Photonic Version 1.57 – Smugmug API Update, Better Password Support, Filters

It has been such a long time since I released a Photonic update! In fact, this is my first WP contribution in a long time.

As per my original plan I intended to replace JQuery Cycle in Photonic and Suffusion at the same time with JQuery Cycle 2, and I had started making the changes. But with Suffusion being pulled from the repository in June, updating Photonic would cause a software incompatibility. So I had to reverse all the JQuery Cycle 2 changes, and focus on newer things. As a result this ended up being a big update.

These are the changes I put in:

  1. Smugmug Updates
    • Quite some time back Smugmug declared v1.3 of its API deprecated. So I updated the code to use to version 2 of the Smugmug API. This was a herculean undertaking, as I had to go through a long process to ensure that things were not broken. Things had changed fundamentally between the two versions, and I spent several days working with Smugmug support to ensure smoother integration with WP. Eventually it got done. This resulted in improved performance, and better support of titles, captions and highlight images.
    • As a direct consequence of the above, you now only require the album_key instead of both, the album_id and album_key. See the Smugmug Photos page for details. Your existing shortcodes will work, though.
    • I added full support for password-protected albums in Smugmug. To see an example go to the Smugmug Albums page and try opening the Bushveld album with the password Saffa.
    • I added more information to the Smugmug Helper (Photonic → Helpers). If you are authenticated it will show you album information for password-protected albums as well.
    • Note that if you are using Smugmug authentication, you will need to define a Callback URL for your API key. This wasn’t a requirement earlier.
  2. Zenfolio Updates
    • Just like its competitor Smugmug, Zenfolio too got the support of password-protected albums. See the Groups and Photosets pages for examples.
  3. Picasa / Google Photos
    • Unfortunately here it is not all good news. One of the reasons I restarted work on Photonic was that Google had moved away from PicasaWeb. It turns out that the move has been rather draconian. They have made it impossible to make a new, public album in Google without third-party APIs or lengthy workarounds, they have completely killed the authkey option that existed in Picasa, and they have made sure that the new “Share URL” option for albums only works for authenticated users. In short, they have adopted a Facebook-style photo-sharing approach rather than their more robust competitors, Smugmug, Zenfolio and Flickr.

      They had also made it impossible to determine album ids easily, for which I added a solution. I introduced a Picasa Helper (Photonic → Helpers) that is capable of listing out all your album ids.

  4. Miscellaneous Changes
    • For Flickr / Smugmug / Picasa / 500px, I added a filter attribute to the shortcode, which lets you pass a comma-separated list of Albums / Photosets / Galleries / Collections for which thumbnails should be displayed, rather than the entire list of such entities. You can see examples on most of the help pages, e.g. Smugmug Albums.
    • A rather minor thing, but I added a “loading wheel” that would show up while the images on your site were rendering.

That’s about it. Do let me know what you think of this update.

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