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WP overrated? (23 posts)

  1. Kartoony
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    I know I'm going to get a lot of blowback on this, but I have to say, after fiddling and futzing around with WP for two days now - I've TWICE completely removed the WP install and attempted to again - I've attempted to use free templates but can't make heads nor tails out of the documentation I still do not have a working website . I'm not a coder, although I have written code and worked with the web since the early 80's.

    All I want to do is get content published - NOT futz around with PHP. Every post I read concerning problems I had, eventually, reverted to PHP code.

    Thank heaven, Adobe has recently released MUSE. At first I thought it was a totally useless process with the apparent "ease" of using WP.

    But I thank WP for all the problems because it simply points me back to MUSE. If I have to learn code and "work arounds" to get WP to do what I want then I'll just continue my study of MUSE.

    I realize WP was NOT intended to be a website creation tool - it was designed as a blogging tool. But the allusion given, on many, many websites is that you CAN use WP to create fully functional websites.

    Perhaps that's true and I'm just a flaming idiot, but I'm DONE with this foolishness.

    Just my two cents.

  2. michael.mariart
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    I can understand your frustration. It does take a long time to learn any new tool, and WordPress is just the same.

    If you're just looking to throw up a iste, set a theme and add a few pages/posts, then it's easy. I get the feeling from what you've written that most of your frustration comes from you wanting to do more then the standard core functionality, and finding out that you need to do modifications to achieve this? If that's the case, then that's just how it goes with any tool. There's never going to be one single thing that will be able to do everything that you and everyone else want it to - that's just way to complex.

    After two days of trying I would never consider you to be a "flaming idiot". I came into this with years of PHP work behind me, and it still took me a few months to get used to how it all worked and what I needed to do to really get my mods working correctly.

  3. Kartoony
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    Thanks for your reply, Mike.

    I had big hopes for WP at my school - that it could be a great teaching and collaboration tool. But if it's this difficult for me to use, then I don't think it's going to work for them.

    I'm not sure what to do at this point.

  4. michael.mariart
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    Well, exactly how far do you want to change/modify things? Are you looking to put up a site with a basic theme and just add content, or do you want to do some extra modifications?

    If you can stick to the standard functionality you can do a whole lot still. If all you want to do is publish some content, install WP, throw on a theme, and start writing.

    I have built a couple of decent sites without anything more then a theme and some HTML layouts in my pages/posts. It's only when you want to do something that's not in the core functionality that you'll need to start getting into the coding side of things. Remember that there's a huge amount of plugins out there that can extend the functionality as well, os it's worth looking through the list to see if there's anything that can help with what you are looking to do.

  5. Kartoony
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    Well...I may have to eat some crow. I think I'm beginning to make sense of all of this. I think my problem was I tried to do too much in too short a period of time. Clearly this is something that takes some learning. But before I can work with the teachers I have to understand it myself. I don't want them going through what I went through. We'll see how it all works out.

    I appreciate your follow-up and calming me down.

    Thanks

  6. etchedinpixels
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    Hi Kartoony,

    I understand your frustration. WP still has a ways to go, particularly with the abysmal media organization (or lack of it). But I think it's not that bad. In the last month I've made a pretty decent website from scratch. It's not an obvious WP site, and didn't require really any coding... but a tad bit of CSS.

    Let me know if you have any questions. You can view it here:

    http://etchedinpixels.com/

    I have a post where I list my recommended WP Plugins at the end. It might help
    http://etchedinpixels.com/recommended/recommended_web-hosting/

  7. Kartoony
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    Nice clean site - that's what I like about WP. The only thing that concerns me is that WP sites all seem to look the same. Of course, it's the content that should set the site apart - nice images BTW - what filters do you use for post processing?

    I agree about the media organization - that's what led to my original frustration.

    I've been looking at some Gallery software that my hosting company offers: Gallery, Piwigo, Coppermine, Zen Photo, etc. I'm thinking it would probably be pretty easy to do some simple linking (well, shut my mouth - NOTHING is ever simple).

    It appears to me that WP creates individual posts for each image and then, somehow links it all together into a Gallery - kind of kludgy??? I'm using a Free Template from Vandelaydesign.com.

    I REALLY do NOT want to spend a lot of time "webmastering" - I want to focus on my photography and post production work. I was hoping WP would help me achieve that goal, but it's looking like that's not going to happen.

    OK - I take that back about those galleries - after perusing a couple of their sites, it looks like a lot of trouble - better stick with Flickr for now.

    Let me restate what I said earlier - "nothing is easy"!

  8. etchedinpixels
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    Thanks for taking a look. By "look the same" I assume you are referring to the similar layout that one is forced into using. Yes, one is forced into a general template and way of doing things.

