We'll cover here Photo-Folder's installation and administration steps.
Photo-folders is a Wordpress plugin tha1t can be installed either with copying its folder manually via an FTP client (like Filezilla) in the wp-content/plugins Wordpress folder, or with installing it through the Wordpress plugin administration interface.
To do so, the plugin is installable in two forms: a lightweight version of less than 3 Mb used from the Wordpress plugin installation feature, and the full-featured version of about 400 Mb that is installable via FTP. What's the difference? The later version contains help, camera and lenses images used in the plugin. In the lightweight version, these files are not installed at first glance. They are automatically downloaded by the plugin from a reference server when needed depending on user's actions. This process is transparent for the user.
After it is installed, you need to activate the plugin. It will automatically handle several operations: copy sample images in the photo-albums folder located in the Wordpress wp-content server folder, create a page template that will be copied in your activated theme and database initializations.
After activation, you can immediately access - through a displayed link - to the plugin user interface or modify some settings in the plugin administration page and tabs.
After activation is done, it is recommended to deactivate the Wordpress toolbar that is displayed on top of your web site when logged as admin. This deactivation is actually automatic and done for the current administrator user.
Here is the user interface of the plugin once installed. It is preconfigured with two small albums in one group for testing purpose. This group and its albums can be deleted once you've created your own ones.
The plugin is now usable in its user mode. You can still customize it in the plugin administration interface.
Photo-Folders can be automatically update with using Wordpress plugins administration page. The update is proposed if a new version is available. A link can open a window to show the list of new features available in the newest versions. Another link is launching the update. This will be a "one click" process, avoiding the download of a ZIP file and uploading it into your Wordpress folders with an FTP client.
The automatic update process has a side effect: it deletes all image files from the local help and from the camera/lenses directories. These will be downloaded by your server on the reference Photo-Folders server on an as-needed basis.
Here is the process to install Photo-Folders and Wordpress on a PC running Windows. The process is similar when using a Macintosh.
Administration features are structured in eight tabs.
The first tab is dedicated to configuring folder files, the plugin header, the default plugin album and the plugin access control.
The second tab is about configuring presentation modes for pictures and thumbnails.
The third tab configures the default widget settings used by the widgets and the widget generator used in admin mode directly from the plugin. Once defined, these settings will be used by the widget generator in the plugin interface.The fourth tab with various identifiers: email, Twitter and FacebookIDs used when interacting with the user and social networks identifiers.
The fifth tab enables bulk groups and albums deletion. It complements the groups and albums features in the plugin interface, which can be used for only one group and album at a time. Deleted groups and albums are not permanently erased from the server. They are simply renamed with "(delete) " at the beginning of their names. Then, it can be restored in the sixt tab or in the plugin interface when logged as admin. Buttons in this tab enable a permanent deletion of deleted groups and albums should you need to save space on the server. Use this feature with caution!
The sixth tab enables bulk groups and albums deletion cancellation. This is a feature also available in the plugin user interface. Here, you can quickly unerase several groups and albums at once.
The seventh tab is dedicated to migrating a blog using other pictures publishing services. The links to these external sites using a same url pattern are détected as well as any mention of the related service. For each blog posts link to an external album, several albums from the plugin are proposed that are less than 20 days olders than the post.
The eight tab shows diagnostic data on the server configuration with software versions, folders access rights and mysql table status. It can be used to detect plugin malfunctioning and help technical support.
Despite the wealth plugin administrative features, most content administration is achieved in the plugin user interface when logged as Wordpress admin. It is used to upload pictures, rename and delete it.
The language of the plugin settings is defined in the wp-config.php from your Wordpress installation. Since Wordpress 4.0, the language is defined with $locale = 'fr_FR'; or, for english, with $locale = 'en_US';. This replaces the define(WPLANG, 'fr_FR') used in previous versions.
Let's now look in details at all administrative features.
