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WordPress's utterly hateful Featured Image

  • I absolutely despise the way WordPress handles Featured Images. They cannot be accessed via third party desktop publishing, you cannot use remote images from Flickr or other photo services for featured images, the iPhone app has no support for it, and there isn’t even a function to automatically feature the first image of a post to save time or the aggravation of having to go into WordPress admin to do it manually, or even an option to set a default featured image for posts that are text only.

    I don’t care if some themes have functions that work around these limitations, what if I happen to like and use a theme that doesn’t?

    And for those who obnoxiously comment on how Featured Image will not hotlink content because that’s bandwidth or copyright theft, wah wah wah, etc., I guess you haven’t considered those of us who are hotlinking to our OWN farking photos so WE can SAVE on bandwidth. I love how despite being a Flickr Pro user with a stock gallery of my own photos to draw from, I still have to resize, download, upload, transfer, log into WP Admin, this, that and the other thing and waste my fricking time with this fark all crap because of the way Featured Image was coded.

    Please, will some levelheaded WP dev find a way to improve the Featured Image function for future releases. Thank you.

    [Thread title edited.]

Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 29 total)
  • I totally sympathise – I have a domain specifically for external storage of my own images for hotlinking. Remarkably there are a couple of services now that don’t like that. wtf?

    The only consolation I can find is in the use of CDNs such as Amazon s3 or MaxCDN, where your images are pulled from your host server and redistributed to save bandwidth and improve performance, but not everyone does this, and it doesn’t address the issue of disk space either. While I’m allotted “unlimited” storage at Flickr, I’m already using up half the disk space at my host, and that’s only because I’ve been able to hotlink most of my photos, otherwise I probably would have maxed out already.

    I agree the way WordPress handles Featured Images it’s not good at all.

    And for those who obnoxiously comment on how Featured Image will not hotlink content because that’s bandwidth or copyright theft, wah wah wah

    That’s odd. I seem to be able to hotlink to any image I like that’s not protected from the source server and use it as a featured image. I just tested it again to make sure I wasn’t making it up in my head.

    As far as flickr goes, could this have any bearing on your results?

    Where is the HTML code and photo file link?

    The HTML code to embed a photo in a web page that you used to find on the All Sizes page is now only in the Share menu above the photo, to the right of the Actions menu. We now also include BBCode! (standard message board code)

    There are a few cases where the code may not be available: 1) If the photo is restricted. 2) If that person has turned off “Share this” or access to original files.

    The direct link to a photo file is no longer shown on the page. Per the Flickr Community Guidelines “pages on other websites that display content hosted on flickr.com must provide a link from each photo or video back to its page on Flickr.” Linking directly to the photo file doesn’t do this.

    Source: http://www.flickr.com/help/photos/#2265887

    So, if I interpret that correctly, is that something flickr prohibits rather than WordPress? (hotlinking, I mean)

    Clayton,

    How are you accomplishing that exactly? Here’s what I’m doing:

    I click on the link “Set featured image” at my post page.

    I select the tab “From URL” and enter the information accordingly. The only option at this point is to “Insert into Post” so I click on that. There’s no option to set this hotlinked image as featured. It can only be done if you load it from your computer, or if you use the media library built into WordPress.

    To double check, I tried hotlinking a photo from my OWN server (the same server my WP site is on) and again, there was no option to set it as a featured image. It’s impossible to do (this was confirmed by a few WP developers themselves.)

    The only workaround is to use the plugin Auto Generate Thumbnails, which grabs a copy of the image and uploads it to the media library, then sets it as a featured image. Note the image still isn’t hotlinked, it’s merely copied and uploaded, so we’re still dealing with images that are being used locally.

    I tried hotlinking a photo from my OWN server (the same server my WP site is on)

    That isn’t “hotlinking” per se. It’s simply displaying an asset located on your own server.

    Hotlinking is a term used to describe the display of an image or other resource on a (your) web site by linking directly to that resource on a remote (someone else’s) site/server. The term usually implies that the resource is also being displayed without the remote site/server owners consent – but not always the case – And it is indeed, bandwidth theft. You are using bandwidth that someone else is paying for, to pull that image or resource into your site for viewing, every time it is displayed. So you can see why it gets frowned upon.

    How are you accomplishing that exactly?

    I created a post just now. I’ll detail what I did.
    -New post >
    -looked in right side lower column >
    -selected “set featured image” >
    -selected “from url” >
    -pasted the url to an image on some other web site in “Image URL” field, filled in title, alt and caption, selected “link to image”, inserted it into the post and published.

    The image is now at the start of my post and opens to the original image on the remote server when clicked. I can also manually manipulate the size of the image displayed in my post to create a thumbnail – without actually needing to re-size the source image – of course.

    There’s no option to set this hotlinked image as featured.

    I can only provide information about what I just did and the results it yielded. Perhaps you and I are interpreting the use of the “Set Featured Image” function differently? Maybe I am using it in a different capacity than you are, or perhaps I’m not completely understanding how it should be working.

