Just some stuff I want to share with you

Posts tagged NextGEN

Krangoo.com launched!

When you look at my website, you must have noticed that I use a lot of photos. I think that a single photo tells a better story then a lot of words. But using photos on your blog like I do is very time consuming especially when you also want to keep track of the locations where you created your photos. So how does it work? Well in general it looks like this:

  • When I travel I take my camera and a GPS logger with me.
  • At the end of the day I connect both devices to my computer to extract their data.
  • I first cleanup my GPS track; remove any strange sparks and convert it into a gpx or kml file.
  • Then I cleanup my photos. Remove the bad ones; change orientation, tag them and add the GPS info to them.
  • The next step is to upload the GPS track and my photos to the webserver.
  • Once the photos are on the server I create a NextGEN Gallery and add the photos to it.
  • Then I create my blog post and include the GPS track and the photos that I think support the text.

I noticed that I use a lot of software and steps to do all this and set myself a goal: reduce the amount of handling. The first improvement I came up with was the uploading of the photos.

I use Windows Live Photo Gallery to do the cleanup and tagging of my photos. But this application does not have options to interface with my NextGEN photo gallery. To be more precise: it didn’t!

This week I launched a new website: www.krangoo.com and on this site you will find the WordPress and More plugin for Windows Live Photo Gallery. It allows you to upload your photos to a NextGEN photo gallery and allows you to create a new gallery before uploading the photos.
So, the first optimization is in place. On to the next one.

Moving and updating…

I started this website in 2009 in order to share photos and impressions of my holiday in Australia. At that point in time, I didn’t spend too much time investigating what the best solution for such a site would look like, nor did I look into hosting and hosting providers.

I did look into several applications for my website and found that WordPress was by far the easiest to use while being “on the road” and I found several plugins that would allow me to show photos and publish GPS tracks using Google maps.

The addiejanssen.com domain was registered via GoDaddy and to my surprise they could host the website for me for very little money. As a result, I setup my website.

During my holiday I found that the performance of the site was very poor. Initially I thought that was the result of the many many photos, a lot of complex Google maps and a hefty WordPress theme (a theme is an add on to the blogging software, that controls the look and feel of the website).

But after some time I concluded that, although all the facts stated above were correct, that couldn’t be the only reasons for the poor performance. So, I started to look into this. I downloaded the whole site to a computer at home and even using it over my slow ADSL link, it performed great. It must be the hosting platform then. After some more investigation, it became clear that the GoDaddy service is not only cheap, it is also quite poor with regards to performance. Conclusion: time to move the website.

The next challenge then is to find a new hosting service. Entering “wordpress hosting” into Google resulted in more than 17 million results… It took me some time to end up with a party that seemed okay: GreenGeeks. Why this provider? Well, looking at several forums, it became clear that most GreenGeeks users are happy. Furthermore they have a nice statement: World’s #1 Green Energy Hosting!

Once I selected my new provider, it was time to move. That happened today. Although there are still some small issues, from now on the site will be hosted on the GreenGeeks platform and I will terminate the hosting agreement with GoDaddy.

In order to prepare the migration, I did some testing on different migration scenarios. The biggest issue here was the large amount of photos and the usage of an old version of Gallery2. All in all, the migration wasn’t too difficult, but it brought some points of attention:

  • Several posts have absolute links to other posts on my website. That’s not a “bad thing”, but it does result in some issues when you want to move your site. Initially I setup a new address (testing.addiejanssen.com) that pointed to the new provider. This would allow me to test the new site, before making the actual switch. However, I noticed that certain elements were extremely slow; they were pointing back to www.addiejanssen.com (still on the GoDaddy platform)… So, I will need to look into this one: changing the absolute links into relative links.
  • As I posted earlier, I am not a big fan of the Gallery2 photo album. However, most of my photos are still in Gallery2. This needs to be migrated to NextGEN. It’s a lot of work, since I need to check each individual post to see if it references a photo in Gallery2 and then replace that reference with a link to the NextGEN image. I already started to create a small application to handle the conversion, but so far didn’t finalize this step.

So, all in all, you’re now looking at my new and improved website (well, at least it loads in a reasonable time now). Hope you enjoy it.

Updating, testing and changing…

For those who have looked at the site over the last few weeks, you may have noticed that the layout has changed and changed and changed again. Well, it’s all about the changes I am making to the site. I am looking at several WordPress plugins, themes and settings.

Over the next few weeks I will update the individual posts on the site in order to (finally) phase out Gallery 2 and migrate to the NextGEN Gallery. In the meantime, things may change, work or not work, etc.

So what’s going on?

Over the last few days I have been looking at a new picture gallery. And I have found the one I will migrate to: NextGEN Gallery. I have also looked into options to put my pictures on a Google Map combined with the GPS tracks. I found a plugin that can do so: XML Google Maps. As a result I will move away from the Inline Google Maps plugin.

While you will probably not see any changes while I am migrating the pictures to the NextGEN Gallery, you will see the impact of the Google Map plugin change. The new plugin uses a slightly different approach and since I can’t run the two plugins at the same time, you will see all sorts of strange messages in the maps that are now on my site. I will start to update the posts in order to solve the errors as soon as possible.

In the end, it will be much easier to look at my pictures and you can see where they have been taken (assuming I had my PhotoTrackr with me…).