It enables the following settings:
- The folders where are stored Jpeg and Png images on the Wordpress serveur, relatively to the Wordpress wp-content folder. This change as well as the thumbnails folder name will require a regeneration of the images database (in your Wordpress blog MySQL tables). You'll do this in batch mode with photo-batch.php.
- The folder for images thumbnails on the Wordpress server, relatively to the Wordpress wp-content folder. These thumbnails are generated by the plugin or by the script photo-batch.php.
- The folder for download ZIP files created for user download features, also relatively to wp-content. A feature in the fifth tab enables emptying this folder which could grow fast with an intentive usage by many users.
- The name of the page launching the plugin, whichs shows up in your Wordpress site menus if you automatically display all your pages in the theme you are using. It's also used as the title of your plugin tab in your browser. This name can be defined in both English and French.
- The page slug, which is the plugin name required in the Wordpress URL to launch it.
- To directly show the plugin when launching the Wordpress blog. It becomes its home page. It can be useful for a Wordpress site done only for viewing pictures using the plugin. When deactivated after being activated, Wordpress will then launch in index view with the last posts.
- The default group shown when the plugin is launched (without any group in the URL parameters).
- The default album shown at plugin launch. It can also be chosen in admin mode with selecting the album and using the related "default album" icon in the album functions dialog box.
- To protect the plugin access with a single password, before displaying any picture. This is a lightweight security.
- To limit the access to the plugin to Wordpress registered users, using an unique identifier and password. This is particularly useful when Wordpress is used only for viewing pictures with the plugin. When this security level is activated, the former one, if also activated (single password), is not operational anymore. This security level is described in details in the privacy and security section of the plugin documentation and help.
Changing the plugin header logo. It must be a transparent PNG file working on both a light an dark background. You can drag and drop it from your desktop on the two versions it can use, one for dark background and the other for a light background. With averagely lighted colors, the same logo can be used for both versions. One button can be used to restore default headers.
Now, about the second tab dedicated to configuring visual aspects of the plugin.
It can tweak the following settings:
- The default plugin language among available languages. One language can be added in the plugin with adding an entry in the GLOBALS["langtable"] table that is defined at tne beginning of pf-help-admin.php and with creating a new couple of .mo and .po files in the /lang plugin folder. The language used in the plugin settings is specified elswhere, in the Wordpress wp-config.php file. Il contains the following line to use English language in the settings: define('WPLANG', 'en_US'); .
- Using a color to highlight text between parenthesis in picture names. The color is configured at the end of this tab.
- The groups sort mode at the top of the interface. It's either ascending or descending, alphabetically. The special groups "Search" and "Top" stay at the end of the list.
- The albums list presentation mode at the left of the interface. You can define the width of its column and where the album pictures count is positionned: at the left or right of album names or not showing any count.
- Sorting modes for albums/items and thumbnail pictures. These sorting modes correspond to the sort mode icons for albums/items (from search results) and for thumbnail pictures. You can also specify the presence of label separator for date sort modes and alphabetical names sort mode. These settings can be interactively defined in the plugin and saved with making the current album the default plugin album. These params are default plugin params when it's launched with an URL that do not contain presentation params with a string like: "&opt=flb0000e01FR0050211".
- The maximum pictures width that can be uploaded through the plugin. The default setting is of 2000 pixels. It's not recommended to publish online pictures with a greater resolution. People needing higher resolutions should ask the photo author since it might be needed for a print publication. Pictures larger than this setting with be greyed when trying to upload it from the plugin in the upload images thumbnail preview. On a shared hosting service offering 90 Mb or PHP server RAM, JPEG and PNG pictures of up to 5 Mb and 20 mpixels can be handled.
- The maximum display size of pictures. Larger pictures (and smaller than the maximum image size) will be compressed to this size for their display in the plugin and also blog widgets. Compression happens simultaneously with the picture thumbnail creation.
