Photonic Preview, and 2 Years of Suffusion!

A year back to the day I was celebrating Suffusion’s first Birthday. Time has flown since then and we now have me writing the second Birthday mail already!

I had promised a few things a year back:

  1. Better Typography – I am writing a plugin for font management and I will have incorporate aspects of that into the theme.
  2. Prettier Designs – Still working on those. You can expect one very soon.
  3. Better Theme Skinning – I have delivered on most counts here. The only big thing not currently skinnable is the sidebar.
  4. Some Stunning Widget Area Concepts – I have built out some (hopefully) good new widgets. The widget areas should also make their way into the theme soon. Who knows? Maybe I will do a release jump from 3.8.x to 4.0.0 to coincide with this. I honestly don’t know when I can deliver this, but it is something I dearly want to offer.

Due to reorganized priorities and a lot of changes on the personal front I had to rethink what I could offer over the last year. I did quite a few things I hadn’t thought of:

  1. Fluid layouts
  2. Rewriting of the options framework to be more inline with WP’s recommendations
  3. Retiring TimThumb in favour of the native WP image resizer
  4. Some pretty cool features like sidebar control for individual views, byline controls
  5. Support for WP features introduced with every new version.
  6. Lots of new widgets

All in all the second year has been good – Suffusion won quite a few popularity contests, it was made a featured theme on the official theme repository and its lifetime download count is close to 500,000. Not in my dreams had I expected something I wrote to be downloaded half a million times.

And now for the “one more thing” announcement: Photonic is here. Almost.

Photonic is a plugin that I have written to catch those Photo-blogging features that I had originally planned for 3.7.9/3.8.0. It is an extension of the regular gallery short-code that WP provides. Here is what it can do:

  1. Native Gallery Extension
    1. You can now insert a gallery into a post and make it display as a slide-show, either in-place, or as a popup.
    2. You can also display the thumbnail strip at the bottom of your gallery and have full-sized images display there.
  2. Flickr Support
    This is the heart of the plugin and I spent a lot of time building and testing this out. You can:
    1. Display all photos in a Photoset using photoset_id=’x’
    2. Display all Photosets for a user using user_id=’x’ and view=’photosets’
    3. Display all Photosets in a collection using user_id=’x’ and collection_id=’y’
    4. Display all Photosets grouped by Collection for a user using user_id=’x’ and view=’collections’
    5. Display photos based on search criteria
  3. Picasa Support
    During the course of writing the code I realized how much easier it was to use the Flickr APIs than the Picasa ones. However you can do the following with Picasa:
    1. Display all photos for a user
    2. Display all photos for a user within an album
  4. Support for Well-known JQuery libraries
    I have added support for the following popular JQuery libraries:
    1. Fancybox
    2. Colorbox
    3. Slimbox2
    4. Thickbox

Note that this plugin is different from other photoblogging plugins:

  1. It doesn’t let you define new galleries on each post like NextGEN.
  2. It doesn’t process photos on your disk to generate galleries. This might come on my radar later on.
  3. It doesn’t pull images from other photo-blogging platforms such as Coppermine, ZenPhoto, PixelPost or Gallery2. This is something definitely on my radar – it might be as simple as supporting the Media RSS format.

The plugin offers you pretty good control over options. One scenario where it might not work is if you have conflicting plugins (or even themes) using Scriptaculous or Mootools – I haven’t tested this out.

Think of this plugin as a gallery extension to help display your photos from whichever platform you currently use. It is smart enough to pull up titles, descriptions and EXIF as required. By not bundling these features with the theme I am letting you pick the theme of your choice and run with the plugin.

I need about a week more (or 2 at the most) to close out any remaining issues in the plugin. My day job has been quite brutal the last few weeks, hindering my ability to deliver this quicker than I am doing right now. I have, for now, built a few test pages that you can play with. Feel free to click around and let me know what you think.

10 Responses to “Photonic Preview, and 2 Years of Suffusion!”

  1. Can’t wait to try Photonic when formally released. Thanks Sayontan.

    • Believe me, I want to desperately get this item off my TO-DO list. I had even drafted this post with a title “Photonic Release, and 2 Years of Suffusion” as opposed to “Photonic Preview, and 2 Years of Suffusion” – I am that close to completing it.

      But as I don’t tire of pointing out, I do have to work to earn my livelihood, and that is currently taking up a good bit of my time. Even so, I have been sneaking in bits of code for handling various scenarios in the plugin.

      Here’s hoping that my workload eases off!

  2. Suffusion is a great theme and I was just missing some way to add media. So I’m glad there is something great in the oven as well!

    Will suffusion & photonic integration allow for rotating header images with Ken Burns effect? There is a jQuery plugin called CrossSlide (

    Thanks for all the great efforts you are placing into this!

    • A rotating header is quite different from photo-blogging, so to answer your question, Photonic will not help you there.

      Also note that you will not be able to add media in the traditional sense at least in the first couple of releases. You will only be able to display Flickr / Picasa photos.

  3. Just had a play around with Photonic I am very impressed and looking forward to playing with it.

    A request for it to be added to as part of one of your upgrades is to add support for images. This is a site being used more and more by professional / serious photographers who have got fed up with flickr.

    • The issue here is the availability of APIs. I looked around a bit and couldn’t spot any developer APIs for If you are aware of an API let me know and I might consider it, but without an API such exercises are extremely difficult.

      • I have spoken with their support and the API will be available in about a month. I’ll let you know once it is available.

      • Sayontan, The API is now available in public beta see if you want to get in early or just leave it, if more appropriate, until the bugs are ironed out.

        • I will give it a shot after the first release of Photonic.

  4. […] – This was something I had promised in the second birthday announcement. It is a very simple yet fully functional plugin that lets you include fonts from various sources […]

Sorry, comments are closed at this time.