Crossroads 2.0

Last modified on February 21st, 2009

A few years ago I sat down to write my very first WordPress plugin, and ended up writing Crossroads. My goal at the time was to integrate Flickr comments into the normal comments on my blog, which was something I ultimately did. Unfortunately though, some of the limitations of the Flickr API made that feature fairly slow to use, and so it’s something I ditched on my own blog a long time ago.

A few days ago I sat down and started working on version 2.0. It’s a 100% complete rewrite, which given the state of the old code is definitely something that’s going to improve it. I’m writing it with both Flickr and SmugMug in mind, so it will most definitely support both out of the box. I’m also ditching all the old prototype concepts and switching it entirely to jQuery.

I’m still prototyping several concepts, and still don’t have that warm, fuzzy feeling with the direction it’s going. Part of the problem is having it integrate with WordPress without forcing the user have to make any adjustments to their theme. That’s a big constraint, and given the market I’m trying to cater to, I’m not sure that’s the best option to be honest.

At least personally, I’ve never found an image plugin that makes showcasing my photos very easy. I use Flickr RSS fairly religiously, but that only showcases recent photos, so it doesn’t help for general blogging. I’ve always felt like there needs to be a better way to have photos tell stories in addition to the text of a blog entry, and that’s something I’m hoping Crossroads will ultimately help with.

One of the shortcomings with the first version was that you had to post photo and set IDs into the post content to have images show up. I’m going to fix that this time and put some kind of administrative interface for selecting photos or albums to be included. So hopefully when it’s done it’ll be far better than the old version.

Here are a few photos from last year’s Northern Voice displayed using Crossroads 2.0. As I mentioned, this is just one of many rough implementations I’m going to do to test things out.

[crossroads type=”flickr” set=”72157606640072832″]

Another complaint I used to get is that you could only have one line of Crossroad photos per post in the old version. Since I have rewritten it, I managed to get that functionality in right from the get-go this time. Here’s another group of photos to demonstrate.

[crossroads type=”flickr” set=”72157600042953096″]

For all you photographers out there, drop a comment and let me know what features or functionality you’d like to have on your blog, or any problems you’ve hit that you’d like solved.

11 responses to “Crossroads 2.0”

  1. Hi Duane

    Glad to hear that this plugin is still in development – I have been using it pretty much since it came out and amazingly right up till now it still works (even with the newest version of wordpress). I look forward to seeing what version 2.0 will become – but if I can put one request in, that would be to make it backwards compatible – so that even if you intend to use a UI for inserting tag data into posts in the new version, the new plugin still recognises the old tags that were inserted manually.

    P.S. I like the new way of displaying the larger photos when you click on a thumbnail.

  2. This is pretty cool! Between this and WPTouch, I’m *this* close to biting the bullet and switching from Drupal to WordPress. 🙂

  3. John says:

    Kevin….I think Boris will stab you with his pointy hair if you switch from Drupal. 😉

  4. Yeah, there is that danger for sure. Funny thing is – when I first set up my blog (with the help of Boris) he told me to use WordPress! I ran it on WordPress for a short time and then decided I needed to be using Drupal – just like him. 🙂

  5. Duane Storey says:

    @Johnathon – Yah, I’m pretty sure I can make it backwards compatible. Although in the old version all the photos showed up at the bottom. In the new one they’ll be inserted wherever the HTML tag is.

  6. John says:

    @Duane – on a serious note, I’m going to be adding this to my site and would gladly help out in beta testing anything cool we can think to add to it. We’ll talk more about it this weekend.

  7. Duane Storey says:

    Cool.. I would love some suggestions. I’ll give you access to the current code as soon as I clean it up a bit more.

  8. Kelsey says:

    Do you have any sort of timeline as to when 2.0 will be released?

  9. Great to hear that the new crossroads should be compatible with the old. I too would be happy to take part in any Beta (or even Alpha!) testing if it would help you out. Likewise, if you are thinking of doing some localisation for the plugin, I could probably sort you out a translation into French and Mandarin Chinese if you give me a .po file


  10. Sami says:

    Hi! I really like how Crossroads looks and the simplicity of it. One feature that I’ve been missing on gallery plugins is showing exif data from Flickr. I’m not sure if it is even possible to add that feature to a gallery plugin that uses lightbox etc., but it would be cool. Anyway, I look forward to seeing version 2.0 of Crossroads.

  11. Duane Storey says:

    I’m still fleshing it out, but you can see the Exif information in my current photography section when you click on a photo.

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