OK, for those of you looking for something more profound, I’m sorry to disappoint. This post is devoid of deep thought. Instead it focuses on the technical side of my portfolio here in Mexico.
Part of what I do here in Mexico deals with maintaining my website, and the website of our Missionary Fellowship. Maintenance has a lot to do with staying current, and when the web management software that you use tends to upgrade every three months, staying current can be a challenge. I use WordPress as the engine that drives what we do at discipleMexico.org and today, I completed the upgrade process to the brand new version 2.5
Part of my reasoning behind the upgrade is to ensure the security and stability of our website. There are many languishing installs that are currently succumbing to hackers and spammers and losing their status in search engines because of it. Problems like that can hurt non-profits like us who rely on a low-cost web presence to promote their message. It pays to be current.
The other part of my reasoning lies in taking advantage of new features that the software provides. I’m on the lookout constantly for step savers or ways to extend what I offer. I was particularly interested in the WordPress 2.5 gallery feature. If it worked, it would allow me to ditch my another process and help me get pictures up more easily, and perhaps more frequently. Of course, that was only if it worked.
The first upgrade, a 5 minute process performed through WordPress Automatic Upgrade failed to produce the brand new uploader which is the heart and soul of the new gallery feature. Without that, my new time-saver was dead on arrival. OK, time to trouble-shoot, an hour of trying this and that proved fruitless. Only a complete reinstall of the software, this time manually installed, allowed me to access the new uploader.
OK. Step one solved, now on to the next, producing a gallery. I looked for examples to see what this new tool was capable of. Would it fit the bill for my site? A quick tour of the Internet proved promising, but my first gallery was a flop. With no navigation, the supposed gallery seemed unwieldy and useless. It looked like I was going to be tied to my third-party solution. Still, something in me said that there was a solution out there. Others would not have been able to get the results that they had achieved without software mature enough to deliver.
A deeper search revealed that the gallery feature relies not only on the new uploader, but also on a new template called image.php, available in the default theme. Part of the problem of heeding the upgrade warnings that WordPress sends is that many of the new and improved features are poorly documented. Tags were a case in point a few releases back. This time the photo gallery has proven to be the winner.
Sure enough, copying the image.php file to my current theme did the trick. With a few tweaks and a few bug fixes, I achieved success. My first WordPress native gallery was born. I’ve posted it below. It’s a conglomeration of some prominent images characteristic of the Mexico that we have experienced. It’s not exhaustive, but it displays a bit of what the WordPress gallery can do. I hope you enjoy.