Category Archives: Web development

Software I’m not happy with: and what I plan on doing about it

The need to innovate and improve is certainly consistent with my personality 🙂

Two pieces of software I’m not 100% happy with, but have no alternatives: except to write my own. (actually there’s probably more, but only these two I’ve given serious thought about pursuing)

NAS Solution

One is a free/open source NAS solution that is OS independent. I know of FreeNAS and OpenFiler but both are plagued by the same disease. Extremely slow support and very infrequent updates.
I’d like to put together an OS independent linux file server front-end. Building on  what webmin has done (maybe just a webmin plugin that consolidates all the file-sharing tools in one location). Building on webmin would be easy as it’s already making use of all the tools that are required to manage a file server (though the webmin interface is not particularly oriented to file server management).

The other tool I am not happy with is ZenPhoto. I’m not happy with it due to its very limited selection of themes. WordPress has endless theme selection but (compared to ZenPhoto) poor photo mamagement tools. I love the photo management tools in ZenPhoto. If somehow WordPress and ZenPhoto could be merged in a seamless manner I’d be thrilled; unfortunately I haven’t found such a solution yet. There are some plugins out there for wordpress to bring in photos from ZenPhoto, but it’s cumbersome.
I really like that (in ZepPress) all I need to do is FTP some photos in a folder and they get posted on the ZenPhoto site. No extra messing with front end interface to import or set up albums. The file/folder structure is reflected in the structure of the image folders/sub-folders. I like that.

Photo Gallery/Blog

Part of what I want is a web-gallery and blog to have the same theme allow for seamless navigation from blog to gallery and back.  Also having to manage two separate systems (zen photo for photos and wordpress for blog) is more time consuming. I have used the ZepPage features of ZenPhoto, (to integrate the blog in ZenPhoto) but there are only 1/2 dozen themes available for zenpage enables sites.

I know I could just write a theme to my liking for ZenPhoto/ZenPage, but if I’m going to do some coding, I’d prefer to do some higher level stuff, where ANY theme could be used, hence using wordpress as the frontend, and work on integrating zenphoto photo management into wordpress.

New Album Releases

I am happy with the way the Discogs Album Release plugin is coming together.

Version 1.0 does what I need it for now.

Version 2.x has new features I want to add. The main feature is adding an audio preview of each album so that you can listen to the tracks directly from my site. This will only work if Amazon has the album on their database, thought the majority of albums I’ve come across are on

Using code from this site and this site, I’ve made a php script that searches the database for a keyword (artist + album) and returns the ASIN # (This is the unique number given to each amazon item).

If I don’t get a number back, then the album doesn’t exist. If I get a number back then I can add a music player that pops up so the viewer can listen to the Amazon previews of the tracks and maybe buy them.
This check needs to happen every time the page is loaded, so that if in the future when the album is added to it will show up. On the other hand, is the complexity of doing this worth the work, considering I doubt many people will be looking at month old releases…

Another thing for 2.x is to build some sort of widget that shows a list of the latest albums. Maybe have it update every time the page is loaded and display the latest releases. This brings up the question of the necessity of the daily digest version of the album releases…

I also signed up for a merchant account so if a user buys the album, I get a cut of the actions. Wohoo!

Mechanical Nation : new album query

One of the features I want to have in the Mechanical Nation site is a list of new release albums.

I currently found Muspy which will email you (or use an RSS feed) album releases for the artists that you have asked it to track. This is a nice service, and to start I will use it (just have to enter a crapload of artists in the industrial genre for it tor track). Continue reading