What Lomography is running on and what we are working on right now

2015-02-13 101

In this article, we want to give you some insight into the technology we are using on lomography.com and what we are currently working on with the new site.

Our previous site had been around for many years now. A while ago we started thinking about how to make the site faster, add new features and a new (mobile friendly) design to the site. Basically there were two options: upgrading the technology behind the old site or starting from scratch (and migrating the data of course). We gave this a lot of thought (even starting to explore both options) and eventually settled for the fresh start. Some months and many coffees later, this very site is the result (and by no means the end result – as we now have the foundation to create even more things).

What we are running on

So to the technical stuff: the site is built on Ruby on Rails 4.2, for the data we use PostgreSQL, the whole frontend is HTML with lots of CSS (Sass/SCSS) and JavaScript (CoffeeScript). We use the lovely typefaces Whitney and Mercury. The icon font is from Ionicons. We – me and the two developers michaelem and srecnig – all work on Macs using Sublime (them) and Textmate 2 (me). We spend a lot of time in the Terminal, manage our code on Github, test with our friends at Codeship, communicate via Slack and create to-dos with Basecamp. We sit close to each other, but everyone mainly has his Beyerdynamic headphones on (yep, all the same ones). I mostly design directly (most prototypes are done with Middleman, the framework we also use for our microsites) in the browser or with Sketch.

For the new site we also already developed some modules we are very happy about – the Grid for arranging the photos and the Lightbox to show the great photos even bigger. All the photos are resized on the fly and this is how it works: You upload a photo to Lomography, it is stored on the assets server, uploaded as backup to S3 and distributed among our CDNs. Every time the application server requests a new photo, it is resized and uploaded to CDN again (all within milliseconds, so you don’t have to wait too long). Everything else is pretty much straightforward.

What we are working on

We know there are some features missing still on the new site and are working hard on getting these done – we wanna roll them out one by one and work in the feedback we get from you. We are very sorry this takes a bit of time but we really want to get everything right and working smoothly. In the last one and a half weeks, many other features were rolled out and we spent quite a bit of time improving the performance.

  • Right now we are working on albums, the photo upload and editing.
  • After that we will tackle the Feed (and alongside that, the Activities and Notifications).
  • Then the competitions are coming back.
  • And we certainly didn’t forget about the LomoWalls as these are one of the favorite things we had on the previous site. But showing them on multiple device sizes is still challenging.

So if you have any questions, please just ask me anything below in the comments. I am trying to answer everything as soon as possible, but please note that we are working on the site still. So I try to keep it short and/or do it in the wee hours. Thanks!

written by recurving on 2015-02-13 #news #next

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101 Comments

  1. heyfrida
    heyfrida ·

    Will we get our awards back?

  2. recurving
    recurving ·

    @heyfrida: yes, you old award will be added again. We are not sure how to continue with new awards though as we want them to be special – but be assured we will find a way to combine our new ideas with the old awards.

  3. wesco
    wesco ·

    Thanks for the update @recurving, nice to read what you're working on! Keep up the good work.

  4. trash-gordon-from-outer-space
    trash-gordon-from-outer-space ·

    Thanks for the transparency. It's interesting to peek behind the curtain. I really love your typographic choices. The Fonts look great and work well together. I'm excited for the things to come.

  5. recurving
    recurving ·

    Hey all – here is a short peek at the album sorting I am working on right now: cl.ly/image/2h3Z47400k1R

  6. dermanu
    dermanu ·

    What about the Blogs?

  7. recurving
    recurving ·

    @dermanu: also coming back, but we will call them Notes (to make them a bit more general). You will be able to upload other photos (and are not restricted to your own photos).

  8. dermanu
    dermanu ·

    @recurving that sounds good. ;-)

  9. recurving
    recurving ·

    Just in general: we don't plan to abandon any feature from the old site. But we know of the limitations of some and wanna improve the existing ones. Be assured our small but very dedicated team works hard to make this happen!

  10. vicuna
    vicuna ·

    Cool and exciting news to discover all the new features of the site. I really love the general layout and how the photos are shown at their best. Will there be the possibility to upload a bigger size as 5MB per picture? And happy to hear that you're working on the notifications as well, as I'd like to see a small thumbnail of the pic that was liked and not only the # number... and I didn't see for now the option to set these notifications as "read" to know which ones are new...
    Keep on the great work guys, it's now the 3rd version of lomography.com I see and it's getting better and better!! :))

  11. vicuna
    vicuna ·

    oh, and I liked on the old site the "archive" page to be sure to don't miss any published article...

  12. recurving
    recurving ·

    @vicuna: thanks for your nice words! We've just increased the limit to 10MB per photo. Just for you (well, and everyone else): I've added a small thumbnail of the liked/commented photo in the activities! We will still work on these as we have really nice grouping prototypes in development that will make handling tons of likes for power users more easy!

