A few weeks ago we updated the Pixy system to a new version (3.6). Here are some of the changes which were included in the update.
Pixy users may have noticed some changes when uploading new entries. As part of the recent system update we've switched to using a new media server for the storage and delivery of photos and uploads. This means the page loading times for your blogs at Pixy have been improved, and it also allows us to expand as the number of images uploaded to Pixy grows.
The process of moving to the new image server hasn't gone as smoothly as hoped. We switched to using the new server at the end of last month and came across a number of problems with slow uploading of images. We've been working tirelessly to fix these and we have now installed a second update which resolves most of the reported problems.
However we still have a problem with the watermarking feature, so until that is resolved the watermarking of images has been temporarily disabled.
Most users will have noticed a small change after saving a new entry; there is a delay while the images load. Previously when you uploaded a new image, the thumbnail resizing and watermarking operations were done at the same time. This meant that it took longer to publish an entry. Now when you save a new entry just the file is uploaded (and a quick check to see if it's an image file) then another process takes care of the resizing and watermarking. The initial upload is much quicker than before, and you can choose to navigate away from the page as the images are processed in the background and your entry will be updated.
While the initial upload is quick, the image resizing and watermarking is currently taking two or three times longer than it should. We're working on resolving this and once completed the whole uploading time will be much quicker.
Two more previews of your photos are now created from new uploads. One at 300px another at 1600px. These can be used on your blog by editing your page templates.
We've added a new editor to be used while editing page templates. Now with the CodeMirror editor your page templates are nicely formatted and syntax highlighted making it easier to customize your blog. This is now enabled by default. You can revert to the simple text editor in your sites Preferences > Settings.
That's not all from the 3.6 update... there's another whole bunch of features. But first we need to get the new media server and uploading working smoothly and then we'll start to roll-out the rest.
More to come soon.
- Pixy Team
Over the weekend we updated the pixyblog.com site with a new design and added a number of additional features which we hope will better serve our community of photographers. So what's new at PixyBlog?
The design of our main site, www.pixyblog.com, has been updated to a larger format (greater width and height) and can therefore include more content. We've increased the number of latest photos visible on our front page, changed the way in which the latest comments are displayed and added a preview of the new Daily Shot blog (see below for more information). We will continue to tweak the design and we're working on fixing the last of the style issues for some web-browsers.
A popular page with visitors and our photographers alike; everyone wants to know where they stand in the rankings. We've given more exposure to the "top" photoblog, showcasing their latest post and a short description. The way the top photoblogs are calculated hasn't changed, but we are working on a new algorithm which is being tested on our new Daily Shot blog at the moment.
More emphasis has now been placed on the "profile" section of the pixyblog.com site. We now show not only the sites description and latest photos, but also the latest comments and the photographers favourite bookmarks.
All new photoblogs at PixyBlog now include a button at the bottom of the page linking to their profile at PixyBlog. For those existing users who have customized their photoblog and who wish to have a link to their profile, the following code can simply be cut-and-pasted into the _footer template:
<a href="$url.absoluteSite/profile/$model.weblog.handle" title="$model.weblog.name $text.get("weblogMain.profile")"><img src="$url.absoluteSite/images/my_pixyblog.gif" border="0" alt="$model.weblog.name $text.get("weblogMain.profile")"/></a>
This will display the following button:
We have launched a new aggregated photoblog which is designed to showcase the daily best of PixyBlog. At the end of each day our system will calculate the days best photo. The calculation takes a number of statistics into account when making it's decision, and we hope that over time we can refine these so that we get an unbiased look at what really is "hot" at PixyBlog.
It's early days for our Daily Shot blog right now, but as each day ends we will be gradually building a site of truly exceptional photos; the best of PixyBlog.
We hope that the algorithms we're using (and continually developing) on the Daily Shot site will be the basis for our other blog & photo rankings elsewhere on PixyBlog, so this will be an interesting area to keep watch.
When PixyBlog was launched we opted to use Google Groups for our community discussion. It was a simple and quick way to get started, but we soon realised that it wasn't the best option for us; it cannot be integrated well into our other sites and for a while now we've been wanting to move to our own discussion forum.
We've since been working on migrating all existing discussions on the Google Group site to our new forum and it's now up-and-running at discuss.pixyblog.com... check-out our announcement. PixyBlog users will be able to login and post/reply to questions with their existing login, and we're now working on letting non-PixyBlogger's contribute to our forum as well. So if anyone has a comment, suggestion, feedback or question, you can now post it here.
The PixyBlog Wiki has been updated to fit into the new design and structure. We have further plans for this site which we will be talking about soon.
In case some of you hadn't noticed we now offer unlimited storage for all photoblogs. This has been made possible by the move to Amazon's web service, which gives us the ability to significantly increase our storage. We have passed-on this advantage to our customers and we now offer unlimited storage on all our plans, even the entry level.
For our new design we wanted to use photos from our community of photographers to help promote our service (Is there a better way to promote yourself then through your customers?). So without exception every single photographer we asked was more than happy to help, and you can see their excellent work throughout the new pixyblog.com site. So, we would just like to quickly thank each one here:
We're really happy with the new design and how things are working-out here at Pixy. Since our release just over three months ago we've been steadily growing in members, and we hope that the new features will be valuable additions to our service.
Our development schedule is packed with new and improved features, so expect some more news soon.
- PixyBlog Team
Today PixyBlog moved it's hosting to the Amazon Web Services Platform (AWS). This is a revolutionary way to host websites and webservices and allows us to offer our customers a much improved service. Currently we use two of Amazon's services:
EC2 allows us to host the PixyBlog service on a significantly faster server and network. Visitors should notice faster loading of pages and images, and our customers should also notice greater speeds when uploading photos.
S3 allows us to offer improved storage and backup for all our customers photos. We can now allow uploads of up to 200mb (a slight improvement over our original 3mb), this allows storage of high-resolution photos and we have also released a new bulk upload tool; more information about this shortly.
We see AWS as our long-term home for PixyBlog and we will be tweaking and tuning our service to take advantage of this awesome technology and pass-on the benefits to our customers.