Still Get HTTP Errors When Uploading Pics To Your WordPress Posts or Pages?

The HTTP error may be fixed for most WP users but *most* people making their install open to those who have a valid password that is protected by .htaccess & htpasswd can not use the flash based uploader. I say most because maybe it’s just me and like 2 other people.

The Flexible Upload Plugin (valid up to wp-2.5.1) lets you upload more than one pic at a time. Yay! But just like your relationship status in Facebook, it’s complicated.

Long and Boring and Interesting only to Me Case History:
Once or twice a week I update a private subscription-based member’s only website. It’s a little bit of creativity mixed in with a whole lotta data entry.But who is complaining? It’s a paycheck and you know you need a steady one.

I sputtered along using blasted Cutenews for about a year because that was the CMS in place when I got the job. Updating the member’s site was l a b o r i o u s l y p a i n f u l .

I had to download and crop photos uniformly to fit in a badly designed tables for layout template, then re upload with ftp and link manually. What a pain! There was a lot of back content in the untransferrable CN but I screwed up my courage and switched to WordPress as a CMS and built my own theme. Then I one by one re created new WP Posts for each old CuteNews Post. UGH. I was looking for something that let you transfer data from CN to WP but the one thing that did skipped linkage and images and so what the hell good was that?

At least I did not have to see all those tables anymore,right? Posting became faster but it was still not as fast as it could be. There was great room for improvement to say the least. I really needed to able to upload multiple images to a post and resize them at the same time. Being able to do this would cut my posting time considerably.

Then came WP 2.5.1. There were a few problems: the files restricting access to the member’s site also blocked the flash uploader which was first introduced in 2.5.1 and allowed multiple image uploads. So close but yet so far. Then I found Flexible Upload which allowed me to upload multiple images and resize them at the same time. Along with Vincent Pratt’s Post Templates, updating the site became much faster and more efficient. The joy was temporary: soon after I found the solution, WordPress released quite a few new versions but the author of Flexible Upload dropped the project.

The plugin became depreciated but I stayed with 2.5.1 just to keep using it although I worried that staying with an older version of WordPress would make the member’s site vulnerable. So I finally upgraded to 2.7.1 a few days ago.

Well I’ll Just Find a Plugin That Replaces Flexible Upload. OOPS, There Isn’t One.
I’d done some research prior and I’d seen forum support topics recommending using Scissors instead of Flexible Upload and Faster Image,too. Unfortunately these 2 plugins stilluse the flash uploader which I simply cannot use.Very few people seem to protect or privatize their WordPress installs or at least if there are a lot of people doing it they are not going to the forum to get their problems sorted. None of the fixes in the forum could help me get around this problem. I was stuck. I could either disable the privacy file each time I made a new post (and leave tasty private content open to the general public-do you want me to get fired?) or use the Browser Uploader (super slow!) or use NextGen Gallery. While this is a good option because you can use ftp to upload multiple images- each post would use a unique gallery. 10 new posts a week. 10 new galleries a week. Ugh.

WordPress Gallery or NextGen Gallery?
The native WordPress gallery will automatically associate groups of images to the post – nextGen galleries have to be created, images have to be uploaded and then galleries can be inserted in the post. While it is a good option for anyone not having use of the flash uploader- it added 4 more steps to my streamlined posting routine. I’d gotten it down to a zippy little science and spoiled myself.

Faster Image Insert and Scissors,Maybe?
For the hell of it I installed Faster Image Insert and Scissors and left Flexible Upload activated and I decided to try making new post with all these plugins installed. To my surprise even though there was a nasty php error message printed in the editing page, Flexible Upload still let me upload images. Scissors let me resize them and my Media Settings took care of the rest. Long story short, you can use this plugin with 2.7.1 if you cannot use the flash uploader due to the privacy settings in your .htaccess file or whatever. The options/configurations for Flexible Upload don’t seem to be functional and the php error is ugly & the uploaded images show up in a very wonky way. Take a look:

Here is a fix to get rid of the error message in the post editing page scroll to bottom of the thread . Your settings for the Flexible Upload options page will still be ignored but the uploaded image wonkiness will be gone. Pretty cool! I should state again that Flexible Upload “takes over” the Faster Image Insert area in the post edit page.

Revised File For Fake Grid View

how to get grid view wordpress shopping cart
a shop page suing my fake Grid View:

Very happy to report that you can still “fake” Grid View in Posts/Pages using version 3.12.6 of the WordPress Shopping Cart as the paid for Grid View Module. Most times upgrading a plugin will mean I will have to work very hard to re create the desired effects with the new code. But this time I caught a break and the changes were minimal.

CSS for Grid View-esque Styled Shop Pages in Posts or Pages
These are my suggested styles. You can do what you like just remember that float:left is the main element of Grid View.

