A Photo Blog

A look under the hood of Focus Pocus

After spending a while looking for a suitable photoblogging platform I ended up mostly creating my own. I could have used something like WordPress for each of the photo entry pages but generating thumbnails, and storing details such as the technical info of the photo from EXIF data and the paypal buttons for buying photos would have been tricky. Any of the online systems that were directly geared towards displaying gallerys of photos either wanted you to let them handle print sales (and they of course took a cut) or it was not possible at all.

The next challenge was deciding what information I wanted to store for each photo, I wasn’t bothered about the functionality of the site as much in the early stages as I knew that once the data was stored somewhere it’d be easy to then display that in whatever way I wanted by just regenerating the site whenever I changed a template. What I wanted to avoid was having to add additional data to each photo entry once it had already been uploaded so I played it safe and added just about every detail I could ever want, though I’ve since thought of a couple I should have included. The XML schema can be seen here, if you’re really interested (you’re not).

The server-side code is all php and stores all data in XML files (no database needed). The photo pages themselves are static, so that no database access or parsing of XML is required as someone browses the site. At any time after changing a template or adding new photos I can rebuild the photopages and/or index page to reflect the changes.

What you’re reading now and all other articles on Focus Pocus are powered by WordPress. I saw no need to reinvent the wheel in terms of standard text blogging and WP is more than suitable. It was even easier than I anticipated to hack it into the existing design for the site. The links are updated automatically from my del.icio.us account. Links tagged links with specific Focus Pocus tags they are syndicated to the site under the caetegory they were tagged under.

The backend is very basic since it’s only for my own personal use and I don’t care how it looks so long as it does what I need. Also if any mistakes are made in inputting a photo entry or it’s data, it’s a pain change as it involves manually fixing whatever is wrong. For these reasons mainly, I’ve not attempted to make the software available for use to the general photoblogging public. At this stage I’m sure there’s suitable photoblogger plugins for the main blogging platforms anyway.

One Response to “A look under the hood of Focus Pocus”

  1. WaltDe Says:

    Keep up the great work on your blog. Best wishes WaltDe

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