which is at least once an hour!" Why do people lose their heads over this? When it takes me longer to learn how to use your gallery than it did to learn the Linux operating system, something is very wrong.

An image gallery should be a mandatory three hundred lines of code or less. After that, you've invented whatever it is you really wanted to write - a web directory portal, say - and you should call it that.
[end rant]

My next idea was to make a system on my home computer that would create a small system of static HTML pages, and zip up the images, thumbnails and all, into a tidy tarball. I would just click my executable, play a round of MineSweeper, collect the tarball and load it up onto my site and unzip it in place: poof! - it's done. That worked great for a while, except that I decided to do 25 thumbnails per page and have the images in completely random order. Those were two bad decisions. I don't always make wallpapers in batches of 25, and what user wants to plow through 300+ images arranged at random looking for what they want?

But I ended up with the coolest name. I came up with "PEGS" - stands for "Pete's Economical Gallery System" - and the acronym makes you think of ".jpeg". So now I have to push forward with the project, because I can't let a cool name like that go to waste, could I?

So what we have now is the front end for the alpha stage of PEGS 2.0. I have also gone through the archive and pitched out half of the images, which were garbage. It is also arranged by dimensions first and alphabet second, so when you want all the 1024x768 Window Maker backgrounds, they're right there together.

Right now when you click a thumbnail, you get taken to the full-size picture, and your only option to see another is to click "back" and go again. When I build the back-end, I plan on an intermediate page with a larger (but not full-size) frame of the image, details and info about it, and arrows to go forward and back to next and previous images. Also make it searchable. That will all have to be generated from SQL or something. And yes, I've seen the super-cool lightbox-type Javascript/CSS apps out there, which I was tempted to use but they all require special code to make them behave in IE. That's the acronym for Internet Exploder, pronounced "AaaaaIIIiieeee!"

No matter what, I want it to be "make picture, post picture", always, no hassle at all. For users, I want it to be "see picture, get picture", and on your merry way!

And now, of course, I've linked it to this blog post for any comments that need saying.

UPDATE: Yes, spam comments linking to porn gets deleted! DUH!

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