    For post-processing I have no one workflow. But generally I shoot RAW and do color enhancement in Lightroom. I also do skin softening or sharpening in there for portraits. Lately I have been using Photoshop and Nik Efex Pro 4 to bring out more detail and drama. That's been pretty effective.

    I haven't been satisfied with any of the WP media organization plugins. None of them are plug-and-play, drag-and-drop. So instead I keep my photos on a separate service. When you go to gallery.etchedinpixels.com you are actually going to my Smugmug gallery. But for new users I'd suggest Zenfolio (cheaper and better organized). Zenfolio even has blogging built in at no extra charge. You really should check them out. 14 day free trial.

    You could also use Lightroom to export some pretty slick galleries, and just upload them to a web server. It's a nice solution but doesn't have the ecommerce built in.

    I prefer using some other site to host the photos because I can more easily reorganize them and update the development settings using a Zenfolio Lightroom plugin.

    One thing though, if you go this route: I recommend you create local copies of your images on your WP site. You don't want a broken image if you change something at Zenfolio.

    Again, check out Zenfolio. It might save you the trouble of Webmastering. I didn't use the blog feature but it seems like it might ameliorate the frustration you had with other services. ZF is also way more professional looking than Flickr. And more customizable as well.

    I'm interested in taking a look at your images. Go ahead and add me at flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/calleyne/
    or via WordPress if you have your blog online.

  9. Kartoony
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    You know the story of the Shoemaker's kids not having great shoes? My Flickr site sucks right now - but I'm working on my website.

    It's taken me a while to get my head wrapped around digital photography. I grew up with film - and a lot of B&W. My dad was a pro photog and I grew up on Speed Grafix. Heck color didn't even come about until my teens? My mother did "oils" of my dad's B&W work - many a night she'd be up until 3-4AM retouching and coloring senior portraits that dad was developing in the basement. I remember when he processed his first roll of color film. That was back in the day when the "color lab" was the big thing - we used one in NJ I think.

    I like the looks of Zenfolio but I really don't want to sell stuff online. I'm not sure I even want to do a lot with ESM. I'm just trying to see if I can get that off the ground. Maybe pick up a couple of projects to work with along side my day job.

    Here's a link to my school Flickr photo stream. I'm working on a project to get all the school photos of the last couple of years up on Flickr. Most of the 2012 stuff is mine - particularly the sports stuff. I don't do much post processing since I shoot a lot of images. I'm doing a fair amount of multimedia work for the school particularly projects like this. Hope to do more promotional work for the school.

    Yeah - backup is one reason I started looking at Flickr and SmugMug (I had an account). Right now I'm just letting CrashPlan (used to use Carbonite - but they won't backup external drives) backup all my photos. I've got over two terrabytes with them so far.

    ANYHOO...this is getting WAY off topic. If you want to continue talking shop feel free to email me @ john dot orban @ gmail.com. I LOVE talking photography. In fact, I think what you're doing and what folks like these guys are doing is the future of photography.

    Although, my photographer is doing some pretty good stuff without that "artsy-fartsy" stuff (but imagine what she COULD do). I just don't think it's good enough just to take good photos - capture great images - Ansel Adams did that in B&W 50+ years ago!!

    I'm always looking (and trying to encourage others) to come up with the "next great thing". It's a constant learning (and growing) process.

    Cheers,
    John

  10. k_nitin_r
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    You should use the Quick Post interface on WordPress.com to give things a spin. WordPress.org is a very extensible platform that you can use for development or build a quick-n-dirty website. There's a reason why 55% of CMS systems on the web run WordPress, and I discovered it after trying out stuff that was difficult to setup and configure. Installing plugins in WordPress is a breeze! So is developing widgets.

  11. Kartoony
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    Yah - I'm beginning to believe. My thing is that I tend to get sidetracked and WP has some very attractive features that could do that - creating themes and developing widgets for example. I'm trying a couple of themes to see if they will do what I want, but I fear, eventually, I'll be drawn to the dark side of WP development.

    I do believe, however, there there is great potential for folks to learn WP inside and out and help others develop websites to REALLY be drag and drop simple.

    I'm thinking of a friend, for example, who has an incredible collection of B&W images his father took back in the 30's in the Mid-West. He used very high end equipment (for the time) and left behind a treasure trove of 4X5 negatives. John has been using Photoshop to bring these images back to life and it's a shame that the only way you can see them is to stop by his office and see the gallery he has hanging up all over the place (which, BTW, is a GREAT way to display art).

    There just is NO WAY he has the technical skills (nor does he want them, as far as I can tell) to do everything to create a website that we all just take for granted.

    He could, very easily, upload images and write posts, but, let's face it, for someone just starting out, the whole process of obtaining a domain name, buying hosting, setting up the templates and all that is daunting.

    On one hand you could say, "Look, get with it. If you want to participate in this technology - learn it!"

    But that's old skool high priest technology and is the reason why Facebook has a billion users.

