Galder’s Passionate Blog

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Bye NextGen Gallery. Hello Picasa + Shashin

shashin_smallOne of the reasons I started this blog was to be able to share pictures with friends and family. Initially, I wanted to host them myself and so, started using NextGen Gallery which seemed the most suited WordPress plugin for this task. It was all working fine but suddenly, after upgrading from WordPress 2.6 to 2.7 and updating the NextGen Gallery plugin, I started to encounter issues with album galleries not updating, vertical photos appearing as horizontal and re uploaded photos disappearing. Eventually, I lost patience and started to look for alternatives.

Did I care whether I hosted the pictures or not? Ideally I wanted to host them but the key thing was for anyone to be able to see them, not only people with Facebook accounts ;). With this in mind, and the excellent feedback friends gave me on Picasa, I decided to upload my pictures there and use a WordPress plugin called Shashin that would display Picasa pictures on my blog.

After a few weeks using Shashin, I’m delighted with it. Uploading pictures is even easier with Picasa’s desktop client and afterwards, you just need to refresh Shashin to pick the latest galleries from Picasa and that’s it! The only downside I’ve seen about the Picasa+Shashin combo is the following warning message appearing on Shashin’s site:

Note that With album thumbnails, the size is fixed by Picasa at 160×160, so adjusting the size is not an option. Shashin automatically displays the album title below the thumbnail.

This is slightly annoying because the centre column of my blog is a bit too narrow to fit 3 galleries in each row, so for the time being, I’m sticking to only 2 per row. Due to this and taking in account my blog is primarily technical, I’m thinking of revisiting the theme at some point to make it wider.

Finally, there’s one more thing in favour of Shashin: the thumbnail viewer. Shashin uses Highslide whereas NextGen uses JW Image Rotator. The first is much more neat and intuitive than the latter.

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  1. Thanks for the kind words about Shashin. Sorry about the fixed size on the album thumbnails. The Picasa RSS feed doesn’t provide the photo ID of the album cover. If it did I’d let you set the size like you can with regular photos. The feed just provides a link for the 160×160 cover image.

    I’ll have the next version of Shashin done in a week or two. The two major new features will be support for other viewers (like Lightbox), and the ability to order your album photos using the order you set in Picasa.

  2. Mike, thanks for clarifying the cover image topic. It’s a same the feed isn’t that flexible :(. Thanks for the update on the new features.

  3. Dear Blogger~

    Man! I completely understand what you’re talking about in regards to NextGEN. I didn’t like it at all. But now, I’m having trouble with Shashin. Are there any sites you can refer me to? I’ve already looked at Mike Toppa’s (the author) to no avail.

  4. Mike Toppa’s site is really the only source available. You should try sending him an email. He’s pretty responsive.

  5. I know this post is about a year old. I was trying to get captions to work in NextGen gallery to no avail, so I did a Google search on NextGen Gallery Alternative and this post showed up about 3rd or 4th on the first page of results.

    THANK YOU! This will help us tremendously as we’re getting ready to launch a big project and by using Picassa instead of hosting the images ourselves, I know we’ll save a lot of disk space on our server as well as load time on our site.

    Thanks again! We downloaded the Shashin plugin and are getting our Picassa albums ready.

  6. Patty, you’re welcome! I’m delighted that this works for you as well :) – No matter how old a post is, you never know when someone’s gonna find themselves in same situation.

    Apart from saving up on space, you’re also saving on bandwidth cos they’re served from Picasa :)

  7. I guess this thread is not that stale anymore! I am looing for some help with shashin.

    I am very much into having a quick website and mine was extremely quick before i decided to use a gallery plugin. Before I just imbedded a Picassa slide show. I tried about ten others and shashin is the best (for me)

    I love the way shashin functions but it has slowed my site considerably (%wise) .

    I noticed while using Pingdom that a bunch of .gif’s and .png’s from Highslide were loading that I did not use . So I deleted them from the graphics folder.

    However now they are still being looked for and is evident from the Pingdom test.

    I looked everywhere for a way to remove the call for the pics but am lost.

    any help is greatly appreciated. And if there is any tips on lightening up the app that would be great.

  8. I dunno how to resolve your issue, but I’d suggest you ping the Shashin website which is a blog and you can make comments with any issues you might have. The person behind it is very responsive. Good luck!

  9. Thank you for the article. I wanted to go with NextGen , but then the JW bungle licensing came up.

    Now, I’ve integrated Shashin and it looks really good. Also, Picasa makes it easy too.

    Thank you again :)

  10. Glad I stumbled across your site the other day when looking for ways to do Picaso in my WordPress based blog. After a bit of testing and checking things out this is a clear winner having good looks and great function. I too am saying hello Sashin and good-bye to NextGen. A big kudos for posting about it.

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