Archive for the 'Coppermine' Category

Coppermine 1.5.1 alpha released for testers

After months (I must say years) of hard work and adding numerous new features Coppermine Dev Team is pleased to announce the release of an alpha version of our next major series 1.5.x. The alpha release is only meant for testers. This release is in no way meant for production use and should only be used on your testbeds.

If you want to help us by testing cpg 1.5.1 then please read our forum thread, cpg1.5.1 alpha: how to become a tester, to figure out if you can apply for tester group membership.

There is absolutely no support for cpg1.5.x at this stage and no support requests will be entertained in the forums. However testers are encouraged to report bugs in the forums (1.5.x bugs board is restricted to testers and developers only).

Non-testers i.e. normal users of coppermine – stay tuned and look forward for a wonderful package coming up in the next few months.

CPG and Me

Many moons ago I decided to set up a website. I had never ventured into the wonderful world that is web design before and was very wet behind the ears. I am a network support guy (read geek) and have some programming experience but that doesn’t help in the slightest when it comes to web design.

One of the first things I wanted to do was to build up a big collection of windsurfing pictures so spent ages trying various softwares to do this. Some were offline packages that create the album for you to upload, these were quickly ruled out as I wanted my users to be able to upload. Then there were the packages my web host at the time offered, all next to useless. Finally and by a bit of luck I came across Coppermine. It really floated my boat and had all the features I wanted then some. Continue reading ‘CPG and Me’

Never argue

I came across with this quote today and instantly thought of coppermine forums.

Never argue with an idiot. They pull you down to their level, then beat you with experience.

There is no dearth of such morons on coppermine forums.

Recently I have seen many users criticizing support team of being rude and un-friendly. They claim that we should answer their each and every question (which we do unless the question has already been asked many times) as they are using our product. What they don’t understand is that coppermine is not a commercial product but a FREE open source application which comes with no warranty for support. Despite of this we try to help as much as possible and reply to more than 95% of threads.

Threads started by such morons lead to flames and arguments and they generally beat us with their experience.

All new upload interface

Continuing the series to highlight the new exciting features of cpg15x, today lets take a look at all new upload interface. The new interface uses the popular open source tool SwfUpload which uses flash to upload files. The great thing about this tool is that it shows file upload progress bar. Whats better than a demo itself, so here you go…

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.

As you can see multiple files can be selected and uploaded in one single go. After uploading the user is taken to editpics page where s/he can enter the file details like title, description and keywords. The only gotcha with this new interface is that it requires flash and javascript but in todays time if your browser don’t have those two things then you are still living in 20th century ;).

Creating plugins was never this easy

While I have been working on CPG 1.5, I recently started recoding some plugins and writing new ones. One of the major things that have been coded is the addition of quite a lot of plugin hooks. While sometimes it is easier to create a mod (modifying the core code) then a plugin (no changes needed in the core), it does pay to create the plugin. It is easier to maintain and certainly easier to support. Plugins are portable when doing an upgrade, while modifications have to be applied everytime.

It is possible to convert every mod to a plugin in the 1.4 series, but it certainly was not always efficient. You could/can use the ‘page_html’ filter to change every aspect of Coppermine if you want to, but it would be quite resource intensive. Now with the additional hooks I was able to create a plugin to add an alternate CAPTCHA then the default one built in. I was also able to convert my lightbox mod to a plugin with the addition of an administration menu, no need to edit the files anymore!

It would be nice to see people convert their mods to plugins as it is more likely they will work on future versions of the 1.5 branch and possibly even after that.
I think over 90% of the mods currently available are convertable without to much hassle. It does take some time to get used to the plugin API, but there are enough plugins available to peek at their code and see how it works. The 1.5 plugin documentation is currently being improved, and I will add all my plugins in there with detailed info on how I wrote them.

GSoC Mentor Summit 2008

This year Coppermine participated in Google Summer of Code (GSoC) for the second time. Since our students and mentors did a great job, 2 devs were invited to attend the Mentor Summit at Google HQ in Mountain View on October 25th and 26st. Thu and myself were the lucky chosen ones to represent Coppermine over there.

