Friday, May 4, 2012

Tucker's Problem Log


Tucker Norred
Chris Lanier
Web Design

Website Log
Tuckernorred.wordpress.com which will be updated to TuckerNorred.com.
The first step of our logs are when we are on the search for a template for our website.  The two platforms that I have narrowed my search down to are Blogger and Wordpress.  Both are set up to be blog style format, which will cater to the design I require.

Blogger was my first option that I considered because I have used blogger in the past and it is familiar to me.  First, I went to the Blogger website and looked through the templates that they had available before going off the site to third-party developers.  The options that I saw available to me seemed like the templates would stint my ability to tweak them in the future.  This is why I decided not to use a blogger template.  None of the ones that I looked at were designed to be a “video” focused blog.  The dimensions of each of the posting areas would not provide enough room to preview the video clearly without full screen enabled.  This was a major determining factor for me, but the ability to link it easily with my Google account and my social media hubs was a major plus. 

Word Press is what I decided to use for my website design template.  The functionality and ability to truly customize the templates was the main detirming factor in this decision.  Also, there are many more third-party developers that design all sorts of plug-ins to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of the site.
            What I found out after diving deep into the project is that without hosting the site through an ftp client to my GoDaddy account the functionality of the site is very limited.  But, the ability to host my site on GoDaddy is what I plan to do over the summer.  Without hosting the site on my own I am forced to used the Dashboard on the Wordpress site where it limits most abilities to insert code into the site and addition of new plug-ins, etc.  The ease and functionality of the WordPress Dashboard is very user friendly with many “drag and drop” techniques making it very familiar to me.  Also, all of the third party developers create ways for you to integrate anything your heart desires.

The third option that I explored briefly was how to take the template that we created in Photoshop and be able to turn that into a fully functioning website.  We made two different templates and I thought that if one didn’t work due to sizing, or some other constraint, that the other might work.  There are many different tutorials to do so online so I looked at what the first step would be to take.  I found this was useful before sending my website to Dreamweaver, it helps to set up the Photoshop file. (http://line25.com/tutorials/create-a-clean-modern-website-design-in-photoshop)
Once I was sure that my Photoshop mock up was ready for Dreamweaver I then looked on YouTube for video instructions on how to do so.  I am more of a visual learner and I thought that it would be easier because I could see where all the buttons that I am unaware of in Dreamweaver.  This was the first video that I watched: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0_Dfyfd-7M
Then this one (which has a second part) :http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7XpOzJHRU4
The main difference between all of them was the version o the adobe creative suite they were using.  But, they all basically revolved around doing the same set of steps to building a website.  That is one thing that I have notices about most all of the creative suite programs, almost all projects can be completed in completely different ways with the same end result.  After watching the videos I was able to conclude that I would more than likely spend far too much time running into multiple different problems.  I wanted to focus more time working on the functionality of the site and not just building it.  I made the decision to not use a Dreamweaver template, or my own, for my website because of the sizing issues I would run into with every shape I created.

These are the main key components that I will require of my design to be able to preform:  Blog style format, host videos, host photos, contact me, link out to my social media sites.
There are lots of forums on the Wordpress website such as this one http://wordpress.org/tags/iframe
This one was very useful for me while I was looking for ways that I could possibly add an <iframe> to my Wordpress site. 
Also, the support on the site is very useful/user friendly. I used this while trying to upload my website via FTP clients to my GoDaddy account.  http://en.support.wordpress.com/ftp-access/ this was something that ended up being the biggest problem of my website.  Moral of the story: “We do not allow FTP (File Transfer Protocol) access to any WordPress.com blogs. Please see the information below on alternatives to using FTP.” 
There were many different routes that I could take to upload my website to my GoDaddy account through an ftp client.  Through one of the intructions and the forums I read on the GoDaddy site I was told to use the FTP client MAMP to upload my site and then use the new Dashboard within my GoDaddy account.  This would then give me the ability to add my plug-ins and code to the directory files for my website. 
This forum/instructions were useful in informing me to use MAMP http://codex.wordpress.org/Installing_WordPress_Locally_on_Your_Mac_With_MAMP
The last step of the process was to install Wordpress and connect it but I ran into problems on finding this information about my server:
database name: wordpress
database host/server: localhost
database user: root database password: root

            After much trial and error to find this information I decided to try another route by using the most popular FTP client, FileZilla.  FileZilla operates much in the same ways but was actually more complex than MAMP so I decided to continue using the WordPress Dashboard so as to finish my website on time.

