Born Geek
Posts Tagged "monkey-album"

Linked Photo Albums

May 12, 2018

I’m trying something new on my photos site. Starting with the NC Arboretum album, photos will now be hosted at Google Photos. This has a number of benefits:

  • Users can comment on photos
  • I can now embed videos in the album
  • Nicer viewing experience on all devices
  • Simplifies the import process for me

New albums will still show up on my photos site, but they will now be links to the external albums. The RSS feed for albums should still work to track what I post.

I’m not yet sure how to handle the “favorites” section of the photos site. I’d like to be able to point to favorite photos as I take them, but how to do that is still to be determined.

Let me know what you think of this new setup. I’m looking forward to giving it a try, and I have a backlog of photo albums to post.

Monkey Album 2.0

November 18, 2016

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been diligently working on rewriting the software that powers my photography site. Today, the new version has officially launched! This rewrite is mostly a bunch of back-end changes to make my life a lot easier, but it also includes some front-end changes as well. Here’s what’s new from a technical perspective:

  • The site is now served over SSL thanks to DreamHost and the Let’s Encrypt program. Security boost for the win!
  • Collections have been replaced with Tags. I’m in the process of tagging things more carefully than they were previously.
  • The site now uses HTML 5.
  • The site is now powered by Python instead of PHP. I’m using the Django framework, which I’ve really come to enjoy. As a result, the number of lines of code have been drastically reduced (the project is nearly 50% smaller!).

As is typical when I launch stuff like this, there are still a few known issues:

  • The site doesn’t yet render like I want it to on mobile devices
  • Swipe support for navigation isn’t yet in place
  • The RSS feed doesn’t work (I simply forgot to implement it) This has been fixed!

I’m sure there are probably bugs lurking here and there. Let me know if you encounter any.

Reynolda House & Photo Site Updates

August 12, 2014

I’ve just posted a new photo album of a recent trip to Reynolda House in Winston-Salem. This estate, former home to R.J. Reynolds (founder of the R.J. Reynolds tobacco company), is truly astounding. If you’re ever in the area, I recommend it as a day trip.

I have also finally gotten around to rolling out some minor improvements at my photo site. Tall images should be scaled to fit the view-port now, though it’s not perfect (there are still some bugs lurking in the code). I hope to eventually improve this portion of the site, but for now it should prevent having to scroll around to see the whole image. (I’ve backed this change out since I’m not 100% happy with it).

Improved Mobile Experience for Photos

September 6, 2013

I’ve finally gotten around to improving the mobile browsing experience for my photos. There are still a few nits I might try to improve (I hide EXIF information on screens smaller than 1024 pixels in width, collection previews don’t scale on the smallest screen sizes, etc), but it should be a much better experience than before. This should also hopefully help those of you who don’t have very wide screens.

Let me know if you spot any problems or have suggestions for improvement.

Photo Album Software Update

January 21, 2013

I’ve rolled out some improvements to the software powering my photos website. Visitors can now navigate through all of my favorite photos without having to use the back button in the browser (favorites are essentially their own album now). I’ve been wanting to fix this problem for some time, and it feels good to finally get it resolved!

I also stamped out a few bugs that crept in when I last updated the site. If you spot any problems with the photos site, or have suggestions for improvement, I’m all ears!

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Dismal Swamp Photos and a New Site

June 11, 2012

I have just posted new photos from Dismal Swamp State Park. This album also introduces my new photos-only sub-domain: The site utilizes a brand new design, larger album previews, and, beginning with this photo album, larger photos. There are a still a few items I have not yet implemented:

  1. I want a better way to browse through favorite images Fixed!
  2. Images should ideally not wrap off of the page (i.e. they should fit the viewport) This has been fixed, at least in the horizontal case
  3. There should be some sort of “About” page since the site now stands alone Fixed!

None of these features seemed important enough to hold back opening it up to visitors, so that’s why I’m unveiling it today. I will be going back through my posts here and updating all the various links to point to the new URL (old URLs should hopefully redirect correctly). If you spot any bugs with the new site, please let me know. I tested with the latest versions of Firefox and Chrome, as well as Internet Explorer 8. I’d also love to hear your comments on the new site.

Improving Photo Page Descriptions

January 3, 2012

At some point last year, I noticed that the Google snippets for search results pointing to my photo section at this site were incorrect. Instead of listing helpful content, they instead showed page navigation information. Here’s an example:

Monkey Album Snippet
Google Snippet Example

Note how in this example, the snippet lists the links that appear in the navigation section of my site. That’s clearly unhelpful to users who find my content through search engines. As a result, I’m trying to fix this issue. Today, I made a change to include appropriate meta description tags on each page. The tags are as follows:

  • All “static” pages (list of albums, list of collections, and favorites) now use a suitable static page description
  • Album pages use the album description itself for the meta tag contents
  • Image pages use the image’s alt-text for the page description

I’m not sure if duplicating the content (in the case of the album description) is a wise decision or not, but I don’t know what else to put there. I suppose I could truncate the data to maybe 150 characters, but that might seem strange on a Google search result page. Do you have any suggestions for how search results of this type should appear? Any ideas would be welcome.

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New Preview Sizes Are Live

June 9, 2011

I have pushed out the changes I recently discussed to my photo album software. Album preview images now utilize the new 16:9 size, making it easier for me to select nice looking previews. Several album preview images have been changed as a result. The collection preview images have also been modified. I plan on doing some more work on collection previews in the near future, to allow for varying image collage templates.

Please let me know if you spot something broken. I made a lot of changes on the back end in the midst of doing this upgrade; hopefully I squashed any bugs that got introduced.

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Album Preview Modifications

June 5, 2011

Over the past few months, I have been intermittently working on a few modifications to my photo album software here at the site. The only change I have pushed out to the site so far is moving my favorites to their own dedicated tab. Another change that I’m still pondering is a modification to the aspect ratio for photo album previews. Here’s an example of the change I’m thinking about making:

Album Preview Modifications

The example on the left shows an album preview block as it appears on the site today, while the example on the right shows how I plan to make the preview image larger (please ignore the color differences). Today, each album’s preview image is a 16-to-6.4 ratio image (250 x 100). This tight ratio makes finding a usable preview image harder than it should be. I’m thinking about changing the preview to a 16-to-9 ratio (roughly 250 x 140). Using this alternate ratio, should help make preview photos stand out a bit more, and will make it easier to select nice looking images. The down side to this change, however, is that is will push content farther down the page (not to mention the slightly longer load times for the larger images).

Do you have an opinion on which is better?

High-Res Photos in Monkey Album

May 1, 2010

I have just updated Monkey Album yet again, this time adding support for displaying high-res versions of individual images. This feature will typically be used to link to large panoramic photos that I take. Previously, I had to do this by hand, linking to an image manually in the caption. The old way was rife with problems; this new implementation is much better (and more portable!).

All of my previous panoramic photo entries have been updated to use this new feature. You’ll note a new link area just above these pictures now. Simply click it to view the high-resolution version of that image. I’m hoping this implementation is clear enough to the lay-user. If you have suggestions for improvement let me know. You’ll also probably need to refresh your cached stylesheet if you’ve visited my photos page recently (otherwise the new style won’t show up properly).

Here’s a listing of the current images now using this feature:

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