Photonic is a totally free WordPress plugin provides photo-blogging extensions to the WordPress
gallery shortcode. Along with support for Flickr, Smugmug, Zenfolio, Picasa / Google, Instagram and 500px, it provides a host of added functionality with jQuery goodness.
Gallery Support Matrix (🔗)
Photonic supports a wide array of features across multiple providers:
|Provider||Requirements||What Can You Show?|
|Albums / Sets / Galleries
|Native WP||Nothing extra needed; works out of the box||Not supported||Standard gallery photos||Standard galleries||No such feature in WP||No such feature in WP|
|Flickr||Supported||User Photos and Group Pools||Albums / Photosets and Galleries||Collections, with lazy loading||Visitors login|
|Picasa / Google Photos||Not supported||Photos||Albums||No such feature in Google Photos||Authkey and Back-end authentication|
|500px||Supported||User and Generic photos||Galleries||No such feature in 500px||Visitors log in|
|SmugMug||Not supported||User photos||Albums||User tree and Folders||Password-protection, or visitors log in|
|Zenfolio||Nothing extra needed; works out of the box||Supported||User and Generic photos||Photosets (Galleries and Collections)||Groups and Group hierarchies||Password-protection supported, login not supported|
|No API key needed, but see instructions for authentication||Supported||User photos||No such feature in Instagram||No such feature in Instagram||Back-end / server-side|
The Need for an API Key (🔗)
Photonic helps fetch photos from various third-party providers, viz. Flickr, Picasa / Google, 500px, Smugmug, Zenfolio and Instagram. Some of these providers require you to sign up for an API key, and I don’t bundle my own with the app for two simple reasons:
- Potential rate-limiting
Let’s say I had bundled my Flickr API key with the plugin and you were using it to show your photos. If you had several thousand photos, the fetching of those photos would get tagged to my id, potentially marking me as a “high use” individual. Flickr might then decide that since I am using my key so much, it should make me upgrade my level of service, or it might block my API key. These are potentially dangerous for both, me, and the end user. As a result, Photonic enforces the use of an individual’s API key.
- Usage Restrictions
Various providers’s Terms of Service mandate that a free API key will not be used for commercial purposes. I don’t make any money off Photonic, so I could use the API key as I pleased. However, if I bundled my API key with the plugin and you used it for commercial reasons, I would be in direct violation of the terms of service, and that puts me at significant legal risk.
Multiple Gallery Layouts (🔗)
By using the
layout parameter for the shortcode, you can get five different thumbnail layouts for your photos.
… And Slideshows as Well (🔗)
In addition you can choose to display your photos as a slideshow, with a running strip of thumbnails, or with bullets for each slide. In essence, you could strip away all the powerful features of Photonic and simply run it as a slider plugin.
Photonic comes armed with an eye-popping array of lightboxes. A lightbox is typically launched when you click on a thumbnail in a gallery. Several GPL-compatible lightbox scripts are bundled with the plugin, and there is inbuilt support for some non-GPL (hence, non-bundled) scripts:
|Lightbox||Included in Photonic?||Auto-slideshow||Deep-linking||Social Sharing||Touch||Thumbnails|
See the Lightboxes page for more information.
While the basis of the plugin is the tweaking of a shortcode, it can get challenging to remember all the different parameters of the shortcode. So Photonic bundles an insertion script with the Add Image media button in your admin panel:
The plugin is distributed through the WordPress plugin repository and is supported on the WP Support Forum.