Photonic Version 1.59 – New Instagram and Picasa Integration, Lazy Loading, New Lightbox, And Instagram API Sucks.

I have just released version 1.59 of Photonic. This is a very big release, with a lot of far-reaching changes:

  1. Rewritten Instagram Integration:
    Some time in June 2016 Instagram made several changes to its API. Every service provider makes changes to APIs (SmugMug has done it, Twitter has done it, and, notoriously, Google has done it with Picasa). Among things removed from Instagram’s API were popular photos and a few other things… and the changes broke Photonic. What messed things up rather badly, though, was that every Client ID (API key) was by default pushed into a highly crippled “Sandbox mode”, and every level of privilege that you seek for your Client ID to move it from its Sandbox to Production requires a labyrinthine round of approval. To the best of my knowledge Instagram is the only provider with an API that does this.

    Now, if every user of Photonic were to get stuck in this quagmire of requesting approvals for Instagram, they would require at least one week in addition to creating a screencast (!!) for the approval. The alternative would be to get an API key in Sandbox mode, which never returns more than 20 photos.

    So I put in place a different method of displaying Instagram content. Rather than than having users get their Client IDs (in Sandbox) from Instagram, they can use mine to obtain an “Access Token”. I have outlined the procedure on the Instagram page.

    I have, however, hit a hitch. Over the past 10 days I have been trying to get Instagram to approve Photonic for displaying all public content (including hashtags and locations), however they have refused. So far Photonic has only obtained “Basic” permissions, which will allow a user to display his or her own photos. But I still haven’t been successful in getting the “Public Content” permissions, which lets brands / advertisers / marketers / publishers display content by hashtags and locations. I am continuing my fight, but I am not sure if I will succeed anytime soon.

  2. Rewritten Picasa Integration:
    My frustration with the Google’s rewrite of the Picasa API is well known. However, my rewrite of the Instagram integration switched on the proverbial light-bulb with respect to Picasa. Enter “Back-End Authentication”, or “Server-Side Authentication”. Using this approach you will be able to show your users photos that you are allowed to see, not what they are allowed to see. This has several advantages over the traditional “Front-End” or “Client-Side” authentication. I have explained this in-depth on the Picasa documentation page. This completely eliminates the restrictions imposed by the Picasa API around private and protected albums.

    The Picasa rewrite has introduced a couple of new parameters for the Picasa shortcode, namely access and protection. Again, these are explained in the documentation page.

  3. Lazy Loading Flickr Collections
    Flickr’s Collections API is very inefficient, causing long load times if you have many albums in your collections. To counter this I introduced a concept called “lazy loading” of the collections. The details are explained in the Collections documentation.
  4. New Lightbox – Image Lightbox
    I have been considering the addition of several new lightbox scripts over the past couple of months. I finally got around to adding support for an ultra-lightweight one – Image Lightbox. The minified script is only 6KB, and it definitely looks pretty nice.
  5. Other Changes
    1. I fixed a “Headers already sent” error for password-protected Zenfolio albums.
    2. Swipebox in FireFox was throwing an “Event not defined” error. That has been rectified.
    3. I added a new “headers” parameter for Flickr, SmugMug and Zenfolio, where the album / set / gallery / collection header display may be controlled via the shortcode. It can take a comma-separated list consisting of thumbnail, title and counter, to show those specific elements.

Hope you enjoy the update!

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