- The possibility to download pictures at their maximum size. When not activated, pictures larger than the maximum display size will be downloadable only at this maximum threshold. When the maximum size download is enabled, the picture information dialog box indicates the display size and downloadable size.
- The default display of album decription below their name. This option is also saved by the plugin when an album is selected to be the default one by the admin. The option is active when the plugin is launched with no parameters.
- The width of picture thumbnails generated by the plugin. When this value is modified, you must regenerate all picture thumbnails, preferably in PHP bach mode with using photo-batch.php.
- The margin between thumbnails in the plugin. It's the free vertical and horizontal space between thumbnails frames.
- The frame margin in thumbnails. It's the horizontal and vertical margin within thumbnail frame separating the frame from the picture thumbnail.
- The maximum number of downloadable pictures used in the album and search images download. It's default value is set to 500. This will avoid seing users pumping all your albums with large downloads.
- The maximum number of pictures for the most viewed ones as shown inthe statistics views. Default to 50.
- The maximum number of albums in the plugin RSS feed, set by default to 12.
- The maximum number of pictures shown in a search result. It avoids generating too large a server and client load when using search features. For you to known, Google never generates more than 1000 results in any search !
- The plugin background color by default for the plugin: white or black. It's actually very light grey and dark grey.
- The default pictures display mode for a regular browser usage.
- The default presentation mode for a touch based device usage (tablets and smartphones running iOS and Android at this point).
- The user ability to display pictures technical information, like what camera and lenses where used for shootings. You can desactivate this feature for two key reasons: simplifying the plugin user interface and/or hiding this information for any confidentiality reason. JSON activation is mandatory to enable the widget generator for regular users. Otherwise, this feature is reserved to the site administrator and to generate widgets through SHORTCODE or PHP code.
- The user ability to download the current displayed picture with a right mouse click (or CTRL-click equivalent on MacOS). When not allowed, the right-click button will show up the pictures dialog box. This dialog enables a picture download through email identification and sending an email containing a pointer to a ZIP file containing the picture. This iskind of an heavy process but it enables the identification of downloading users. It also reminds them of your pictures value. This download blocking can be circumvented by advanced users who know how to download a web page picture with using the browser developer features.
- Displaying or not the social network bookmarking icons at the top left of enlarged pictures. This feature is also automatically disabled if the plugin page is protected by a password..
- The ability to download pictures with ZIP (via asking the user's email).
- The ability to download lists of search results. It's an "open data" feature that you may want to deactivate.
- The activation of the plugin's JSON APIs which will enable among other things to import albums with another instance of the plugin.
- The activation of search engine optimization features. It embeds in the plugin HTML page hyperlinks and images to reference it well in images search engines like Google Images and Bing. You can check this indexing with looking at the user agents statistics in the plugin statistics dialog box. Search engines bots must have accessed your site at least as many times as the number of pictures it contains. You can also check this indexing with searching for site:(urlpluginphoto) in Google Search.
- The display of the plugin RSS feed icon, given the RSS feed is always active even when the icon is not set to being visible.
- The activation of the convertion of displayed pictures into black and white of colored displayed pictures. This is just affecting display, not underlying pictures.
- The activation of the language switch icon, when the plugin is supposed to be used with only one UI language.
- The choice of the color used in some text and visual elements framing such as the current album and group. This color is picked for the light background interface. A derived color of that color is then automatically generated for the dark background. The tab presents a simulation of this dark background version of the color after it's validated (saved settings).
Let's now cover the third tab dedicated to widget default generation settings:
- The default widget type that will be shown in the interactive widget generator in the plugin and when using the plugin SHORTCODE in a post where the widget type is not specified (voluntarily).
- The default widget height and width embedded in your blogs or third party sites. This size is defining the space to display pictures and their frame in the widget when large versions of pictures are displayed (not thumbnails). The widget will be actually larger to accomodate its frame and optional logo and menu, when needed.
