Another Day, Another Learning Experience

Using PhotoShelter Images on  Wordpress.com

One of the more interesting aspects of weaving your own web presence is that you’re always looking for ways to make it just a little more interesting. So when PhotoShelter announced several months ago that they had developed new ways to integrate their site with various blogs I began to look around. Several times in the recent past I’ve come across Eric Hegwer’s entry, How to get a photoshelter slideshow embedded in a wordpress blog .

Eric’s instructions seemed easy enough so I decided to give it a try.
Step 1: Downloading a third party plug-in called Kimili.
Step 2: Upload Kimili to the server.

Well downloading was easy enough but when it came to uploading I just couldn’t figure out where to put it. I could upload a photo to wordpress.com. I could even upload a movie…. but display a slideshow posted elsewhere, such as the PhotoShelter slideshow just didn’t work. There was no plug-in folder to upload Kimili to. And, to make matters worse, every time I’d enter the PhotoShelter code it would morph into a link. Somehow I just didn’t get it… and I’m not exactly new to all of this.

So after some googling, some meandering the WordPress support pages, and finally doing an on-site search, I learned that only WordPress.org blogs seem to allow such uploading of plug-ins. And, oddly enough,  stacyshomejournal exists in the .com world.


More recently, PhotoShelter’s been abuzz with talk about fully integrating wordpress blogs via Graph Paper Press …..

The Big Type Giveth, and the fine print taketh away.

tempchaos

Turns out, Graph Paper Press templates need to be hosted elsewhere, like on your own server, or on Visual Society as PhotoShelter suggests. Since there are no upload folders on WordPress.com it doesn’t seem to support third party templates either. Maybe WordPress.com figured the 77 themes they already offer are enough?

Those of us who still remember the 90s when a personal homepage, usenet,  and  email accounts were actually included in the price of basic internet access might find Visual Society’s $30/month (or $199/year) pro account a bit pricy – especially once you add  the cost of a custom PhotoShelter website  plus hosted domain email at yet another  provider. Sure I could take Visual Society for a spin by signing up for a free account, but I’m afraid I might like it, and wind up paying considerably more, by subscribing to all of these a la carte internet services.

Although I do like the name,  one much more affordable alternative to Visual Society would be to download the WordPress.org software, and host it on BlueHost, which boasts some kind of auto-Wordpress set-up.  At $7.99/month that’ll help keep a lid on the web budget during a tight economy and give you domain email to boot. Maybe I’ll give Bluehost a try when my pre-paid domain email account comes up for renewal.


So while I still haven’t found a way to intergrate PhotoShelter slide shows on my WordPress.com blog,   or even add a search box with a rather generic PhotoShelter graphic I did stumble across a way to display photos, recently added to my PhotoShelter archive,  on the main page of my wordpress.com blog.

Wordpress.com provides a number of widgets for working with RSS feeds. The first time I tried this I used the Flickr widget, which will actually displays images from any RSS feed, whether it’s Flickr or otherwise. You could probably use any of the RSS widgets provided but since the Flickr Widget was intended for photos, I thought it might be easier to use. or maybe I was just too lazy to look any further.   But rather using a flickr RSS feed you can simply enter the RSS url from your PhotoShelter main page, or gallery, and then modify the heading accordingly.

rss

You can grab the RSS url of your Photoshelter feed by clicking on the RSS icon in your brower's address window.

Widget

The Flickr Widget resides in the Appearance section of your WordPress.com Dashboard. Simply drag&drop the Flickr Widget onto your sideboard and plug in your PhotoShelter RSS feed.

You can also display PhotoShelter photos the old fashioned way, that is – insert a photo, via an html link with image source code, and it will appear with your PhotoShelter watermark. It gives a whole new meaning to hand writing. Once WordPress’ mouse-over site preview kicks in it’s not so bad and it’s not costing me an extra $30 per month.

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