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Customizing WordPress: Integrating Other Apps

Last updated Oct 17, 2003.

By Miraz Jordan

You don't have to do all of the hard work creating your blog yourself. For some tasks, you can let other programs do the heavy lifting. You can, for example, use Gallery to handle photos or BBPress to manage forums. This article explains how to integrate WordPress with the Gallery application as an example of how to take advantage of other programs while building a blog in WordPress.

Add Photos to Your Blog

On my personal blog, Oddity 59, I often refer to sets of photos. Instead of adding all the photos to a post, I upload them to my Gallery installation, then use a plugin to insert thumbnails from selected photos into a post, with a link to the rest of the album.

Once visitors reach the photo album in the Gallery, they can use all the features that the software provides, such as automatic resizing, slideshows, ratings, and so on.

WordPress handles blog posts superbly, while Gallery handles photos easily. Integrating the two by means of a plugin allows for the best of both worlds.

Figure 1 Figure 2

Figures 1 and 2: I’ve posted in my blog about a local attraction and included three thumbnail photos. When visitors click a photo, they’re taken to a larger version within my photo gallery software.

The Gallery 2 Software

Download the free Gallery 2.2.3 application, install it, and set it up. The site includes full instructions.

Next, upload some photos, including some you’d like to use in your blog. Gallery makes it easy to upload batches of photos, add watermarks, and view photos at various sizes as well as in slideshows.

The Gallery 2 Plugin

Next, download the WPG2 Wordpress plugin, which embeds the Gallery 2 application within Wordpress. Install the plugin and activate it. I

Figure 3

Figure 3: The WPG2 plugin is activated and ready to go.

Once activated, the WPG2 plugin adds a new menu item to your Dashboard. Click the link to check and configure the plugin. WPG2 provides many configuration options; most are optional.

Figure 4

Figure 4: WPG2 provides many configuration options, most of which are optional.

There are detailed instructions on the plugin’s download page about how to install and configure it. But if you’re having problems, visit the WordPress Gallery 2 Integrations forums for help.

Write a Post and Include an Image

With everything installed and some photos available in your Gallery, create a new post in your WordPress blog. Enter a headline, choose a category and maybe some tags (new in WordPress 2.3), and then click in the text where you’d like to include a photo from your gallery.

Figure 5

Figure 5: When writing a post, you can click on the WPG2 toolbar button to insert a photo from the gallery.

Click on the WPG2 toolbar button to insert a photo from the gallery. The Gallery 2 Image Chooser window appears. Choose appropriate settings for the image.

Figure 6

Figure 6: The Gallery 2 Image Chooser window. I’m setting the option to insert a thumbnail image with a link to the picture, but there are many other possibilities.

Navigate through the albums in Gallery 2 and select the image or images you wish to insert in your post. To select a photo, check the box at the top left of the thumbnail.

Figure 7

Figure 7: The Gallery 2 Image Chooser window. I’ve checked the photo I want to use and am about to Insert it into my post.

When you’re happy with your choices, click the Insert button. WPG2 creates the appropriate code and inserts it into your post at the insertion point.

Figure 8

Figure 8: WPG2 has created the appropriate code and inserted it into my post.

Publish your post and visit your blog to check that everything is working as you intended.

Figure 9 Figure 10

Figures 9 and 10: The image is displayed in my post. When a visitor clicks a thumbnail, he will go to the full-size image within my gallery, as those are the options I selected.

Try out the various settings when you include an image in a post. You can, for example, link to the image, or to the parent album, or just use a text link. There are many possibilities.

Using the WPG2 plug-in with Gallery 2 is an ideal solution for a blogger who wants to include large numbers of images: a photographer, a trainer using screenshots, an artist displaying his work.

This is a great example of how two, separate applications—WordPress and Gallery 2—can work together. If your focus is on photos, set up the Gallery software as the main part of your site and then use WordPress as a complementary blog.

If your focus is on blogging, set up Gallery 2 as complementary software to provide images.

Similarly, you can use BBPress to provide a forum on your site, and integrate it with WordPress. Strength, power, and flexibility—a winning combination.