[Interview] Biotope.fr, photo collection on nature with Piwigo
Every week I submit Google search on “Piwigo” and recently I’ve found a nicely customized Piwigo photo gallery on biotope.fr.
Nicolas Sourgens, webmaster of biotope.fr, has accepted to answer my questions for an interview related to their use of Piwigo.
At Biotope, 2 people are responsible for the photo collection:
– Nicolas Sourgens, graphical designer and web developer, has installed Piwigo and customized it depending on user requests
– Germain Tavan, who has a naturalist wildlife & flora educational background, manages colors on photos and fills the gallery
What is the mission of biotope.fr? Who is the target audience?
Biotope is composed of 16 offices on Environmental Studies, an R&D office, an international service and an agency for communication and publishing which is responsible for enhancing the Biotope photo collection.
Piwigo allows us to present our 20 years of photographic work mainly focused on wildlife, flora, habitats, natural landscapes and human activities in nature via our photo collection on the web.
The target audience is composed of both public and private organizations in relationship with the environment, but also individuals in search of beautiful pictures or rare photographs.
Since when do you use Piwigo and how did you discover it?
For 2 years. Discovered on a search engine.
What were you looking for? a “photo gallery”? a “photo database”? Did you have “opensource” in your search criteria? if yes, was it for the price or the freedom?
We were looking for an opensource software to create a photo database. We wanted to work with an opensource software because we wanted to adapt it to our own needs and for a reasonnable price!
How do you add photos?
On Mac, we resize photos and generate thumbnails with several freewares. Then we upload it with Filezilla (FTP transfer) in the “galleries” directory.
What are your favorite features in Piwigo?
* a true embedded search engine
* the ability to manage photos in a batch (we mainly use the “unit mode”)
* EXIF display
* the significant amount of functionalities thanks to plugins and tools
* RSS feed
* the ability to customize it
What improvements are you expecting?
* the ability to sell photos directly in Piwigo (with a shopping cart, provided as a plugin)
* a smarter search engine: ability to detect and correct typos
* an easier customization
A plugin “PayPal Shopping Cart” was released recently. With this plugin you can basically sell your photos from your Piwigo photo gallery. This kind of feature better integrated in Piwigo is on the roadmap, but probably not in 2011.
Which plugins are you using and which ones are the most important?
* important: Additional Pages, Advanced Menu Manager, LocalFiles Editor, PWG Stuffs, FCK Editor, Statistics
* less important: ConcoursPhoto, Contact Form
Which customizations did you implement?
We have created a template-extension to add the photo identifier next to the photo title displayed just above the photo. We use this identifier when we receive requests for detail information about a photo. Piwigo community forums helped us a lot to achieve this specific customization.
We forbid right click on photos thanks to LocalFiles Editor (even if we know it’s not 100% safe, it makes obvious we don’t want our photos to be copied)
The pagination bar (first|previous[1,2,3|next|last) is duplicated: we display it before and after thumbnails (we have created another template-extension with LocalFiles Editor)
We changed the code so that thumbnails long captions are not truncated.
We have added a specific page banner.
We designed a welcome picture displayed into a Personal Block with PWG Stuffs plugin.
We changed the message in the footer to include our copyright (directly modified footer.tpl template)
We have created a sales quote request form thanks to Additional Pages plugin
We have merged sections “Menu” and “Specials” in the menubar, thanks to LocalFiles Editor plugin.
We have removed the connexion section in the menubar.
We have removed the “quick search” box to keep only the “advanced search”.
… and so on.
How many photos in your collection currently? How many in the future?
We currently have more than 3,000 photographs. During 2011, we plan to add approximately 10,000 other photos from our digital stock.
We will scan our analog photographs the next years and add them into the photo collection of our website, approximately 10,000 photos.
You still use Piwigo 2.0, why don’t you upgrade to version 2.1?
We fear to loose some of our customizations… more seriously, we have to do it… and we have already installed the Piwigo AutoUpgrade plugin.
Concerning customization, you have modified the Sylvia theme. Starting from Piwigo 2.1, it is much easier to create a new theme based on another one, for example you can create a theme “biotope” based on “Sylvia” and only modify a few CSS rules and background pictures.
Thank you Nicolas and Germain and good luck to biotope.fr!