Here is a thorough FAQ about the Photo-Folders plugin.
When will the plugin be available?
Since july 2014, you can test it with using it within the "Opinions Libres Blog" on http://www.oezratty.net/wordpress/photos. It's currently in user mode testing before being distributed as a plugin.
What will be the terms and conditions of usage of the plugin for a Wordpress site owner?
It's not decided yet.
What is the number of pictures Photo-Folders can handle?
The test base used to develop Photo-Folders contains over 300 albums in a dozen groups and over 50000 pictures. It worked with a couple users on a shared server. It make a lot of pictures for most blogs and web sites! Album with over 1000 pictures were also tested, well beyond what most photographers do.
Is this plugin scalable?
It scales well for a moderately sized images database like seen before. Photo-Folders is not designed to be yet another Flickr, sharing millions of pictures. Its load is distributed on as many web sites using it. It's not concentrated on one web site. Photo-Folders promotes a decentralized way to manage your pictures!
What's the benefits from Photo-Folders compared to the many pictures sharing sites around, like Facebook, Pinterest or Flick and Picasa? And how about the many existing pictures handling Wordpress plugins?
Photo-Folders is different from the picture sharing sites: it's embedded in your Wordpress site. Really well integrated, with links between your posts and your pictures. Publishing your pictures in your posts is done like a snap with Photo-Folder's widget generator.
You can publish your pictures with a classical interactive upload mode and also through FTP albums bulk upload. It's a very convenient way to bootstrap Photo-Folders even when you have many existing albums of your own.
You have access to many management tools usually not available in commercial systems: renaming pictures and albums, renaming several pictures, updating one picture, update the content from an album, copy or move pictures between albums, duplicate one album, cancelling pictures, albums and groups deletion.
On the audience side, the search feature provides an original way to navigate in structured results, you can value your top people or objects, the plugin works on tablets as a touch based web application without requiring the use of application stores, you have access to many different presentation modes, background color, you can launch a full screen slideshow and send its url to a friend, , etc. The features list is quite long! All these were implemented by a real photographer and blogger!
What's the space occupied by Photo-Folders on the server?
The full Photo-Folders plugin take more than 300 Mb with more than 400 files, most of the space being taken by the online help and PDF files. The space occupied by the MySQL tables will depend on the number of images. With the test base of 50000 pictures, the MySQL tables will occupy less than 20 Mo of server space. It fits well in the 100 Mb or so which are usually allocated to a shared server.
When being distribued, the plugin is less than 3 Mb large and enable a direct installation from the Wordpress plugin upload. The help files are then uploaded on an as needed basis by the installed version of Photo-Folders, transparently for the user.
What's Photo-Folders performance levels?
Photo-Folders is designed to make pictures navigation as smooth as possible. The home page load time depends on your network connexion and the speed of your computer or mobile. In a 12 Mbits/s broadband connexion, the home page loads in about 2s. The server side (PHP) takes less than 1s and the client must then load about 80 files for less than a megabyte.
As a comparison, the home page of a typical Facebook account takes more than 3s to load in a similar configuration and generates 137 files requests, loading in excess f 1Mb of data. With Pinterest, you have 118 requests and 2 Mo of loads on the same configuration.
Loading another album takes less than 1s. The album's thumbnails are loaded only when needed (infinite scroll) and it even works backwards. Explanation: open a large album, click on the first picture, then click on the button to access the last picture of the album (or the END key), then the ESC key to move back in the thumbnails mode. You can then scroll upwards an see the pictures come progressively. This was tested with large albums of several hundred pictures. The ESC may last some seconds when ou have more than 500 pictures. The speed depends on your CPU.
It's quite fancy to organize pictures in groups and albums but how about I don't need two levels, or I need three of them ?
You'll create one group and you'll put there all your albums ! You still need to have at least one group, next to the standard "search" and "top" groups. If you have more than one level, you can still upload albums containing sub-albums. It will be viewed as a single album in Photo-Folders interface. It will soon become browsable at any depth level.
Is Photo-Folders managing picture tags?
At this point, the author and copyright IPCT tags are handled. The EXIF title and description tags as well.
Why are the pictures stored on the server handled with their original name and not in an encoded name that would avoids web scrappers?
Because it was easier to handled like this. And web scrapping tools always find a way to scan picture sites unless there are protected by some security and password.
Can the user launch online photo printing with Photo-Folders?
Not yet. The user can download pictures and then, print it, depending on the licence attached to the pictures.
Can you use Photo-Folders to sell pictures like Smugmug?
Not yet. But, while users can download pictures, they are asked their email to do so. You can know who is downloading your pictures.
How is the camera and lenses image base updated?
Manually, based on cameras used on the author's own pictures and a couple others. This has to scale someway with a community based or commercial process.How Photo-Folders is handling Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
A sitemap.xml file is automatically generated for albums and blog posts. Otherwise, each view, album and picture has its own unique URL. The site can be crawled by search engines.
Why using file names for pictures search? My pictures are named like IMG_6776.JPG, it's not that easy!
Naming files is a good way to make a search in Windows, MacOS or Linux. But you can chose to use title tags in your files, which are recognized by Photo-Folders.
Photo-Folders creates only information that is easy to move around like groups, albums and pictures descriptions .txt files. IPCT tags can still be changed in the picture files. An admin function enables you to download all .txt files in a ZIP file.
When you export your pictures in Facebook, your files names are not taken into account by the site. It asks you to input names on each and every picture, using a face recognition engine. All these data will enrich Facebook but you won't be able to export it elsewhere. A very bad practice for photographers ! But you can still use Photo-Folders to like pictures and comment it with Facebook.
There's two exceptions to this rule: the handling of TOP people which consists in creating in Photo-Folders a simple table with the top people names and their related categories. The site admin can then export the table or edit it directly. And then, the handling of the relationship between your posts and your albums.
Is there significant specific code in the client side to support the various devices and browsers?
These dependencies where minimized with using a lot of jQuery code on the client side. There are some dependancies related to Internet Explorer 9.0 and below. It doesn't support navigation history and URL dynamic modifications.