Saturday, July 14, 2012

Technical Testing Tribulations

ay back in November I finally staked my claim on a corner of the internet by registering and hosting a website under my name. I had stalled for almost a full year, thinking there was too much I would want to research before pinning down a registrar/host. Turns out that was the easy part (once I realised I didn't need a slew of dedicated servers in the former Soviet Bloc).

After choosing DreamHost at the recommendation of a friend and a popular website (Lifehacker, who recently re-affirmed DreamHost's dominance), all I had to do was learn how to code an entire website. And not just any website, one that would display a photographic portfolio dynamically and interactively and [buzzword] and [so on]. Ok, so I haven't quite gotten to that part yet, but the site exists and is a decent placeholder.

pie, blueberries, tart, lemon curd
The holdup is that I'm the sort of person who can't just throw up something pre-fabricated and call it a day, I have to learn how to code the entire thing myself, learn databases and cascading stylesheets, from scratch. Maybe once I've done that I could take an easier route, but without understanding the background it seems too much like cheating. Besides, most of the point was giving myself opportunity to learn, given that my photos probably aren't going to start flying off the shelves (there are some up, but they, too, are placeholders).
poached, apricots, tart, pie, cheescake
So in the meantime I've just been using the web export feature in Adobe Lightroom (a god-send for those of us who like cataloging, integration with other applications and services and powerful but simple tools). The problem I'm leading up to is that I'd like to stop hosting the photos I use in blog posts on Picasa and move them all over to a dedicated storage folder on my website. Heck, someday I should move this blog there, too.
orange, chiffon, chocolate, meringue, pie
The problem is that to use a photo in a post, I need to have a link to the .jpg file that will never change, or at least use a relative link to just "/kitten.jpg" rather than "http:// blah/folderA/section56/kitten.jpg" and so on. So that's one solution. But I also need the photo to link to a gallery view on my website, so that the clicker can browse through other photos from my blog, and also use spiffy navigation controls to browse by keyword or just mosey back through other parts of my portfolio.

I'm not going to list how much of that I have no idea how to accomplish, because it's too overwhelming. But, I've written an entire blogpost about it now, so that will hopefully motivate me.

Oh, and the reason there are random photos of pie here is because they're hosted on my website, just... not very sophisticatedly.


  1. Checkout lightbox, a jquery plugin:

    You stash your pictures in a folder in your web directory, add a few lines to the head of your html document, and wrap the pictures in a link like so:


    [link href="lightbox2.5/css/lightbox.css" rel="stylesheet" /]
    [script src="lightbox2.5/js/jquery-1.7.2.min.js" type="text/javascript"][/script]
    [script src="lightbox2.5/js/lightbox.js" type="text/javascript"][/script]


    [div id="aBlockOfPictures"]

    [a href="images/FULLSIZE" rel="lightbox[disrobe]" title="GPS loading screen"]
    [img class="thumbnail" src="images/THUMBNAIL"]


    I'm using it here:
    Ps. I used [] instead of <> so the above code wouldn't render.

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