Photonic Version 2.19 – RIP Picasa, No SmugMug API Key for Public Photos

Version 2.19 of Photonic is now available.

One of the big things I had intended for this release was the drastic simplification of authentication for Google. As most users are aware, getting an API key for Google Photos is a lot more cumbersome than newbies bargain for, and authentication is riddled with challenges. The simplification needed Google to approve me as a “Google Photos Partner”. So I followed the process and was granted provisional approval as a partner, however at a later point Google backtracked saying that WordPress users have to download their photos from Google Photos to their WP installations!! This obviously makes no logical sense and violates 3 other core directives they have set, however Google has not responded to any of my repeated follow-ups in this matter.

So I had to scale down my ambitions, nevertheless this ended up being a release with several small things:

  1. RIP Picasa
    About 3 weeks back Google killed off the last vestiges of Picasa by deprecating its API. It is debatable whether the Google Photos API is a better replacement, but it is all we have now. The Google Photos API, while more streamlined, is a lot harder to authenticate, cannot fetch videos and, ironically for Google, sucks at searching. That being said, Photonic has supported Google Photos since July 2018, and the interactive gallery builder should make it easier to build out your galleries once you have overcome the authentication hurdles.
  2. No More API Key for Regular SmugMug Requests
    Most people who use Photonic for SmugMug use it to display their public or password-protected photos. There is good news for them – they don’t need to create an API key any more! What was intended to be in place for Google ended up happening for SmugMug. There is a catch here: if you want to display your private photos, you will need to authenticate … and for that an API key is required. This is because authentication would require me to bundle my API secret with the key, and Photonic being an Open Source application would expose me to risk.
  3. Block Improvements
    1. Gutenberg block “wide-alignment” and “full-width” options are now available for Photonic galleries. Note that the underlying theme has to support these options for them to work.
    2. The interactive block-builder now shows the equivalent shortcode at the bottom for users who are facing Gutenberg conflicts or want to use a shortcode instead of a block while in the Gutenberg editor.
  4. Native Galleries
    1. Performance tracing was causing native WP galleries to not show up if the style attribute was left out. This should be working fine now.
    2. Another issue that has been fixed is that the main_size option was being ignored for the native galleries in favour of slide_size
  5. Miscellaneous Additions / Changes
    1. A few releases back I had significantly streamlined the JavaScript in Photonic. This release I have taken it a step further and minified the scripts by default. You can turn off minification from Photonic → Settings → Generic Options → Advanced → Script Dev Mode.
    2. I have removed the links to the albums and photos for Google Photos, as they almost always point to private locations that cannot be accessed by blog visitors.
    3. Instagram justified grid, masonry and mosaic layouts can now use the tile_size to avoid serving a full-sized image on the main page.
    4. Videos for Instagram, Flickr and SmugMug now display an overlaid “play” icon when viewed as a part of a gallery.
    5. All galleries now get an “end” element to enable linking to the end of the gallery. E.g. if your gallery has an id photonic-instagram-stream-1, the end element will have an id photonic-instagram-stream-1-container-end.
    6. All translation strings have been “escaped” properly. This wouldn’t have caused an issue earlier given that the only translation out there for Photonic was Spanish, but now you have an additional layer of security.
    7. I have added a photonic_helper utility shortcode. The shortcode is eponymous in the sense that it functions the way the Photonic → Helpers page functions. Since the shortcode doesn’t do much, I have provided the documentation in the Photonic → Getting Started page.
    8. I have added options to let users disable the loading of Photonic’s lightbox scripts but continue using the associated JavaScript calls. This will let users load fewer scripts if they have other plugins handling the same lightboxes that Photonic offers.
    9. I have renamed the translation file to photonic.pot from photonic.po.
  6. Bug Fixes
    The following bugs have been fixed in this round:

    1. For some user configurations the more button was not showing up due to end-of-line character mismatches. This has been addressed in the code.
    2. I fixed an issue where the slideshow layout was not respecting the strip-above option.
    3. Safari users were seeing an “empty space” at the bottom of the masonry layout. With Apple no longer making Safari for any platform other than OSX or iOS this was hard to troubleshoot, but it should be working now.
    4. In some cases if PhotoSwipe was the lightbox and the Random Justified Grid layout was being used, the lightbox would start up with an image different from the one clicked. This has been addressed.
    5. I fixed another bug with PhotoSwipe and StripJS where the looping setting was not being respected.
    6. There were some compatibility issues with PHP 7.3, which I have addressed in this version.

2 Responses to “Photonic Version 2.19 – RIP Picasa, No SmugMug API Key for Public Photos”

  1. Hi! I want to report a bug (I’m still figuring out how to do that properly). When I updated my plugin today it broke my site “This page isn’t working is currently unable to handle this request. HTTP ERROR 500″ My host tech support disabled the plugin and the site works again, but I want to use the plugin. Sadface.

    • Shauna – apologies for getting to this late.

      My site doesn’t attract as much traffic as it used to since I had Suffusion live in the WordPress repository. Consequently I don’t actively monitor comments here. The easiest way for Photonic support, as you might already have discovered, is to use the WP support forum. I normally respond in minutes if I am awake.

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