    I'd love to help him, but don't know if I have the time to set it all up and then field the phone calls I KNOW will be coming as he encounters issues.

    Face it - NOTHING IS EASY (anymore). I'm finding WP is pretty slick, but there's a learning curve (as with anything I suppose). I'll figure it out, but can I then transfer that knowledge to someone like John so he can do what he wants to do, which is just display his art.

    To be continued...

  12. esmi
    Forum Moderator
    Posted 1 year ago #

    can I then transfer that knowledge to someone like John so he can do what he wants to do

    Assuming he is willing to learn, then yes. I have clients who are sculptors and clothes designers who have learnt, over time, to handle pretty much everything on their own WordPress sites. Yes - it takes time and there is a learning curve but theme there's always a learning curve with any new technology. WordPress is so much more powerful than Facebook - hence the learning curve is a little steeper. But there's a lot of online documentation already available - and more coming soon specifically for non-technical users.

    Why not get him started with a free wordpress.com site? The WP interface is identical but there's no messing around with domain names or hosting. That way, he can see if he can get used to WordPress with zero cash outlay.

  13. etchedinpixels
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    @Kartoony

    I'm really confused. There seem to be at least 2 people posting under your account: John and whoever made the last post referring to John. This unfortunately makes it hard to sort out the conversation. It would be good for you to create another account and post separately.

    Which leads to a side note: WordPress supports multiple users. The different people can make separate posts, and it will note the author. The separate users can also have their own WordPress.com/org commenting accounts and avatars.

    If you guys/girls really can't bear to use separate forum accounts, it would be helpful if you at least signed your posts (although I'm afraid this will lead to even more confusion).

  14. Kartoony
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    Sorry about that. I'm me - the John I was referring to was my friend who has the photos. Actually he's my dentist but we both share an interest in photography. He's more into the post production end after discovering the old negatives. The photos adorn his dental office and are just fascinating to look at. Farm life in the 30's - a real step back into history - the kind of stuff that was done for that WPA project, I believe, that sent photographers out around the country documenting life during the depression? These photos, however, were those taken by an advanced amateur. This guy knew what he was doing and had the equipment to back it up. I can't remember what John said he did, but he had some kind of high level job - college professor or something like that. Point is, he had the bucks to buy the equipment he needed and the time and inclination to document his family.

    Anyhow...I'm trying to figure out the easiest and best way for him to get a web presence so that he can share these photos. I can tell you, if the technology gets in the way, the project probably will die. I've got to make it easy for him so that he can focus on restoring and developing those negatives rather than fiddling and futzing around with web sites and such.

    As you and I have discussed before, the gallery properties of WP are kind of clunky and I just don't want that to be a problem for him.

    But, sorry for the confusion - I could have been clearer.

  15. esmi
    Forum Moderator
    Posted 1 year ago #

    WordPress + a suitable gallery plugin would seem to be the best way forward. You might also want to look at using a photoblogging theme to show those images off to best advantage.

  16. Kartoony
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    What gallery plugin would you recommend?

    I've looked at photoblogging themes and, quite frankly, they seem to complicate matters.

    I've also looked at some open source gallery software which my ISP supports and thought I could easily link to, but that software is not very intuitive.

    Chris has recommended ZenFolio and I have to admit that looks pretty good but it has a gazillion bells and whistles that have to be configured to make it work right - something I don't have time to do for John or even myself. Those type of sites assume you want to sell photos and I know I don't want to do that now and I'm not sure John would. And even if he does, there's that whole piece to configure correctly and maintain.

    Like I said, there is nothing easy.

    But I would like some recommendations for gallery plugins. In my own case, something that will support video as well as images. The majority of what I do is video. Right now I'm posting everything I do to Vimeo with embed code on other sites.

    There are absolutely no limits to storage and bandwidth with my current ISP - which I think is a great deal. Yeah, it's a shared service, but I have the options to go to a virtual server or even my own hardware if and when the need arises.

    Those of us who have been fiddling with this stuff just take it for granted. When you start to break it all down - like you need to do to explain it to someone else, you realize how complex it all still is. As much as we'd like to think it's simple, it really is not.

  17. etchedinpixels
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    Hi John (I now have my Johns straight =)

    I know you're frustrated, but I think we need to get past the frustration if you want to move forward. It's true that the software could sometimes be smoother, but at the same time, I'm not sure how easy you expect it to be, and no solution is going to be hassle-free.

    To paraphrase Teddy Roosevelt: 'Nothing worth doing is without effort.'

    So, let's start at the beginning.

    1) What do you want out of a website? Do you want people to have access to your photos in gallery/portfolio format? Or do you want to blog individual images or groups of images and write stories about them?

    2) Do you want to share with friends/family? Or clients?

