Monday, 25 January 2016

New photos and now everything* is featured on my site

You may have noticed that my albums haven't been displaying as well as they might. Firstly, they take ages to appear in the first place on my Windows devices - and that includes some pretty fast Windows 10 machines - and secondly, they don't appear at all on most other devices like mobile phones or Chromebooks. Now, when you remember that the albums are created using a Google product (Picasa Web Albums) and many of the devices I am talking about are Google Android ones, you can imagine my frustration! I have waited long enough, though, for this to be resolved as I had hoped it might and set about changing every page.

After what has been a long, long job, I think everyone should now be able to see the images and albums without huge delays and also on virtually any device. I have put a single image on the site page for each items and that links to a Google Photos album.

I just hope people do click the images as there is nothing to tell them! I may have to add something across the whole site one day for that. Another job for another day.

The albums can also show on mobile devices although Google disappointingly give me no control over how the images appear, other than the order. The album title is the catalogue number only. I suppose one day I could add the names too but that's a long job. It does open in a fresh window, though, which means I don't lose people off the site.

My main concern has been to make it fairly easy to keep things up-to-date and the site to stay fairly quick-loading. The photos I take are automatically copied to Google Photos whenever I take them off the camera's memory card and so too are copies I make at rather smaller sizes more appropriate for web use so that's nice. I can then fairly easily add one of the smaller images to the page and add a link to the Google album in one go. That's about as easy as I guess it's going to get. I would have preferred to have albums displaying on the page, using something like an RSS feed to avoid having to add weight to the site pages themselves but I was unable to find any solution that would provide this and not need huge amounts of code being added and edited each time. That is still the better solution but someone somewhere needs to make it simpler to do. I can imagine a little programme that picks up the model number / stock number from the page, finds the relevant album in Google Photos and rattles off the code for those images to be pulled in and displayed on the site page. All I would need to do is to add it to one page and paste it to any others.

Anyway, that's probably only of interest to geeky people so I will move on to the other changes. I have replaced the All Models section (which was a link to an early edition of the site with small images from places like Vectis) and now include images of absolutely everything* in the various sections. There are two additional sections: Corgi Majors and Gift Sets which include items that I am rather unlikely to get as they're outside what I would normally collect but are still of interest to many visitors and, indeed, need to be included somewhere. The Gift Sets also include one or two items that you simply couldn't get on their own - like the old green #406 Land Rover or white #490 VW Breakdown Truck. So they had to be there and when I realised how many there had been I had to have a separate list to fit them all in!

The Corgi Majors are also quite a lot more extensive than I realised, with some items lasting for a long time and others coming and going quite quickly. I now understand much better some of the differences between these - like the Low Loaders and Transporters, for instance.

In due course, I expect I shall separate Farm Machinery, Military items and Circus stuff in the single section they're in at the moment, just to make life easier, and the same needs to be done for the 'Commercial & Others' section although I am none too sure how to compartmentalise these at the moment.

So there remains work to be done but I do hope the changes are appreciated by visitors and make things a bit easier to find. If anything is broken or not quite right, do let me know as checking the whole damn thing isn't easy!

I have still managed to avoid dealing with Batman, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Popeye and the Green Hornet. I know that one day I will have to for the sake of completeness. Still others to come first, though, as I find things like Impalas with different interiors more interesting. And a lot cheaper!

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