/*makes sure things look ok in IE and floats don’t get wonky*/

/Product title. !important will override link styling */
.homepage_products a.wpsc_product_title{color:#000!important;font:bold 11px arial!important}

/*adjust widths and heights to fit your product thumbnail */
/* Add padding for more “air” in the boxes, add a border or background color,too. Go crazy!*/
.homepage_products .category_view_product{position:relative;width:155px;height:350px;float:left;margin:8px 8px 2px 6px;}

Download homepage_products_functions.php
*Note* This file was edited April 21st,2009 to correct a validity issue.
Home Page Products Functions PHP (1502)
FTP to your WordPress Shopping Cart plugin folder and rename the current file: homepage_products_functions_old.php,
if there is a disastrous error you can delete my file and rename the other one, no harm done.
Then upload the edited file, tweak your stylesheet and enjoy!

Good Looking Product Photos for WordPress Shopping Cart Plugin

The best WordPress Shopping Cart Plugin available to date is definitely the one from Instinct Entertainment. The shopping cart comes with 3 free themes and each is ready to be customized extensively.
I know there have been some browser problems with some of the themes but I think they have been worked out.

You can choose from several low cost modules to add on to the free version of the shopping cart plugin in order to have a gallery of multiple images under the main product photo, amongst other cool extras.

When it comes to the main product photo, the one you upload first when adding a new product, you may have experienced some difficulty with the way the resulting thumbnail image is cropped and re sized after uploading. This is the most important picture because its the one customers will see first. It’s been my experience that all product photos turn out the best if shot against a white background with an equal amount of empty space around the item at the top, sides and bottom.You’re going to really want to strive for uniformity because more often than not your product pages are going to show more than one product at a time.

Take a look at these 2 pictures:

goodtoo closely cropped

You can see in the 1st photo there is enough space around the product to result in a nicely resized thumbnail image. But the second photo will get chopped off because there’s not enough space around the product.

This is a screen shot of a row of products with photos that all had the same amount of white space:

a neat row of pictures

In the second screen shot, the 1st product photo in the row shows what happens when there is too much space at the top of the model’s head and not enough at the bottom of her feet. And because the other photos in the same row have different cropping and background colors, this row does not look as neat and clean as the first.

a not so neat row

Many online customers judge an ecommerce website’s “trustability” by how professional it looks. So spending a little extra time on your product photos will pay off with professional-looking product pages.

RSS or Screen Scrape?

Rss you rascal!
Why would you need to ever screen scrape content from your own website? Why not just use RSS feeds? If you want to use your own RSS feeds from your own content to display it somewhere else on your site you can do that! But what if there isn’t an RSS feed from the section in question ? What can you do?

I desperately needed to do just that and worked non stop until I got it hashed out. The blah blah below is what I did and why I had to do it.

Task: build a site using the expensive shopping cart that your client purchased. The client has big expectations and you are faced with a big problem: the shopping cart doesn’t create an RSS feed and you used WordPress to power the rest of the website. Now you have 2 separate components running one site: a flat file shopping cart and WordPress as a CMS , how do you get them to play nice? Are you a PHP programmer? (In my case sadly,no). Well if you aren’t a programmer you can still use wp-blogheader.php to do neat enough things like pull your WordPress theme’s navigation menu in the shopping cart header and your WordPress theme’s footer in the shopping cart, too. In the end you’ve worked really hard getting 2 very different PHP applications to look exactly the same. But you aren’t happy yet. You want some automation. You don’t want to make your clients work that hard.

WordPress is easy to use – my clients quickly catch on to how they can do pretty much anything with it and they can do it themselves.

But how do I get that shop content onto the homepage? Like, dynamically? The home page features their upcoming events and very carefully handcrafted (by me) Featured Products Posts that match the shop pages content in looks. But the whole point of this exercise was that my un HTML savvy clients be able to update their website themselves. I installed a few plugins to help them along such as Post Template . With this they can copy and paste image and page URLs, add some tags and a title and publish. But there is still all that damn HTML. I’d rather they not have to even see it at all.

Another thing is they sometimes run out of a product that was featured in a post on the home page. The product then pretty much ceases to exist in the shopping cart. When this happens and then someone follows the link in the Featured Product Post very bad things happen. Babies start crying and birds cease their joyful song. I’m kidding: the link leads to a page with a nasty PHP error printed on it.

Obviously the next step really was RSS. Or getting some sweet RSS action from a page that wasn’t putting out. I went looking for services like Page2RSS, Feedity and Feed4All. I looked at Dapper and Yahoo Pipes. On my Code page you can see an example of the use of Page2RSS and the MultiFeedSnap plugin displaying content from my client’s shopping cart.

Dapper was really neat (you can make flash badges!) so I am definitely not giving up on them but I didn’t get Yahoo Pipes. Feedity inserted ads in place of the product images and Feed4All just didn’t seem to work. So far my experiment has let me avoid classic screen scraping and I feel like I’m getting close to getting what I want. There are other plugins to explore, too. But MultiFeedSnap works pretty well I must add.

Have you had any clever triumphs in this arena? I’d love to hear about it.