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Piwigo 2.3, making-off

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In our new 6 month release cycle Piwigo 2.3 was planned for October 1st, 2011. Piwigo 2.3.0 was released on October 4th, 2011. Job’s done! I’m proud of this result. And Piwigo 2.3 brings many new features. Let’s summarize:

  • rvelices: rating score (better sorting on “best rated” photos)
  • P@t: Update Manager, thumbnail regeneration, websize photo regeneration, thumbnail mass cropping
  • mistic100 (new team member): menubar on all pages, multilingual tags, “default sort order” configuration setting, number of photos per page user setting
  • flop25: option to apply permissions to sub-albums
  • plg (that’s me): design changes on the upload form, new tooltip on thumbnail, “lost password” feature, tag merging
  • P@t and mistic100 have worked together on the new design of the Plugin Manager
  • ddtddt: managed to add 6 new languages thanks to new translators for Afrikaans, Български (Bulgarian), Eesti (Estonian), Ελληνικά (Greek), 한국어 (Korean) , ภาษาไทย (Thai). Piwigo is now available in 43 languages!

In addition to our traditionnal “Release Notes” full of screenshots, we have created a 3 minute video to introduce you to 3 new visual features of Piwigo 2.3.

What about my personnal feeling on Piwigo 2.3 new features? The new rating score algorithm is great for Piwigo Showcase, the new plugin manager is really the kind of user interface I would like for all administration screens, thumbnail and websize regeneration are maybe the most useful actions available in the Batch Manager (of course I like the new design of the upload form, but I’ve played so much with it while coding that it doesn’t seem really “new” to me). I really love this new version. I hope you’ll feel the same!

Let’s start to work on Piwigo 2.4 now!

Written by plg

October 20, 2011 at 8:08 pm

Piwigo Showcase reaches its first 50 galleries

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The Piwigo Showcase is under active preparation. To make it short, the Showcase is a Live Piwigo Galleries Directory. Each Piwigo live gallery is shown as a screenshot, a description, some tags and a link to see the gallery in action.

I have just validated registration #50. I hope we’ll have several hundreds galleries before the end of summer 2011.

Latest additions on Piwigo Showcase

Latest additions on Piwigo Showcase

How to register ?

  • either you have Piwigo 2.1+ and you install plugin Showcase Register which will prefill the registration form, see forum topic Register on Piwigo Showcase
  • or you simply use Piwigo.org contact form and give your gallery address, your name, a description and some tags (keywords)

Discover Piwigo Showcase →

Written by plg

July 20, 2011 at 1:16 pm

Posted in piwigo.org

Tagged with ,

Piwigo release cycle

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Piwigo 2.2 was planned for Fall 2010. Obviously we have been late! Even if that doesn’t really matters, I would really like to shorten the release cycle. In my opinion, having less features is not a problem at all. Piwigo 2.1 was out on May 2010 and coding for Piwigo 2.2 really started in September (we made other useful stuffs than coding for 3 months).

Here is a review of past release cycles:

  • 1.4 = 16 months
  • 1.5 = 8 months
  • 1.6 = 8 months
  • 1.7 = 10 months
  • 2.0 = 21 months. Far too long (with 6 months between RC1 and final version)
  • 2.1 = 14 months. Better, but still too long.
  • 2.2 = 11 months. Still Better, but can be improved.
Or if you want something more “visual”, here is a line with release cycles, 1 “=” sign means 2 months:
1.3 ======== 1.4 ==== 1.5 ==== 1.6 ===== 1.7 =========== 2.0 ======= 2.1 ===== 2.2

Why is a long release cycle a problem? Because it encourages the coding team to add many new features at the very last moment (even after RC1) and to add nothing new right after the major release is available. If you have a short release cycle, there is no problem to say:

ok, let’s postpone this feature, I’ll add it for next major release

With a long release cycle, this would be:

oh no, if I don’t add this feature right now, I’ll have to wait another 10 months before it’s available in a stable release! let’s try to add it now and postpone the release date

The consequence is a release cycle becoming longer and longer.

