A progress update

Hey Everyone!

Been awhile since I’ve posted a news update but that’s because there isn’t really much new to say.

I’m still working on things when I get time. The WordPress plugin version is still in the works but nothing to see yet. Maybe in the next few months though but I can’t make any promises (more than likely will be longer). I haven’t really taken as much time to work on this as I probably should have since I know people use this software and seem to like it so I’ve been working on the new version more and more in recent times. I have also been making little fixes as bugs are reported on the old dev snapshot as well. But I usually spend time working on the WordPress version. This plugin should work better, be quicker and easier to use and the code will be nicer and more updated and secure. Hopefully I can find a way to migrate the old database and files and whatnot into the new WordPress plugin, at least that’s the plan anyway. But we will see how it goes, I’m not sure if it’ll even be possible at this point due to the way things have changed.

One thing I’m starting to get to coding is how the grid will actually be processed, stored and loaded. It seems a lot of people have had issues running out of memory with the old version of the script. Some people wanted to make very large grids which just isn’t possible without a higher memory limit set in PHP which can’t be changed on many shared hosts. So to fix that it’s going to only process sections of the grid at a time and also load sections of it at a time through AJAX. This should allow for any size of grid you want. There will be blocks like we have now but they will be inside sections which make up the entire grid. Each section will be stored as separate images and loaded and displayed properly on the page when the grid is viewed rather than the entire grid being stored as a single image. This will hopefully solve the issue of running out of memory.

Loading it as sections rather than blocks is probably best since, if you wanted, you could make a block a single pixel which would be a whole lot of AJAX requests for a million pixels. The size of each section might be a maximum of 500KB in size so that it loads quickly but maybe even smaller since the size of the image depends on the data in the image. Therefore it will be limited by dimensions rather than file size. Maybe 100 pixels X 100 pixels could work. I could probably make that the default and add an option to change the section size to your liking. I will have to test to see what works best once I get that far. We don’t want millions of AJAX requests but we also don’t want to run out of memory. Another thing is that if you decided to make a 10 billion pixel grid for some reason you wouldn’t want to load it all at once. You really only have to load what currently shows on the screen and when you scroll to see more of the grid the new sections load automatically at that time. So maybe I can find a way to implement a way to deal with that.

The options page in the WordPress admin area won’t have as many options and will be organized nicer too. I don’t think I will add any of the IE animation options, I don’t even know if those work. There’s a lot of other options which probably won’t be added either like database or mail settings. There are other plugins that can control how mail gets sent from WP. I’ve also considered the possibility of using the WooCommerce plugin to handle payments so those sections for orders and setting up payment modules might not be there either. I will have to look into that more but it seems like it could be a good idea because then I wouldn’t have to code all the payment modules and you could just use existing WooCommerce ones. If I did make my own payment addons (other than PayPal which could be included free) rather than using WooCommerce then I would probably end up charging money for them since some of them seem to take a lot of work.

Finally, I am considering ways to make it more mobile friendly. It wouldn’t really make sense to realign the sections vertically like many responsive sites work so I think mobile devices will just have to scroll around to view the entire grid, or zoom in and out but hopefully that can be something their browser can handle. I’m not sure if I would have to include any support for zooming but we will see how it goes. What I would have to do is make it so you can touch a block to view the popup info similar to how you can currently hover over the blocks to view the info in the old script. This could also use AJAX to fetch the info so it doesn’t have to load it all in one go. I think it actually already uses AJAX to load that popup info in the old script but since this WordPress plugin is a complete rewrite from scratch I will rewrite that using WordPress functions too.

That about does it! I can’t think of anything else to say. Good luck!

Ryan