A Year of Flickr

Last modified on May 2nd, 2007

A few days ago, Flickr gave me the not-so-subtle warning that my account was about to expire. Since I’ve had a pro-Flickr account for a full year now, I thought I’d take this opportunity to share my thoughts on the service so far.

Flickr sort of came to the limelight about 18-24 months ago as one of the leading websites that had real Web 2.0 technology. If you haven’t been there you should definitely check it out. Most of the website utilizes Ajax and as you use it, sometimes it feels more like an application than a mere website, and that was really one of their original selling points.

Most people would probably be surprised to learn that they were once a Vancouver company. I actually popped by their office before (located in a small Yaletown room, next to UBVideo) they were acquired by Yahoo. I’m honestly not too sure if they still have employees here, but last time I was in that building it looked like their doors were closed forever.

I’m actually a really big fan of Flickr. Not only have I really learned alot by looking at other people’s photographs, I have also even made a few new friends in the real world thanks to the active user base and community feeling ingrained in the website. If you don’t want to purchase a pro-account, you can still upload photos and take part in all the online photographs, you are just limited in how much you can upload each month, and how many sets/collections you can make. But for $25 a year, it’s really a no brainer for anyone who enjoys photography. Plus, they promise to keep all your original photos archived for you in case you lose them.

I liked Flickr so much that I wrote a WordPress plugin a few months ago to tie my blog closer to my Flickr account (I’m almost done the next version — should be cool). That experience has given me a really up-close look into the entire Flickr back-end API system that developers can use. While other sites have tried to mimic the functionality, I think Flickr really did a good job helping developers utilize their technology. That’s not to say it’s without faults — I’ve emailed them on multiple occasions about the clunkiness of some of their APIs, and how with a few small changes they could drastically reduce the number of queries they have to manage (and as a plugin developer, I’m forced to generate). But other than that, it works quite well.

The only negative aspect I can really think of is that some people take the whole group concept too far and almost turn it into a popularity contest. Whenever I post a “good” photo, I usually get a few people inviting me to their groups with these really ugly banners meant to demonstrate what their group is about. I really hate it, and I wish I had the option within my account preferences to turn off group invites completely.

I’m really looking forward to another year of photos on Flickr, and seeing just what they have in store this year for changes to the website.

13 responses to “A Year of Flickr”

  1. Beth says:

    I’m a big fan of Flickr too – coincidentally, I am right in the middle of uploading photos to Flickr as I type this… I hit “upload” and then thought “I’ll check what’s going on in the blogosphere” A friend of mine bought me a 2-year Pro account as a present – I can’t imagine going back!

  2. What might I expect to find in the new version of your Crossroads plugin? Or is this the alpha version I am already running? Looking forward to the release.

  3. Rosie says:

    I still haven’t taken the plunge to upgrade to a Pro account in Flickr, but I want to create more groups! Unfortunately, I am really sporadic with my photo uploads.

  4. jim says:

    what i would think would help with those annoying group invites would be something like a group where people can pull in (cc-licensed?) pictures without having to bother the original poster. i’m fine with my picture being included in the “people wearing green socks” pool, but i’m unlikely to join the group so i can push my picture and appease some picture-hungry group whose fetish i don’t really share.

  5. Duane Storey says:

    Hey Jim — that’s a really good idea.. You should send that suggestion to the flickr group.

  6. […] Link From duanestorey.com […]

  7. Meredith says:

    Duane- from one flickr lover to another… I too upgraded my account soon after joining. The $25 doesn’t seem like that much compared to what I get from the site. Another new cool site that recently partned with flickr is http://www.imagekind.com I got hooked on them as an artist trying to make some extra money. I can import my photos directly from flickr (so easy) and then imagekind creates a professional looking gallery to house my work. Here I thought I was going to need to create my own website, but they did all the work for me! If you have a chance check out my gallery and let me know what you think:


    Maybe imagekind could be useful to you too somehow?

  8. John says:

    Hey Duane. I actually stopped by to check in on the latest version of crossroads. I had mentioned I was going to send you a suggestion or two for it, but haven’t yet. So here goes nothing. Take what you will, discard the rest… 🙂

    – Rather than using the HTML comment tag as the wrapper for replacing with images, I’d suggest doing something like square brackets. An example being: [flicker-group:1234567890] This would be a little more compatible for all versions of the WP post writing page.
    – The ability to choose which size image(s) you want to display. You could do something like O for original, T for thumbnail, SQ for square, SM for small, M for medium.

    OK, well, that’s about it. Love the work so far! Can’t wait for the next version!

  9. Duane Storey says:

    Hey John,

    Thanks for the comments. The problem with the square bracket approach is that the moment you disable your plugin, you’re going to have those awful tags in all yours posts. With the html comment approach, you won’t see anything, which is the desired behaviour. I’m going to try and whip together something to make it easier to add images to posts though.

    The image size idea is a good one, I just have to think of a way to do it. Thanks for your feedback.

  10. I agree that keeping the html comments is more sensible. Another great thing about the html comments is that they probably won’t be used for anything else in a post, so if at any time you stopped using the plugin, you can just do a RegEx search in all posts to match a html comment and remove them all in one go.

  11. S says:

    Glad to see you are using the picture I took in your post about Flickr…

  12. Duane says:

    Did you? Thanks man.

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