A good compromise is a 6 month release cycle. There is no real problem as soon as we’re not forced to add a fixed list of features. Instead of a list of features, we set the release date, and we’ll have the stable features available that day (after a 1 month release candidate period RC1, RC2, RC3…). Piwigo 2.3 will probably have less new features than 2.1 or 2.2 but it doesn’t matters at all.

Piwigo 2.3 planning on Piwigo.org forum

Written by plg

April 19, 2011 at 1:35 pm

Posted in piwigo, piwigo.org

Tagged with ,

Piwigo available on DreamHost

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A few weeks ago, we’ve received a message from DreamHost team on Piwigo.org contact form:

Hi there folks!

We’ve received an application submission from a customer to have Piwigo included in the DreamHost One-Click Installer’s application catalog.

[...]

Since a user submitted it and not the developer, we had to reject the application submission, without even so much as reviewing it. :(

Piwigo is already available in 1-click installers Softaculous and SimpleScripts, but DreamHost has its own 1-click installer system. So I have added Piwigo, next to Zenphoto and Gallery2 in the category “Gallery”. Today it is available to any DreamHost customer and this is one of the biggest web hosting in USA.

Piwigo on DreamHost

Piwigo on DreamHost : 1-click install

Considering their 1-click installer for Piwigo, we have added Dreamhost in the list of recommended hosting for Piwigo.

Written by plg

April 18, 2011 at 12:09 pm

Piwigo 2.2 Release Candidate 4

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OK, I remember I said last time Piwigo 2.2.0RC3 would be the last release candidate before version 2.2.0. While writing a technical documentation to make plugins and themes compatible with Piwigo 2.2, we realized that some new technical features (combined script) could be simplified, to make life easier for plugin writers. So we’ve decided to simplify. This simplification meant many code changes and it would not be safe to release it as 2.2.0. So here is Piwigo 2.2 release candidate 4.

Piwigo 2.2.0RC4 also includes the upgrade script. Now you can test the upgrade from Piwigo 2.1 (or even older).

Upgrade from any older Piwigo version to Piwigo 2.2

Upgrade from any older Piwigo version to Piwigo 2.2

In addition to bug fixing, we have added a few features : Piwigo can detect if your themes/languages have updates available.

So what about the simplification P@t has made in the code? This is about the new combine_script feature which replaces known_script in your template files. Let’s just give an example to get the idea. Here is what plugin writers are coding in Piwigo 2.1:

{known_script id="jquery" src=$ROOT_URL|@cat:"themes/default/js/jquery.packed.js"}
{known_script id="jquery.ui" src=$ROOT_URL|@cat:"themes/default/js/ui/packed/ui.core.packed.js" }
{known_script id="jquery.ui.sortable" src=$ROOT_URL|@cat:"themes/default/js/ui/packed/ui.sortable.packed.js" }
 
{literal}
<script type="text/javascript">
jQuery().ready(function(){
  jQuery(".catPos").hide();
  jQuery(".drag_button").show();
  jQuery(".categoryLi").css("cursor","move");
  jQuery(".categoryUl").sortable({
    axis: "y",
    opacity: 0.8
  });
});
</script>
{/literal}

And here is what they will code in Piwigo 2.2:

{footer_script require='jquery.ui.sortable'}{literal}
jQuery(document).ready(function() {
  jQuery(".catPos").hide();
  jQuery(".drag_button").show();
  jQuery(".categoryLi").css("cursor","move");
  jQuery(".categoryUl").sortable({
    axis: "y",
    opacity: 0.8
  });
});
{/literal}{/footer_script}

Much simpler, isn’t it? More details and examples can be found in the technical documentation to make plugins and themes compatible with Piwigo 2.2. I will write another blog post about CSS sprites and combine_css.

Details about Piwigo 2.2.0RC4 and downloads

Written by plg

March 11, 2011 at 11:02 pm

What if Flickr fails?

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Two weeks ago, Doc Searls, which is a senior editor for Linux Journal and has many other roles, wrote a blog post that anyone who share photos online should read: What if Flickr fails?

The origin of this question is the:

One cause for worry is reports of sudden and unexplained account deletions.