The GSoC Mentor Summit is a unique opportunity for project members to meet people from other projects. It is a place where we can collaborate on the thing we like most: Open Source Software.

Before the summit started, Thu invited me for lunch at Google (where she works). This was really great; to meet someone I had known for over a year on the Coppermine team & forums but never seen before.

Saturday, 25th of October, the summit started with writing down what we wanted to talk about and put those notes on a schedule. After some fiddling around with the schedule, we could finally start sharing ideas. There were quite some rooms available where each hour we could hold/attend a session. There were sessions about GSoC and how it could be improved, teaching open source development in university settings, open source security, CMS & LMS eLearning and a lot more.

My favorite was a session about how CMS’s and other software can learn from each other. We talked about how working closer together and trying to come up with a standard naming convention. Possibility for CMS’s to import/export a standards compliant file so it would be possible to switch to another CMS whenever you want.

Of course one hour most of the time is too short to finish a session, but you get the ball rolling and continue to talk and take action after the summit is over.

When sessions were over I talked (and especially listened) to people from other projects. It is really great to hear we all encounter the same difficulties in managing our projects & communities :-)

What’s cooking in cpg1.5

The next major release of coppermine i.e. cpg1.5 will have number of new features which all of you will most definitely adore however In this post I have highlighted only a few of them.

1. User album in admin allowed categories

This was one long standing feature awaiting to get its way into coppermine. From 15x onwards registered users will be able to create albums in the categories for which the admin has given permission. From the category manager page admin will be able to specify which group of users can create albums in that category.

The best thing about this feature is that coppermine will now be more social networking friendly. Previously users were only allowed to create albums in their personal gallery and those albums were not visible on home page. So a category has only albums from one single user. Now any category can be public which means the albums in those categories will come from different users.

2. Permanent URLs for search engine friendliness

When coppermine first started SEO term was not even coined. In today’s world a site cannot survive without SEO. Till now the URLs in coppermine were based on position of the pic in an album. The biggest drawback of this approach was that a position of pic keeps changing in the album as new pics are added to that album. This used to hamper the search engine crawlings and also a lot of times people coming from the search engines used to land on a different pic than they anticipated.

This issue was solved by replacing pos with pid (permanent id of pic) in the URLs. Since the pid will never change for a given pic – the URLs remain absolute.

3. Comments approval and captcha

Well, comment spam needs no introduction. The captcha plugin and mod were one of the most used plugins/mods in our forums. Looking at this we decided to put captcha in the core code. The only gotcha in captcha is that it will work only on those servers which have GD 2.x with freetype support. We are working hard to find alternative but for now this is the only option.

A second layer of security will be comments approval. If turned on – each comment will require admin approval before they start appearing to the world.

This was only the tip of iceburg. Stay tuned for more cool features.

Abbas Ali

Coppermine Dev Team welcomes you to this blog. For those who have absolutely no idea what Coppermine is, here is an excerpt from our home page.

Coppermine is a multi-purpose fully-featured and integrated web picture gallery script written in PHP using GD or ImageMagick as image library with a MySQL backend.

Coppermine is free software which you can download and install on your webspace.

Coppermine (cpg) was originally created by Gregory Demar and the current team took over the development in the year 2003. We are a bunch of volunteers spread across the globe determined to make cpg a better experience for users.

The authors of this blog will be all members of cpg development team which includes managers, core developers and supporters. As the team members are from different cultures you will find different styles of writing which i hope you all will enjoy.

We started this blog to put forward our experience, knowledge and views on technology, programming and opensource. This blog will highlight coppermine project, its development and features. But hold on, this blog will not be entirely about coppermine and will have topics including php, other opensource applications, world wide web, anything related to technology and sometimes developers and their life.

Now pardon me for changing my tone but i would like to make one thing very very clear – this blog is not meant for coppermine support. There is a better place for getting support and that is our forum. So don’t be a moron by putting support issues in comments. However general comments on blog posts are more than welcome.

I hope everyone will enjoy our writings.