|Photos and Collections|
Sunday, March 30, 2008
Posted by jaygross
For quite a few years members have been asking me about having the ability to upload images from their collection on this site. Up until now, my stance has been for everyone to use one of the many free 3rd party services like tinypic or photobucket.
For the past 2+ years you probably have noticed our top nav has had an empty spot. Back in 2005, when I re-wrote all the code on this site and changed the look to the green schema, I created funcionality for a scan library. I have talked to probably 50 members about it, asking for help accumulating images of authentic autographs. Even though the library had over 1000 examples, I wasn't happy with the way it worked and never launched on the site.
What I realized (through all of your great feedback) is just how important it is for collectors to be able to share their collections. The Show It Off message board area has been absolutely wonderful, and allowed me to get so many great ideas to improve my collection. Thanks to everyone who has shared. I am always in amazement of all the great ideas and the passion that collectors on this site have (especially with Jason's signed 1955 Topps Sandy Koufax rookie).
Over the summer I was at the National Sports Collectors Convention in Cleveland, and I was talking to Jim (the long time collector I met). He made it clear we needed a way for him to post photos of his vintage stuff on the site, and I promised him I would deliver it.
Over the past 3-4 months, I have spent considerable time working on this. I looked into all sorts of commercial packages like Coppermine, PhotoPost, PhotoPlog, and Nuke Gallery in addition to sites like PhotoBucket and Flickr. I saw a lot of great stuff, but I had the requirment that it needed to integrate well into what makes SCN unique - the request tracking, the message boards, the player profiles, and our member profiles. So I built it all myself.
Today (at 4-5 AM EST) I took the site down to make a variety of upgrades:
- Adding the Photos and Collections functionality for premium subscribers.
- Making some fairly significant enhancements to improve the performance of the Sigs By Mail section.
- Adding some info to the Player Profile pages.
- Fixed a handful of bugs that members had pointed out.
First we can click on the new "Photos & Collections" tab on the top of any page to take you to the photos section:
On the left column, there is a link for premium mebers named Upload Photos. If we were to click on it, we would be taken to a screen like the one below:
Here we can select a player that relates to the photo, we can enter an optional title, and can select an album. All photos must be .gif, .jpg, or .png format and be under 1MB in size. Photos that are more than 600 pixels in height or width will automatically be scaled down. All photos that are uploaded will be optimized for faster performance and have a hosting credit attached.
I have already uploaded a few signed items from my collection to start off. So let's look a sample photo:
On the screenshot above (click here to go to this page), you can see:
- A high quality scan automatically resized to fit on the site. We chose not to watermark the image (as it would obstruct the view of the image), instead we add a hosting credit to the bottom..
- The title of the photo
- The member who uploaded the photo
- The album that the photo is associated with
- Links to the players noted on the photo
- The number of views and the date it was uploaded
- The ability to leave comments about the photo
- A button to add this photo to My Favorite Photos
- Links to put this photo on other parts of SCN or any site you'd like (including your own sites, eBay, or whatever)
If we were to click on the [Photos] link next to Posted By user name, we'd be taken to this member's gallery as shown below:
If we were change the dropdwon next the "Filter by Photo Album" caption, we would be taken to that album page as shown below:
In our goal of building a huge library of autograph scans, we added a player lookup page for each sport: This is cross-referenced with all the player profiles in our database.
We've upgraded the request tracking (tracking of your successes and failures) with the new block shown in the red box below:
Now you can upload scans into your photo gallery directly when you are tracking/editing your successes. In addition, you can pick an existing photo from your gallery to associate to the request (shown in the green).
We also integrated the photo functionality anywhere on the site that has our rich text editor. This includes the message boards, collector groups, and the private message system.
In the screen below, you'll notice we have added a new camera icon (highlighted in red):
If you click on this icon, the photo chooser will be presented:
Here we can select an image and hit the "Choose Image" button, and the chooser with be closed with the correct link automatically placed in the edit box.
In addition, you can click on the "Upload an Image" link, and upload an image to your gallery right from here:
I am really excited about this new feature set, as it is something you guys have been asking for and it can really help collectors. Even though we need to restrict the ability to upload photos to premium members (for accountability concerns), anyone can view the photos.
My overall goal is to build the biggest library of easily searchable authentic autograph examples so collectors can have a reference. Yesterday I added a few scans from my collection to my gallery that I had on my laptop and plan to be adding a whole lot more.
This is a start, but certainly not finished. I hope to be adding slideshows and some other cool bells and whistles. As always, I want you guys to email or PM me your feedback and suggestions.
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