Flickr is Cool

I’m a pretty slow adopter of new “fad” Internet tools, particularly when it comes to so-called social media applications.  Though I don’t have any illusions regarding the level on anonymity anybody can have on the Internet these days (read none), I am not very comfortable with ease with which sites like Facebook merge one’s “private” and public lives by default.  As a result I tend to avoid anything that even smells like Facebook, thus I was very surprised when I started playing around with Flickr last week.  I’m so far behind the curve on Flickr that I think I can safely assume that nobody’s going to accuse me of being a trailblazer but I still thought it might be worthwhile to share.

I used to run a lot more software on my personal website but I just don’t have the time to maintain tools like Gallery with my current day job if I ever want to take some time off from being a sysadmin.  (Which I do!)  So I started looking at alternatives to Gallery in the WordPress plugin database and didn’t find anything I really liked but it gave me the idea that I should investigate using Flickr to host my images.  At any rate, after playing around with Dan Coulter’s phpFlickr class and fumbling my way through the Flickr API I’ve managed to cobble together a passable little photo gallery with all the backend content and meta data being stored on Yahoo! servers.  This also has the side benefit of reducing my bandwidth usage and hopefully speeding things up for remote users.  I’ll probably rework things someday once I actually read the Flickr API documentation and figure out a slightly more elegant way of doing things.

I’d post the code I wrote to create my galleries but I’m so rusty with PHP it would probably be a crime.  Once I clean things up a bit and standardize how I’m doing things I’ll try to make it available for anybody who might be interested, the only serious limitation of my approach is that it is not a full-fledged WordPress plugin so it requires the ability to execute inline PHP on WordPress pages to call my gallery function but it’s still fairly simple to do and doesn’t require much overhead compared to building and managing a local photo gallery.

I also integrated Lightbox into the photo galleries to make things look a little sharper.  I’m not completely sold on it yet but it’s not that hard to replace so I’m going to wait and see.

In any case, I just wanted to draw attention to the Flickr API and phpFlickr for anybody who might be trying to solve a similar problem.  They’re incredibly powerful and so far I’m quite happy.

You can see my Flickr photostream here.