Best Software for a Photography Gallery and Blog? My Website Woes.

May 25, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

As the occasional visitors to my website over the years will have noted, the format has changed radically on a number of occasions.  Initially it was an entirely DIY affair using Dreamweaver to simplify the coding.  This proved way too time consuming as constructing the numerous pages required one by one was using time which would have been better spent out and about with the camera. 

The next attempt was similar but used a javascript gallery (see jAlbum) to simplify the handling of photos.  That was fine but all the other pages still had to be 'handmade' and I had to keep updating the java gallery software and trying to make it do what I wanted.

Joomla followed.  This is a database driven framework provided free of charge and loaded onto webspace that I was already renting.  I was then able to acquire add-ons either free or commercial which gave the functionality for galleries, articles and a blog.  This really did seem to be the answer to my requirements and I think still made the website that most closely fitted my needs and was most attractive to me.  However, Joomla is so widely used now that it attracts the attention of hackers and so is continually updated.  This means that you have to keep up with updating the underlying software that forms the framework for the site and also that you have to keep updating the add-ons.  The result - you guessed it - time taken away from things that matter like getting out playing with the camera.

Flickr is a very popular image hosting solution around which communities have evolved offering advice and support to members with similar interests.  As a quick and simple solution for putting pictures up online this is brilliant.  If you want a website/blog etc, you need to look elsewhere.  However, it is possible to make a sort of hybrid solution with Flickr albums 'called' from within your website.  This seems too much like hard work to me.  However, I do have a Flickr account and I do occasionally put some pictures on it.

The latest solution is Zenfolio.  This site simply uses pre-made gallery software with blog and article functionality.  The underlying framework is managed by someone else and there is added functionality that I may never use such as links to sites that will allow people to order and pay for prints.  You pay for different levels of functionality and service.  There are downsides in that I can't see how I can make it look exactly as I want.  However, it's reasonably easy to use and I am intending to gradually move all my blog entries and articles from the old site to this one.  For the meantime, you will see that some of the pages are blank, some are missing photos and so on.  The good old 'unfinished look' so popular with people who are a bit bored with making websites and who can think of better ways of spending their time! 

Time for another beer...


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