Early this year, I created this photography website by combining the image archiving and e-commerce capabilities of PhotoShelter and WordPress’s publishing platform.
One of things left on the list of things to do, was to add a thumbnail gallery to my blog’s sidebar of images recently added to my PhotoShelter image archive. I could obviously achieve something similar by manually adding recent images to a gallery and using a slideshow to display them. I wanted something more dynamic however, something that reads a RSS feed and displays the image thumbnails as found in the feed as a gallery.
While hunting for a standard solution, I decided to try and create a widget myself, geared specifically towards PhotoShelter. It’s never to late to learn something new and it actually worked out!
The NiO PhotoShelter RSS Gallery Widget was last updated on August 20th, 2011: version 1.5.4 now available for download (in this version the timthumb version used has been replaced to deal with a security issue)! Please also make sure to check out the new animation add-on for the widget.
What the widget does
The NiO PhotoShelter RSS Gallery widget creates dynamic thumbnail galleries of images recently added to a PhotoShelter archive. It does this, by reading either the general PhotoShelter RSS feed (for instance: ‘http://niophoto.photoshelter.com/?feed=rss’), the RSS feed of a specific PhotoShelter Gallery or the RSS feed of a PhotoShelter search. The thumbnail galleries are automatically updated each time an image is made searchable respectively is added to a specific gallery at PhotoShelter.
The widget makes it possible to showcase galleries of recent images on web sites that run blog software like WordPress and Joomla, without having to manually update the gallery each time something changes on the PhotoShelter side of life. In addition, the widget does the following:
- Add a header and description to the gallery, if these are specified.
- Automatically add hyperlinks to the thumbnails that link back to the source images as archived at PhotoShelter.
- Automatically add the IPTC title and photographer name to the “title” tag of the thumbnail. This title appears on hovering the thumbnail. It can however also be fixed for all images (for instance as “Image by NiO Photography”).
- Automatically add the IPTC keywords of the original image to the “alt” tag of the thumbnail, to help improve SEO.
- Style the gallery and its thumbnails via parameters or via CSS styles. It is for instance possible to:
- Set the size of the thumbnails and specify if they need to be square or if you want to fix the height.
- Determine whether a high quality thumbnail with a watermark should be used or a small lower quality thumbnail without a watermark.
- Set the background color, border, width and padding of the thumbnail gallery as a whole as well as the background color, border, width and padding of each individual thumbnail.
- Tentatively create a caption for each thumbnail based on the IPTC title or IPTC caption of the source image.
The widget can be used multiple times, based on different RSS feeds, on a single page.
The NiO PhotoShelter RSS Gallery widget is written in PHP and uses the PHP extensions SimpleXML and Xpath to read RSS feeds and TimThumb to process thumbnails. The widget can be installed on any domain server that supports PHP5 and Curl.
The widget was primarily designed for use with WordPress (in posts, pages and text widgets) as well as Joomla (in articles and modules). For both, a plug-in will need to be activated to enable the use of PHP. Obviously the widget code can also be included in any PHP document even if WordPress or Joomla are not used. In addition, it can be used on pages without PHP support, for instance PhotoShelter, by using an Iframe based approach (as long as the php code is hosted elsewhere).
Let’s have a look at some examples of what is possible with this widget:
Example of a gallery with rounded borders
An example of the use of CSS styles to further enhance the widget, for instance to round the borders of the gallery and the images, can be found here: Gallery with rounded borders.
I have included the widget on my Recent Work page.
You can also see the widget in action at:
- Dave Pattinson Photography: Dave Pattinson is an Alberta, Canada, based photographer specializing in stock and fine art photography with a focus on western Canada. His site is based on Joomla and he has just implemented the widget in the sidebar of his blog.
- Pare and Focus – Photography Simplified: Pare and Focus is run by Kat Landreth. Kat’s main focus is to give digital photography beginners photography tips and original tutorials for using editing software and to provide simple and not too technical ways of making digital photos look better. Her site is based on WordPress and she has just implemented the widget on her blog’s sidebar.
- Mediasculp – Harald Walker: for Harald Walker, Mediasculp serves as a platform for some of his creative activities, from web-design to video art. In the recent years the focus has mainly been on food and travel photography as well as making films. Harald uses the F8 WordPress theme of Graph Paper Press. He has just included the widget in the “View work” section of his home page and in the sidebar of his blog.
- Stephen Harrison Photography: Stephen is an event and commercial photographer located in Ottawa, Canada. Stephen has included the widget in the sidebar of his blog.
- RDKPHOTOBANK: RDKPHOTOBANK is a photo stock and photographic agency run by Gaudencio García. The agency is located and specialized in Spain. Gaudencio has included the widget on the frontpage of RDKPHOTOBANK’S blog. Gaudencio uses WordPress for the blog.
- Clarence Holmes Photography: Clarence is a photographer with a focus on nature, wildlife (particularly birds and dragonflies) and landscape photography. He has included the widget on his home page as well as his birds and odonata stock pages. Clarence uses WordPress for his photography web site.
- Richard King Fine Art photography: Richard included the widget as a recent work display in the sidebar of his blog. Richard also uses wordpress for his Fine Art Photographic Prints & Stock Photography web site.
- Marco Secchi Photographer: Marco is a Press and Editorial London Photographer and he included the widget as a latest images display on his home page. Marco’s site is based on WordPress.
- Warren Diggles Photography & Design: Warren included the widget as a dynamic gallery display on his Commercial Photographer Colorado Photography portfolio page. Warren’s site is custom-built.
- Greg Stechishin Photographer: Greg is a Canadian photgrapher, based in Switzerland. Greg included the widget in the footer of his site, both in WordPress and in PhotoShelter.
- Randall Murrow Wedding Photographer: Randall is a wedding photographer from London, UK. I think Randall has fallen in love with the widget, as he is using it as the main image showcase on his as well as in many posts. Make sure to check out this example of how Randall combined a large featured image with the gallery widget display in a post.
- Jeff League Mixed Media Fine Art Photography: Jeff League is an award winning Florida artist who explores the possibilities of photography on canvas. His recent mixed media work combines fine art photography with the rare medium of encaustic painting. Jeff uses the widget on his bio page and blog sidebar.
The NiO PhotoShelter RSS Gallery Widget can be downloaded from our Download page:
If you like this widget and decide to use it, please donate, blog about it or provide a credit on your site with a link to my site (http://www.niophoto.com).