Photo RSS/ATOM feed by Chapman IT

Displaying a thumbnail gallery based on an RSS Feed

Photo RSS/ATOM feed by Chapman IT
May 18, 2010 Johan Peijnenburg
In Software


This website was created by customizing a WordPress theme from Graph Paper Press, that integrates with my image archive at PhotoShelter. One of the things on my list of things to do on this website, is to create a gallery in my blog sidebar (or home page) that displays thumbnails of images that I recently uploaded to my archive at PhotoShelter. I already have a flash slideshow based on a gallery with a selection of new images on my Recent Work page, but this is not what I am looking for. I am looking for something that uses the general RSS feed of my PhotoShelter archive or the RSS feed of my “new images” gallery. Key however is that it shows thumbs in either a row or in a box.

Update May 17, 2010: I have just posted an article with an explanation and output examples of the custom “NiO PhotoShelter RSS Gallery Widget” I have developed myself. For more info, please visit the NiO PhotoShelter RSS Gallery Widget page.

Photo RSS & ATOM Feed by Chapman IT

While I was hunting for a standard solution, I ran into the Photo RSS & ATOM Feed by Chapman IT. This widget is based on a RSS parser called SimplePie. There are three ways of getting this widget to work:

  • Based on HTML, with processing on the servers of Chapman. This one can be implemented in any web page or in a WordPress post, page or sidebar text widget. To use it in wordpress, you will have to install the “Iframe Embedder” plug-in for WordPress.
  • Based on a simple PHP variant, with processing on the servers of Chapman. This variant can be included in a normal web page. It is also possible to include it in a WordPress post, page or sidebar text widget, but you will need to install the exec-php plugin for WordPress.
  • Based on advanced PHP and self-hosted. This version has just been released.

When reviewing the functionality of the widget, I focussed on the html and the simple php variant. Both variants allow you to specify the size of the thumbnails, the number of thumbnails to display (max. 20), the spacing between the thumbs and the styling of the box in which the thumbnails are enclosed. In addition, it is possible to choose between square thumbnails and normal thumbnails.


I tested the widget variant using my main PhotoShelter feed. It is also possible to use the feed of a specific gallery (for instance a gallery which contains a selection of images added recently). A few examples of what can be achieved:

10 images in 2 rows, with a box:

10 images, non-square in 1 row with spacing:

16 images in 4 rows with a scroll bar:


This Photo RSS/ATOM Feed Display widget of Chapman IT meets many of my requirements. It reads the RSS feed and creates a gallery with thumbnails from it. And recently the possibility to add space between the thumbs has been added. When you hover the thumbs, the caption will be shown and when you click the thumb you will be taken to the original photo at PhotoShelter. So far, so good. What I personally still miss however, is the ability to do things like captions under the thumbs, thumb background coloring and borders around each thumb. Many of us will however already be happy with what this widget can do as it stands. If you are into php and opt for the advanced version, there are obviously virtually no limits to what you can do.

To date, I haven’t found any good alternatives, so will start using this widget. Furthermore, I started to work on a custom php based version that is geared towards use with PhotoShelter and with maximum lay-out flexibility. I am testing that version at the moment and will be releasing in the coming few days. So stay tuned. And … if you do know other good standard solutions, please do let me know!