Thursday, September 29, 2011

Integrating Google+

I am currently investigating how Google+ can be integrated with my photography site.  Seemed like a good opportunity to revive this long dormant blog of mine.

Issues.

My current setup is rather complicated and involves having content in various different places, some unique, some duplicated.

'Blog posts' are either on Tumblr, MySpace, Twitter or RedBubble, and are all imported into my website via feeds.  This makes updates problematic, there is no automatic way to blog about new images, it had to be done manually, and in the right order.

As the site is build as a package and installed on multiple servers it can take up to half an hour to upload a new image or make a small code/text change.  The system is very sophisticated, but content is coupled with the code.

Images are held locally, for the site, but also uploaded to Flickr (for comments) and RedBubble (for comments and sales).  The website includes links off to the other copies of the images, but the other sites do not contain a direct link back to the image on the website.  This feels messy and disjointed.

Image sales are via RedBubble, and the front end to that is not integrating well with the rest of the site.

Links are held on delicious, and imported to the site via a feed.

The Idea.

To move all content into Google+ or related services such as Blogger and Picasa Web.

The positive.

Google+ has a fantastic community of photographers, the engagement and interaction is better than both flickr and redbubble, and far ahead of my own portfolio website.

Social features come built in.  If using Blogger as the blogging platform then it is very likely that integration with Google+ will only get better over time.

Image hosting could be via Picasa Web, this has commenting features and integrates very nicely with Google+

Ease of maintenance, and a modern look without having to put my design hat on.

Extend the scope, due to circles and being able to target things I can put everything in one place, photography, programming, life in general, all on one platform.

The negative.

My current workflow relies heavily on Perl to take pictures from Lightroom and translate them into a version for the web, it uploads to Flick, generates my website and ties everything together.  The Perl modules for Picasa web are unfortunately not very mature, they do not appear to support uploading or editing of images on Picaca, only querying images already there.  There would be some work on bringing that up to speed.

Google+ (Via Picasa web) does not allow for the sale of images.  I would still need to use another site for that, and incidentally, RedBubble do not provide an API, making integration difficult so I have been looking around for an alternative for a while.

Loses 'brand identity', it would look and feel like the services it runs on.

Throwing away the site, not altogether, but there has been significant development effort in making it, so changing the way it all works is a big step.

Thoughts?
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