A lot of the functionality of the site that I am creating is based off of what plug-ins is available for my site and integrating them.
This part of the Wordpress website is where I started my search on how to integrate plug-ins http://codex.wordpress.org/Managing_Plugins

I wanted the website to run as smoothly as possibly for people especially being able to keep high-resolution values of photos and videos.  The plug-in WP Super Cache is what I found would help me the most amount first. It is a very fast caching engine for Wordpress that produces static html files.  This plugin generates static html files from your dynamic WordPress blog. After an html file is generated your webserver will serve that file instead of processing the comparatively heavier and more expensive WordPress PHP scripts.  The static html files will be served to the vast majority of your users, but because a user's details are displayed in the comment form after they leave a comment those requests are handled by the legacy-caching engine. Static files are served to:
1.     Users who are not logged in.
2.     Users who have not left a comment on your blog.
3.     Or users who have not viewed a password protected post.
99% of your visitors will be served static html files. Those users who don't see the static files will still benefit because they will see different cached files that aren't quite as efficient but still better than un-cached. This plugin will help your server cope with a front-page appearance on digg.com or other social networking site.  http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-super-cache/



One thing that I find very important of any blog (or any website for the matter) is the presence of social media and SEO.  I would like a Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Vimeo to be connected to the site.
First with the SEO I wanted to optimize my site to be able to reach out to the greatest amount of people.  Wordpress SEO by Yoast (http://yoast.com/wordpress/seo/) is the most popular one that users apply by far and it will be the one I choose.  WordPress SEO is the most complete WordPress SEO plugin that exists today for WordPress.org users. It incorporates everything from a snippet preview and page analysis functionality that helps you optimize your pages content, images titles, meta descriptions and more to XML sitemaps, and loads of optimization options in between.
There's a full feature list for the base plugin. Currently there's three of them in active development: News SEOVideo SEO and Local SEO, with News SEO being available for download. The latter two will be paid add-on modules, developed by Yoast with the help of subject matter experts. These are options that I look forward to in the future.

There are hundreds, if not thousands of different social media plug-ins that are available to add to your Wordpress. First, I knew that there was a twitter feed that I could attached from my dashboard widgets, no problem there.  Many of them are just a buttons, which contains all of the social media options in one contained toolbar. These are the ones that I looked at first as a one time fix all, a Plugin Directory that floats on the side with all of the buttons.  Your all in one share buttons plugin. Add a floating bar with share buttons to your blog. Just like Mashable!  With Digg Digg by Buffer, you have an all in one social sharing plugin for your blog. Display all social sharing buttons nicely on your blog and make it look amazing, just like Mashable. http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/digg-digg/installation/ 
Facebook integration with my site is something that I thought would be very important.  Within the Wordpress Dashboard there is only one widget that will assist me in Facebook integration.  It is a very small, unseen button after each blog post with the ability to “like” it. All that would do is create a post on their facebook wall and shows a brief description of the post.  I would like a link directly to my Facebook page where it lands on a page that encourages the user to “Like” the page so they will be continually linked and updated about my Facebook and site.
            First I looked into Facebook AWD is an all in one Facebook capabilities for wordpress.
Add Socials plugins, OpenGraph, Comments and FB connect. Publish your content to all your FB pages and on your personnal wall on Facebook Easy to install and setup. Use Iframe or Xfbml or HTML5 Add Like button and comments to pages, posts and custom posts types, at top, bottom or both. Widgets and Shortcodes available for each Facebook socials plugins. Use post thumbnail for openGraph, Fix like button with url linter, use pattern to defined custom openGraph meta, etc... Works in Facebook Tabs and Facebook Canvas! Use both SDK's PHP v.3.1.1 AND JS v3
            Next I looked at The Social Media Widget is a simple sidebar widget that allows users to input their social media website profile URLs and other subscription options to show an icon on the sidebar to that social media site and more that open up in a separate browser window.
I wanted to be able to see the statistics of who tried to link from my site to my Facebook as well so I looked into Facebook Share Statistics. Shows informations about your posts shared on Facebook, with statistics and charts about the number of "like", comments and clicks received.