    3) Do you use workflow software like Aperture or Lightroom? These make organizing and processing large groups of images faster. You can easily upload to services like Zenfolio. Or, you can export collections as webpage galleries and just upload them to a website via FTP. This is a pretty straightforward solution.

    If you just want to post galleries, then I highly recommend you head over to Zenfolio and sign up for a trial (they don't ask for credit card info). It is by far the easiest solution I've found. Quite newbie friendly because it has a slick interface. Much like the Windows explorer. There are some bells and whistles but I have found that the defaults are intelligently configured, and there's not much you have to do. I was up and running with a really nice page within about an hour. For $60 you get unlimited hosting, a great place for the videos you mentioned, blogging, webpage creation, and your own domain name. This sounds like all that you need. Just ignore the WP issue entirely.

    Have you actually tried it out? I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

  18. techtangerine
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    WordPress has a known limitation when it comes to photoblogging. Granted, a photoblogging theme can solve the problem, but your website will no longer be a regular blog.

    My solution: Install Piwigo on a subdomain and use the Piwigomedia plugin for WordPress to display the images in a WordPress page or post.

    http://www.techtangerine.com/2012/01/15/piwigo-and-zenphoto-a-comparative-review/

  19. WordPress has a known limitation when it comes to photoblogging.

    Really? It all depends on your goals. Photo blogging or Photo blogging :) If you want a blog with pictures, WordPress is great. If you want a gallery website, WP can still be great, but you have to set it up right, just like you do when for anything else.

  20. Kartoony
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    Well, I'm BEGINNING to figure it all out. Photocrati (which, BTW, just bought NextGen Gallery) seems to be a pretty good blend of WP and photo galleries. And NextGen looks pretty slick. But I need video galleries as well. NextGen may be able to do that, I'm still trying to figure it all out. Don't know what Photocrati's plan for NG is but could also include video in the future - we'll see, I guess.

    I've looked at piwigo and zenphoto both since my ISP offers both as a "plug-in". But they have problems of their own - and they are not intuitive from what I see. Maybe that's why Flickr is the way it is - maybe that's the best out there.

    Although Chris' recommendation of Zenfolio is good. Their navigation structure is the best I've seen, but it's a pay-to-play site. Nothing wrong with that, but that's not what I want right now - maybe in the future. I just don't understand why it all has to be so complicated. (Like the latest version of iTunes - what the heck was Apple thinking???)

  21. Heh. My wife took one look at iTunes and had unkind words to say.

    Kartoony, what are your requirements/wish list for this? I mean, a gallery is a gallery, but you may have specific wants.

  22. Kartoony
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    I think, and that's my problem, I'm still trying to figure out what I want on my website and all of these little things are complicating it, what I'd like is one of those "slideshows" (on the home page) like you see on other website home pages with little buttons at the bottom showing the progress from one slide to the other. Usually the slides have text and graphics, you click them and they take you to another page. (I'm SURE this has some kind of name, but I don't know it.)

    Oh yeah, and not just on the home page. Where a "gallery" might reside inside the site, I need the ability to run video and static graphics and, perhaps, audio.

    But I've also seen these types of "slideshows" that now contain videos, so rather than going to a different page, a video will start.

    A photo slideshow is nice but slideshows now need to support all kinds of media.

    I'm pretty sure MUSE will support that and, perhaps, I'm just asking too much from WP. The whole idea was to keep things simple, and I'm OK with that. I'd much rather see less features in WP than a bloated, overloaded platform that bogs down under the weight of stuff that should never have been there in the first place.

    And I'm not trying to do stuff on the cheap. But if I'm led to believe that something will perform in a certain way, I want to know how to implement that and so far I'm running into problems.

    What I like about WP, since my rant started a while back, is that it APPEARS to be flexible enough that, with plug-ins, I might be able to accomplish what I want. But no sooner do I figure that out when something else pops up (that I see, for example, on another site) and, dammit, I want that too!

    If I haven't said it before, the technology is beginning to change TOO FAST! I consider myself pretty tech savvy, but even I am beginning to get overwhelmed with the amount and frequency of change.

    I don't know if that helps?

  23. Kartoony
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    OK - being the [degrading comment moderated] that I am, I have spent the last three weeks learning about WordPress, mostly from Lynda.com and Morten Rand-Hendriksen. That dude knows his stuff. I have been through the WordPress Essentials course and if I had one whit's worth of sense, I would have gone through that before trying to jump into WP with both feet.

    I should also have set up a site on WordPress.com and played around with the features there as well.

    Let's face it folks, this is not a five minute install. It's only a 5 minute install if you know what you are doing and I clearly did NOT.

    So I've got WP set up on my hosted service and just the other evening set up a local install on my home and work computers. I may even put an install on my MacBook Air. Once you know how to do it, it's really is pretty darned simple.

    So I have to eat some crow and answer my own question with ABSOLUTELY NOT. This is an absolutely amazing platform.

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