    It certainly would not be the first time I misunderstood or even abused a WordPress feature for my own purposes! 🙂

    You’re right, I wasn’t actually hotlinking, just simulating the idea by using a URL rather than uploading an image via WP’s media uploader.

    It’s not bandwidth theft if you own the content on both ends. In Flickr’s instance as a Pro member I can hotlink any image of mine that I want, and also hotlink Flickr images based on whether the user grants permission via CC licenses or not.

    As for how you’re adding images, I see what you’re doing, but you’re not in fact adding any featured images after all. It’s a bug in WordPress: they included the “set featured image” link in the “Remote URL” options even though it’s completely nonfunctional. To confirm, you need to go to a post page to edit, and check the featured image block. If no image is showing then no featured image was set.

    It’s not bandwidth theft if you own the content on both ends.

    Minor semantics: It’s not bandwidth left if you have permission to use the image on your own site.

    Owing the image on flickr doesn’t actually stop it from being bandwidth use. If flickr says it’s nor permitted, even if you own the image, it’s still theft. (And I have no idea if they do or not, but if we’re gonna talk about it, we should be careful in our usage of hot-button terms and use them wisely. 😀 )

    I wonder if it’s a technical limitation due to the way themes are permitted to use featured images. Look at Twenty Ten. If you make an image featured, it changes the header image for that post. I suspect that aspect would fail if you used an external image, though I’d have to dig further into the theme. With that in mind, this would definitely be plugin realm. TimThumb may be able to do that, though I have no personal experience with it.

    Just to clarify with Flickr, they absolutely do NOT allow outright hotlinking, whether you own the image or not.

    You may link to photos on flickr, if you follow their TOS. Which specifically states that the image must click-link (my terminology) back to the image on flickr.

    If the image is not linked to the source (as in, you click the image, you go to flickr) then it is in violation of Flickr’s TOS

    This is regardless of being a Pro member or not (I’ve been a pro member since it was offered, Flickr was very kind to point this out to me)

    Just wanted to clarify that, as I’m sure it would suck to get locked out of your flickr account

    It looks like plugins like http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/flickr-gallery/ are allowed via your API key, just as a point of confusion!

    The fact is hotlinking is allowed as long as you follow the guidelines, and since the media uploader in WP provides a means to add a click-link (your terminology) back to Flickr’s pages, there is no excuse why the option to set them as featured images as well is not available.

    These plugins don’t do anything with featured images though. The only one that does is called Auto Generate Thumbnails, but it is a rudimentary plugin that checks ALL of your posts every time it’s run for images to be set as featured.

    As I said earlier:

    I wonder if it’s a technical limitation due to the way themes are permitted to use featured images. Look at Twenty Ten. If you make an image featured, it changes the header image for that post. I suspect that aspect would fail if you used an external image, though I’d have to dig further into the theme. With that in mind, this would definitely be plugin realm. TimThumb may be able to do that, though I have no personal experience with it.

    Basically what I’m saying is that it’s possible (and likely) that due to how WP was engineered to be entirely self-hosted, you can’t include data into the DB that doesn’t exist and, thus, cannot be accessed by other functions. Remember, when you add a file via Media Uploader, it gets its own line in the table, as well as a lot of meta data. Once you start talking about external images, NONE Of that data is stored, which means it can’t be used by other functions (like featured images) which depend on it.

    Think of it as ‘painted into a corner’ if you will.

    (TimThumb claims to be able to integrate with your theme and essentially replicate the featured images actions.)

    Please don’t double post. It’s preferable to edit your post 🙂

    I see, so the featured image set is probably similar in that regard.

    Upon reflection, another problem is also autonomy. My photos are spread out unevenly throughout all my machines (from my iPhone to my desktop). If I’m on my work machine, I have no local photos to draw from to use as a featured image for my posts, so I have to go to Flickr. I’d then have to download the photo, reupload them back into WordPress admin, then add all the info from there before inserting it into the post. If I want to use multiple photos, I have to repeat this process ad infinitum.

    If I’m on my MacBook I would use Marsedit to blog and insert images, but again, if I want to set a featured image, I have to go back into WordPress to edit my post, resize my image and then upload an image from my MacBook, or go to Flickr and download the same image, then upload it again, then add all the details again. Compounding things is that I resize my photos to a smaller size before uploading them, so it would require keeping a redundant library of photos specifically resized for Internet use.

    Just thinking about the steps required here makes me tired. There has to be a better way.

    There should be a better way, but WordPress can’t possibly be all things to all people. And as I was reminded, one of the tenets of WordPress core is “Don’t trust the user.” So allowing for the unwashed masses who DON’T understand hotlinking to run rampant is probably not gonna happen :/ I know you said NOT that reason, but it remains a reason.

    My photos are spread out unevenly throughout all my machines (from my iPhone to my desktop).

    Oh, yeah, I have that problem, too, but I’ve started using DropBox to manage that and it helps a lot.

Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 29 total)
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