Instagram is something that I wanted to be able to integrate into my site.   The main goal of this is to be able to update my blog with photos from my mobile phone.  Instagram is a free photo sharing program launched in October 2010 that allows users to take a photo, apply a digital filter to it, and then share it on a variety of social networking services, including Instagram's own. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/InstagramLike before with all of the other third party plug-ins that I wished to use, this one was not pre loaded into Wordpress. 
However, there are multiple Instagram Plug-ins that I found worked if I was able to host my site onto my GoDaddy account.
Instagram Gallery Widget (IGW) lets you display your beautiful Instagr.am pictures in a simple and elegant gallery onto your WordPress website. You can drag multiple widget instances and configure each one with different settings. You can also use custom PHP code to insert the widget in any part of your theme or if you prefer, you can embed the special shortcode.
Instagram for Wordpress
Simple sidebar widget that shows your latest instagr.am pictures and picture embedder. Requires PHP curl extension. To embed picture use [instagram] shortcode. Example: [instagram url='http://instagr.am/p/BSJRn/' size='large' addlink='no']

This means that I would either have to find a way to host my website through php just to use a silly plug-in or two.  I thought that there would be answers on the Internet for other people that had the same issues.
I google’d very excessively about ways people are able to embed their Instagram posts into a normal website that they have built from scratch.  There still isn’t that many options available to people that want the option of something written in code to appear on their site.  There are a few third-party developers that have built options where the user logs into their Instagram from their site, and they build an <iframe> that you embed in you website.  The <iframe> is the code that then produces a scrolling slideshow of the pictures from my Instagram account.
This is the first one that I tried to use, and it is extremely simple.  It just asks you to log into your account and then it automatically gives you your custom <iframe>.  This is an example of my <iframe>
<iframe src="http://embedagram.com/e/widget/31863571/?css=http://mysite.com/embedagram.css" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="border:none; width:404px; height:144px; overflow:hidden;" allowTransparency="true"></iframe>
Webstagram  http://web.stagram.com/  Same as Embedagram with more sizing options/
You can ....
View photos of the people you follow
Like and Comment on photos
Follow and Unfollow other users
See your followers and following
Browse popular photos / tags / users
Get your RSS feeds
AND MANY OTHER STUNNING FEATURES...!
SnapWidget http://snapwidget.com/#getstarted  Much like the other two and another option I attempted.  It even had a video with set up instructions

The main problem that I ran into with this was that Wordpress was not allowing me to embed iframe’s in the pages on my website.  It would have been most favorable to be able to embed it into one of the pre set widgets in the sidebar but that is not an option.  The only place that I am allowed to place the iframe in my template is in a post, which would be moved anytime I create a newer post.  Any time I attempt to post the iframe in a page it just gives me the href and links it out to its own page where it resides.  At this point in time I didn’t think that the iframe wasn’t allowed because it allows me to post iframes of vimeo videos I have created.  So I attempted to use another named Webstagram and then SnapWidget with the same results.

 So I decided to find another work around for some of the other way of being able to have a rolling slideshow of pictures on my site from my Instagram.  There is a flickr widget that is part of the preset widgets in the Wordpress dashboard.  So I thought that there may be a way of having my Instagram linked to my flickr so once I post a photo on Instagram, it instantly populates on my flickr as well. I Googled “how to connect instagram to flickr”, as well as many others and had no luck finding a platform that was able to connect the two. 
What I just recently founf is there is a flickr app for my android device, which is probably the only work around before hosting my site on GoDaddy.  It will be a shame because it won’t link out to my Instagram, show my tags on photos, and I will have to upload every photo twice.  This is something I also came across, http://www.flickr.com/groups/instagram/discuss/72157627054680432/
And it has functionality, but still has multiple problems as described earlier.  I’m holding on to this for a later date. 

Another Work around for Instagram is the ability to host my pictures in a Picasa Widget.  Picasa Widget works as a widget, making very easy for you to embed in sidebars (if supports widgets) the latest albums from your Picasa account.  http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/picasa-widget/


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