- You can also define the various default widget visual settings : pictures with or without a white frame, with or without albums and picture titles and descriptions, with or without a colored background and the default color value.
- You can specify whether or not the plugin logo must be shown at the widget's top.
- You can also désactivate all links between the widgets and the plugin picture galleries. In that case, the plugin interface will be used only for management purpose for the blog author. There won't be any link between this plugin's widgets and the plugin galleries. You'll probably associate this restriction with setting a plugin protection password like seen in the first configuration tab.
The fourth tab is about configuring the pictures author idenfiers and the links to his Facebook account: You can also provide your Google Web Masters unique ID. It will be embedded in the header of your plugin HTML page, to make sure it's well referenced by Google Search.
You can also input the "About" content that is displayed when you launch the help from the plugin (first tab). It must contain the legal mention text for the plugin, indicating the author's identify, the data privacy regulation mentions, the pictures usage status (creative common, copyright). It must be input in English and French, the two currently supported UI languages in the plugin. The about can contain an <img> tag with the author picture or a logo.
- The author's Twitter ID that is being used in the Twitter Cards automatically gererated for the plugin. These informations are displayed in Twitter when a tweet will point to your pictures and albums in the plugin. Same for Facebook.
- The plugin author's email, that will be shown in emails sent to users asking pictures downloads. This author is not necessarily the pictures author but the one managing the pictures galleries.
- The galleries keywords used for search engines indexing, and showing up in the plugin web page HTML header.
- The about text for the plugin author description and legal information related to the site providing author contact, data privacy regulations related information and generic licensing data. It will show up in the help dialog box with using the last icon before the PDF one.
The fifth tab enables the plugin admin user to delete several groups and albums at a time, and to delete groups and albums thumbnails that are not anymore needed. It's also use to refresh or delete some mysql tables and also to regenerate the blog sitemap..
The tab also enables the administrator to change the author and licence of pictures belonging to several groups and albums at once.
- Groups and albums can be selected one by one using their related checkbox.
- One button can be then used to launch the deletion of groups or albums. When the operation is done - which can last for a while -, the groups or albums list will be updated to match the change.
- The removed groups and albums are still present on the server. They can be restored in the plugin interface or in the sixth plugin administrative tab. Since removed groups and albums can use server space, it can be useful to remove them permanently from the server. One dedicated button enables this permanent removal at the bottom of this tab. Use it with caution. And make sure you have a backup of the removed picture on your own personal computer.
- The groups and albums cleaning feature enables the admin to remove in the server all thumbnails folders and files that are of no more use (after group/albums deletions).
- Another function enables the emptying of the dowload folder that is used to store the .zip files created for user pictures downloads. It is recommended to empty this folder from time to time for the sake of user privacy preservation and to save space on the server.
It is also possible to document the picture's author and licence for selected groups or albums, with inputing their new value, using or not alreay used values in the provided drop down list.
This edition will change the picture file IPTC tags. These features complements the related plugin features available for groups, albums and pictures. Here, several albums and groups can be processed simultaneously.
It's also possible to reset IPTC values to an empty string. This process can take a long time for a large number of pictures. For seeral hundred pictures, the waiting time can be about several seconds.
- Four buttons at the top of this configuration screen can be used to reset some plugin usage tracking tables : "User agents" is the table tracking which kind of Internet browser is accessing your plugin. It can help identify abnormal activity from "bots" and "spiders" which scan your site. The "Downloads" table records emails of users downloading pictures. The "Picture views" table tracks which groups, albums and pictures where opened (clicked on). It's a table that is independent from the one tracking activities by day. At last, the "Actions" table stores the various updates actions on the images base (uploads, renames, copies, moves, deletions, undeletions, description editions, etc).
- One function to use with caution, enables the permanent deletion of removed groups and albums. It will remove from the server all folders starting with "(deleted)".
