website new look and feel

After one year online, I have learned a lot about what it means to run a website and a blog. It can consume a lot of time, particularly when you have to manually configure and build new image galleries into a framework that doesn't accommodate this very easily. That was the case with the first, 2008 version of my website.

I needed a way to have a core set of web pages that focused on

  • a home page that was less entertainment and more information,
  • a blog (this self-hosted wordpress blog),
  • a set of pages for links to other helpful sites to share,
  • a set of pages that talked about licensing and copyrights,
  • a page that contained a privacy policy for my site,
  • a contact page that would allow you to be in touch,
  • and most important, a way of adding new image galleries quickly and easily.

Adobe Exchange to the rescue. There I discovered Matthew Campagna's web engine plugins for Adobe's Photoshop Lightroom, a very rich digital image post-processing and digital asset management tool.

Aside from being an amazing photographer, Matthew has developed a broad collection of web engine plugins. These plugins represent the next step in the evolution of Lightroom web engines from The Turning Gate. And as I was already using Lightroom, it seemed like a match made in heaven.

After checking out the fifteen HTML and Flash based galleries and six special purpose templates, I chose TTG Pages and TTG Highslide Gallery.

TTG Highslide Gallery and TTG Pages make great companions. The menus are already setup to work together, so there’s no need to fuss. Just export your galleries, drop them into the /galleries/ folder created by TTG Pages and put it all online. It doesn’t get any easier!

TTG Pages is website construction tool, used to create a home in which your galleries can thrive. TTG Pages creates a home page, an about page, a contact page with email submission form, and a self-populating gallery index of your image galleries. This formed the core set of pages that I needed. But it also provided a framework for all the other non-image gallery pages that I needed (ie. blog, links, privacy, etc.). I have taken Matthew's template and expanded them for my own needs. The real plus here was that this template ...

  1. meets 90% of my needs 'out of the box',
  2. provided an extensible framework that I can grow, and
  3. tightly integrates with his TTG Highslide Gallery.

TTG Highslide Gallery is a dream. By following a standard workflow, I can build a new image gallery in Lightroom and export it directly to my web site within minutes. And as soon as the new gallery is published, TTG Pages will automatically add it to it's image gallery master index page. Once I am happy with the post-processing ('digital developing') needed to refine a set of photographs, I ...

  1. tag the images with attributes that become their titles and descriptions,
  2. create a gallery title and description that also show in the gallery master index, and
  3. export and upload the gallery to my web site.

It is literally that simple!


One response to “website new look and feel

  1. Since connecting with Matthew’s work I have been frequently asked how I achieved the common look and feel between TTG Pages, TTG HighSlide Gallery and WordPress. Yesterday I finished my latest blog post just on that topic … check it out at http://johnbishopimages.com/blog/2010/02/website-new-look-and-feel-the-meat-of-the-story/

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