Flickr API – what I’ve learnt

I’ve never really paid a huge amount of attention to Flickr, and even less to the Flickr API. I’ve had to rectify this recently as a site I’m working on needs to have an easily updatable slideshow as a fairly prominent element.

Flickr was the platform that we decided to go with to upload the photos to due to the fact it’s pretty nice and easy to use and there are a huge range of pre-existing apps etc that you can exploit to do pretty much anything you can imagine.

Flickr provides a standard way of embedding photos/photostreams, although it is via an i-frame, is fairly clunky and not very customisable – it also looks pretty crap if you want to make it sit with the rest of the site’s design. I explored various methods of calling the relevant photostream to the site via php and the Flickr API but really it was all becoming far more complicated than I suspected it needed to be. If you are a php-lover then the very clever Dan Coulter has written the phpFlickr class to act as a wrapper for the Flickr API and make interacting with it via PHP relatively easy – check it out here there is also a very useful-looking tutorial over at Nettuts+ which details how to create a very nice photo gallery using phpFlickr – you can check that out here

As I’ve already mentioned all this was looking to be slightly too cumbersome for what I was needing – all I really needed was to be able to call the photostream (perhaps with the option to display photos within that stream with a specific tag) and for the embedded call to be style-able. If there were some nice, sexy transitions etc than that’d be a bonus.

I thought that there would probably be a jQuery-related solution out there, and unsurprisingly there was, loads of them. Once again I came up against solutions that did far more singing and dancing than I would ever need or want. I just wanted a lightweight, simple solution goddamnit – why does everything need to be so bloody complicated!?

Then I stumbled upon flickrshow, “a simple, lightweight javascript slideshow for Flickr”. Only slight problem was that it was still in public beta testing mode so there wasn’t any documentation available. However the demos that they’ve provided give you more than enough of an idea how to use the script and which variables do what. You can check it out here – it’s absolutely perfect for what I need you can call photos from a particular user, using a particular tag or from a particular photo set and it’s all lightweight, easily customisable and ace. Excellent.

I must stress that there are numerous other Flickr solutions out there, flickrshow just suited my needs and spec – hence me highlighting it. There seems to be a vast range of possibilities using things such as phpFlickr – however I haven’t spent the time looking more closely at these yet as they weren’t required for this project.

But my interest has been piqued so I think that the Flickr API is something I’m going to properly re-visit soon.

Anyways, hope that this was in some way useful – feedback and comments would be very welcome – I’m still trying to work out what people would find interesting.


Airy jQuery fairy

Now I’m fairly new to the world of javascript – I’ve been a slightly bemused onlooker for the last few years and have finally accepted that I need to get involved. Whilst I am by no means writing my own code from scratch I have started using the jQuery library and tweaking some pre-existing plugins. jQuery is (relatively) easy to use and (relatively) lightweight. To date I have mainly found uses for it in slideshows and tooltips – for which it has been superb – but it has far more uses than I’ve been able to get my head around so far!

Definitely worth a play around with

Over the next few months I am going to move onto building my own plugins as there are design elements that I use a lot that I want my ‘own’ versions of. I know there are quite a few other javascript libraries out there but I didn’t get on with any of them as well as jQuery – would be interested to hear other people’s experiences with mootools et al.

Time flies

I’m getting a bit crap at this blogging malarky, time to buck my ideas up methinks.
The last few weeks have been incredibly busy with Big Things & little things work, I’ve been doing work for Run For All, The Sunshine Bakery, The Jane Tomlinson Appeal, TwoDucksDisco and Tristan Mann. I’ve also been discussing possible work with a few more really interesting clients. Hence the lack of blogging.

I’ve finally started to delve properly into the world of JQuery, which thus far seems very useful and I’ve also almost (ish) perfected bread-making, now to try and work out how to make jam.

My marathon training suffered a bit with the return of the cold weather but I’m battling on (even managed to convince myself to get out for a pre-dawn 5 miles yesterday), and with the marathon now only something like 2 months and 13 days away I really need to carry on putting in the miles. I’m having a bit of a mini trainer crisis (not a crisis about mini trainers). I need new trainers, do I get them now or closer to the day of the marathon – don’t want to leave it too long though as I imagine newish shoes+26.2 miles isn’t a happy combination.

Have also started taking cod liver oil to try and sooth my aching joints, everything starts falling apart when you hit 24 obviously.

Anyways, am off doon sooth to see the folks this evening, then have got a holiday in the south of France to look forward to in March. Aces