- One button (the first at the top left) can be used to regenerate the images table using the pictures located in the photo-folders pictures folders, by default in wp-content/photo-albums. This is the equivalent of launching in batch mode the PHP script : "php photo-database.php". The later is safer since it's not affected by any server/client timeout settings. When scanning a large portfolio of above 1000 pictures, it's preferable to use the batch scan than the interactive scan in the plugin admin settings.
- You can regenerate groups and albums tables using the images tables. This function can be useful when some problem arise with an image base malfunction. It will recreate clean groups and albums tables based on the images table.
- You can also regenerate the site sitemap and warn Google and Bing of this update. This is not necessary on a regular basis since the sitemap is updated when a modification is done on the images base: deletions, uploads, renames, copy, moves, etc. When search engine indexing is disactivated from the plugin options (second tab), this update will remove any existing site sitemap file.
When a change response contains a lot of data, it's shown in a modal box that can be moved around and closed as dialog boxes in the plugin. It can be closed with clicking outside the box or on the x button. It can be moved around with control-cursor. This can be disabled with a double-click within the box. Then, its content can be cut and pasted.
The sixth tab is used to restore several deleted groups and albums at once.
- You can select deleted groups and albums one by one, or all together with the checkbox in the header of the related table.
- One bouton will then launch the related groups and albums undeletion. At the end of the operation which can be long (minutes), the groups or albums list will be updated.
The seventh and last tab will ease the migration to this plugin for your blog when your posts are mentioning and linking to picture albums located on external picture sharing sites like Picasa, Flickr and Facebook. You'll use this function after all your albums are copied on your instance of Photo-Folders in your blog.
You'll probably use this feature only once after installing this plugin.
This service is configured at the end of the settings tab. Once saved, the posts list is updated to use the searched pictures sharing sites.
It is recommended to back-up your blog MySQL database before launching such migration.
- The migration table lists the blog posts containing a mention and a link patterns to the pictures sharing site as defined at the bottom of the tab. Several picture sharing sites can be handled one after the other when the blog author has dispatched his pictures in different sites.
For each detected post, the admin can access it in the Wordpress admin page (for a check) and launch an automatic change of the mention. For a detected URL matching the searched picture sharing site pattern, you must first select the right album in the drop box that is located in the plugin.
The albums list shows the albums that are between 0 and 30 days older than the post. In most cases, the first album is the right one. The proposed album has the title with the best proximity with the post name.
- When clicking on "Change", the update takes place in the post and the result shows up in the third column. The "Change" button disappears and the updated text shows up in green. After you update this admin page, the table will be updated and the modified post will not show up anymore. In the plugin user interface and its statistics dialog box, you can access the list of blog posts that are using a SHORTCODE to the plugin's albums.
An eigth tab provides server diagnostics that are useful to identify why the plugin may be malfunctioning. These are the same diagnostics as the ones provided in the equivalent diags screen accessible from the statistics diaglog box from the plugin when used in admin mode.
- This screen shows: used software versions (Wordpress, PHP, the availability of the PHP GD library enabling images processing), write access to specific server folders where Photo-Folders needs to create files and the existence of various Mysql server tables. This screen can be useful if you face difficulties to install Photo-Folders.
- It will guide your towards a solution such as getting the right server software or the right folders access rights. The current PHP user identified in the diagnostic must be the same as the folders owner for folders where the plugin must have write access (rights like "755"). But rights must not be set at "777", which would create a security risk for the plugin and Wordpress site.
- This screen also shows the available PHP memory and the required memory to compress images with the largest size defined in the plugin settings (in a ratio 3/2). The maximum résolution that can be compressed is also indicated. Larger images won't be ingested in albums by the plugin.
- To get more PHP memory in your Wordpress instance, you can modify or create the following line in your wp-config.php file which sits in the Wordpress folder:
- 256 is the maximum memory for Wordpress. But it won't have any effect if it's bigger than the PHP memory allocated by your hoster. To get rid of any limit, you must use a dedicated server instead of a shared server.