Plugins: Flickr

Last week, @socialgumbo asked What are your favorite WP plugins and why? I tweeted that this would make a good blog post, which is something I’ve been thinking about since my WordPress session at PodCamp Pittsburgh 3. Developing WordPress sites for podcasts, businesses and now a personal blog has given me a chance to use a variety of plugins, and I do have a core set of plugins that I add to most WordPress sites that I set up.

However, I’m constantly learning about new plugins, including a few that I’m currently testing. Instead of writing a post that will be incomplete by tomorrow, I created a Plugins category to house these posts. I’ll post about individual plugins or groups of related plugins, and add them to this category. Today I’m posting about two plugins that make it easier to add Flickr photos to posts, starting with one of those new ones that I’m testing.

Photo Dropper

I’m testing the Photo Dropper plugin, a Flickr plugin that searches for Creative Commons licensed photos – images that are licensed for shared use – and lets you drop them into your posts – right from your dashboard with just 1 click. Flickr itself has an advanced search and configurable “Blog This” feature, but Photo Dropper claims to do this from within my WordPress editor, which should be a productivity boost.

In the settings for Photo Dropper, I can check a box to search only photos that are licensed to be used commercially. Since this is not a commercial blog, I’m going to uncheck that. I’ll change the images per page from 5 to 50, leave the box to sort photos by “most interesting” unchecked, and save my settings. Now I’ll search for a photo tagged “PCPGH3” and drop it into this post:

The Panel
Creative Commons License photo credit: davefishernc

Not bad. Photo Dropper loaded quickly even with 50 thumbnails per page, and let me choose from small, medium and large sizes of the photos. The photo and caption you see above is what the plugin posted without any edits, although I would normally customize it like this:

The Panel
The Panel

Flickr Draft Post

Flickr’s built-in “Blog This” feature allows me to customize a template that comes close to my customizations, but I still have to tweak some code to get exactly what I want, especially for images that have no description or lack a descriptive title. But I wouldn’t consider using Blog This without the the Flickr Draft Post plugin, which saves the post as a draft post instead of publishing directly from Flickr, giving me the opportunity to make those edits.

Considering that Blog This is currently not working for this blog (I’m using WordPress version 2.7-beta1 at the time of this posting), I will not use it here, but will continue to use it with Flickr Draft Post on the Shopping Bloomfield blog, which is currently running WordPress version 2.6.3. For reference, this is how I customize my post template:

<a href="{photo_url}" title="{photo_title}" target="_blank"><img src="{photo_src}" border="0" alt="{photo_desc}" title="{photo_title}" /></a><br />
<small><span class="caption">{photo_title}</span><br />
<span class="byline">Originally uploaded by <a href="{uploader_profile}" target="_blank">{uploader_name}</a></span></small>

So which method is best?

Photo Dropper is the easiest method I’ve found for inserting Flickr images directly into the WordPress editor, and if a later version allows customization of the post template, it will be close to perfect. If you’re not particular about markup, this plugin is for you.

If you do want to customize your markup, I recommend using Blog This with the Flickr Draft Post plugin. Once you set up your Flickr account with your blog info and customized layout, the time you’ll save editing markup will make up for having to cut and paste the code from a draft post.

Of course, this may all change tomorrow.