But I doubt it concerns more than a tiny list of users. Okay it’s really not cool for these users, but I don’t think all Flickr user should fear for deletion. What I think is the most important is:

And the greater risk is not of Flickr’s deletion of customers, but of the market’s deletion of Flickr. Because, after all, Flickr is a business and no business lasts forever.

Then Doc Searls explains the Pro Vs Free accounts and how Flickr generate revenue with Free accounts (with advertisement).  Doc concludes with a solution for the future:

First is to pay more for what’s now free stuff. [...] Second is to develop self-hosted versions of Flickr, or the equivalent.

I couldn”t agree more. This is exactly what projects like ZenPhoto, Menalto Gallery and of course Piwigo are trying to propose. The major problem with these systems is that they require higher technical skills because you need to get a hosting provider, install your photo gallery software (with concepts like database settings) before you can host your photos.

This is where Piwigo.com comes into action. Just like WordPress.com let you create a WordPress blog without worrying about technical requirements, Piwigo.com let you create a Piwigo photo gallery with just a 4 fields sign-up form to fill. This is what I explained in my comment to Doc Searls blog post.

Fortunately Flickr has a generous API Garden that does allow the copying off of most (or all) data that goes with your photographs. I’m interested in being able to copy all my photos and metadata off into my own self-hosted system.

Well Okay, you can perform request on an API and hope you will be able to fetch all your data, but for sure the gallery features will be lost : at best you only get your data back. With Piwigo.com you can get your data back and the software as well (from Piwigo.org) and then you can run your photo gallery anywhere you want. This is what we call the no vendor lock-in feature. And YES I think this is an important feature. Piwigo.com has many other features, such as the ability to customize your photo gallery theme but also activate or deactivate features, but I admit I’m very proud of this one.

Piwigo.org to run Piwigo on your own website

Piwigo.com to start a Piwigo photo gallery in a few seconds

Written by plg

January 28, 2011 at 2:41 pm

Posted in piwigo.com, piwigo.org

Tagged with ,

Phone Home or when an application sends data back to mothership

with 4 comments

Phoning home is the act of sending data from an application to its mothership. For example when WordPress sends your hosting server PHP version to wordpress.org.

Recently on the Piwigo project, we checked new versions of the technical components we rely on, such as jQuery or Smarty. Smarty 3.0 is available and P@t has started to work on it. Unfortunately, he realized that the minimum requirements was PHP 5.2. Unfortunately we (folks at Piwigo.org) have no idea  about how many Piwigo installations are running on PHP prior to 5.2. Then came the idea to anonymously send PHP/MySQL versions to piwigo.org when a Piwigo fetches the list of available plugins on piwigo.org. The coding part is simple, just a few additional POST parameters.

To make things perfectly transparent for Piwigo team and Piwigo community, I opened a topic on the forum automatic survey on PHP/MySQL versions, no evil and I admit I was not expecting the reactions. I don’t say that I don’t like to meet opposition, because this is the way we can build something better, I was just not expecting the reactions. Even if we only send anonymously technical details about hosting (PHP/MySQL version), and not things like user email or gallery URL, some of us did not feel comfortable with that. And I consider that if a few Piwigo team members don’t feel comfortable with that, then it may be badly seen by people outside Piwigo team as well! Because we couldn’t agree on the right way to do it, and because this is only a tiny feature with no added value for the user, I’ve decided to remove this feature under preparation.

Just to compare:

  1. WordPress sends the blog URL, the current theme, the language, the PHP version, the MySQL version, the WordPress version to wordpress.org. Read more on WordPress Phone Home & Privacy (and you can’t deactivate that with just a configuration setting)
  2. Apache, by default, when you reach a 404 not found page, shows the Apache version, the SVN version, the  PHP version, the Python version (depending on Apache modules you installed). OK it is not Phoning Home, but Apache offers this information to anybody.

I don’t blame WordPress (or Apache) at all. I think it’s interesting to know what is done on one of the best known opensource web applications. If WordPress could make its PHP/MySQL statistics public, then Piwigo wouldn’t need to create its own phoning home feature!

Written by plg

December 16, 2010 at 9:56 pm

Posted in piwigo.org

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