Plans for a simpler image uploader

My daily commutes to and from work and university and home have been rather dull. I forgot my headphones today, and my only option was to listen to the distracting beat of someone playing Kesha’s Tik Tok on a speakerphone as I sat on the train and thanked the cows for the great seats on intercity trains. I hate Kesha.

Normally I’d write a poem, normally I’d study, and often when I forget my headphones (not often. And I love music to pieces, ugh), I end up playing Jewels Maze on my phone. Which is similar to Bejeweled. But since I’m a girl, I can multi-task perfectly well. So while I was trying to fly past a level of Jewels Maze, I was thinking about a particular 13th March 2012 and about something I had to write for that day.

XHTML is not new to me; I will have no struggle writing a learning proposal in XHTML… I even plan to make things look lovely with CSS. I’m not quite sure what everyone else has in mind for their learning proposals in the class, but wherever I can help, I would love to. It’s just my nature to help people especially in the field of web design – a field which I believe I have extensive experience in. I’m sure other people will have basic ideas but I have a few of my own, which I can hopefully explain from a layman’s definition right to its complexity.

Let’s start with my first idea. Of course, the important thing is to challenge myself so I have to think of something that I can do that is not easy, given my skills. I could easily say “create a mobile website” but I’ve partially pulled one up for my blog already (it needs tweaking, sorry it’s ugly), and I have had that experience several times at work. So my idea has something to do with images. As I like simple graphic design and photo editing in Photoshop, I’ve come to enjoy creating icons/avatars based on characters from television shows, movies, or just using stock photography. LiveJournal has a large community when it comes to “icons”. For those unaware, in such a community, icons are generally 100 by 100 pixel images that have been cropped and/or edited in some way. My idea was to build something similar to Hannah’s Iconish, because I very much like the idea of being able to organise images, and to create something similar on my own would be something I would be very proud of.

Having used Iconish before, I have found no problems with it, and I like that Hannah has the feature of categories. Icon Sort is a similar PHP script, but makes the process of adding images much easier by allowing you to simply make a folder and add folders within that folder – where the folders’ names are the category names. Simple and easy to use, but obviously not as complex as Hannah’s. I have used it on icons.georgie.nu.

I won’t completely review the two scripts as that is not where I plan to head with my ideas, but given my interest in images, organisation and management, I have decided to look at something a bit more complex and perhaps common.

As WordPress is an extremely popular CMS, its media uploading feature must be used quite a lot. However, I personally find that WordPress’ media uploader is a pain in the backside. I can think of several dislikes:

  • Resizes your image and makes multiple copies of different sized thumbnails.
  • As per the above, wastes space.
  • Gives less tech-savvy people the impression that they are inserting smaller images into their posts which reduces loading time, but high resolution images are still uploaded to the server.
  • Changing captions and image metadata is a hassle as you need to hit ‘Save’ every time.
  • If your theme does not have the default image classes specified in the stylesheet, your images don’t align properly.

I can just think of so many improvements to this media uploader. Since many people in the class are using WordPress for their blogging platform, I suggest you actually take a look at the media uploader and see how it works for you as an image uploader. I’ve previously worked with Textpattern, and I’ve discovered that the bot_image_upload plugin is a lifesaver. You can insert images, easily edit them and change their order with a simple drag-and-drop function. A little goes a long way.

As a photographer I also prefer simplicity. While the pros of the media uploader include the fact that you can quickly make minor edits to your images and create a gallery, I believe that some people out there would appreciate a simpler uploader (myself included). What I’d like to include is basically a form with all fields already set out, including a “Browse” field to browse for a file, then you need only hit ‘Save’ once.

It would also be desirable for a stylesheet to be automatically included into the user’s theme so that images are guaranteed to be aligned the way the user wants. Also – no thumbnails unless requested by the user. This could be a separate option. I would like to incorporate all my ideas into a WordPress plugin that will override the crappy image uploader WordPress has now.

That’s just my ideas in a nutshell, not really concise… I do apologise. It’s getting late. /um

You know, I did try writing a really, really simple plugin once, that didn’t go too well.

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