  13. recurving
    recurving ·

    About the archive: we list all articles on www.lomography.tw/magazine by date – but maybe an archive page that just lists by date would be nice. Putting this on my list!

  14. u-t-e
    u-t-e ·

    @recurving: I'm looking at the new site every day and am excited to see new stuff added all the time! As for @vicuna, this is the 3rd version of lomography.com I am experiencing and I must say that it has been a great journey so far!
    As for the awards: The intial way of giving out awards was, in my opinion, the smartest and most meaningful - before you had the achievement awards, that is. Winning a competition, becoming home of the day, having the photo of the day, maybe writing "article of the week" (handpicked by an editor) - that's worth so much more than writing comments or liking pictures.
    Oh, and I have a suggestion that's been on my mind quite often but I always forgot to ask: Whenever you (or a user) put/s a photo in an article or uses it somewhere on lomography.com, you put the user's name as reference but you don't mark/tag them. There have been several occasions when I noticed that a photo of mine got ten or twenty likes within a few days, which made me wonder: Where did that come from? I had to search through several articles or take guesses to find out where it was used. I would like to suggest that lomographers get notifications whenever their pictures are used in an article or on the front page. This is not as important as the albums section, of course, but I didn't want to forget about this again :).

    Thank you for the album peek and the thumbnails! And thank you for listening to our suggestions, and answering our questions. It is greatly appreciated!

  15. recurving
    recurving ·

    @u-t-e: yep, these are my thoughts on awards as well and we will work this out with a team. And we are in fact working on a notification if a photo of yours has been used in an article. Plus if you username has been mentioned in a comment (like this). And we are happy to answer the questions and wanna make our development process very transparent – if we don't answer right away it is very likely we are deep in the code and/or design.

  16. schugger
    schugger ·

    I like the peek of the album sorting @recurving - looks very promising!!

  17. alcastan
    alcastan ·

    @recurving I think its a good thing for us to see the site becoming more friendly every day, i personnally feel involve in the hard work done, & all exchanges in the shout are showing the community is a real one

  18. buckshot
    buckshot ·

    Really appreciate your hard work, guys, and the site is improving almost every day now, so well done, and keep it up...!

  19. thrasbarg
    thrasbarg ·

    Hey, good job. Love the new design and that it's responsive. Also my third iteration of the site, man the times are a changing.

    One thing - I'd be super happy if we'd be able to get rid of the pagination in albums and just load more photos as we scroll or have a "show more.." button/link at the bottom instead. It'd give albums with a lot of photos a nicer flow, I think.

  20. vicuna
    vicuna ·

    thanks @recurving for the thumbnails and "mark as read" in the notifications! :))

  21. gelagoo
    gelagoo ·

    Waiting for the albums! Keep up the good work. :)

  22. fricicchia
    fricicchia ·

    Good guys! :-)
    Please reactivate as soon as the ability to create albums and sort photos.
    Thank you very much.

  23. stouf
    stouf ·

    Great work so far!
    I'm very happy to hear we're going back to meaningful awards (@u-t-e). Also, like @vicuna the only page I was actually looking at was the Archive. So as you say, a simple list view of all recent posts would be great, with tiny thumbnails for fast loading. Apart from that, and I know it will come in the future, a map of our geo-located shots and articles would make me very happy : )

  24. alyssa_apollo
    alyssa_apollo ·

    Thank you for the update, hope it will happend soon. Please tell what about list of my friends activities?

  25. sierravictor
    sierravictor ·

    Will we get the picturenumbers on the albums back?

  26. sierravictor
    sierravictor ·

    Will we get the list of friends back?

  27. sierravictor
    sierravictor ·

    Could we get the single-image representing the whole album back, instead of a listing of every picture in an album in the feed? The albumoverview could be reached by clicking on that representative-image as in the old site.

  28. koduckgirl
    koduckgirl ·

    I ditto the request from sierravictor about the picture numbers on the albums! It is important because otherwise you don't know if you are looking at a 50 shot album or a 12 shot album and if you don't know, you can feel trapped in a vortex of time ha ha ha

  29. recurving
    recurving ·

    @stouf: hmmm, then I think having an archive organized by day might be the best option. Give us some time and we will make this!
    @alyssa_apollo: last Friday I did a quick'n'dirty version so everyone can see the photos their friends have uploaded – you can find this under www.lomography.tw/my feed – but we will enhance this one!
    @sierravictor: you mean the numbers on the detail view? Like 2/10? Yes, they will come back. Same with friends.
    @koduckgirl and rest of the readers: what do you guys think of having the photos in each album bigger and showing more? Because personally I feel looking at an album I am also interested about the sequence of photos and not the individual shots only.

  30. u-t-e
    u-t-e ·

    @recurving: Maybe a "view all on one page"-option would be a good compromise. Personally, I don't mind seeing 20 pictures on one page - I actually prefer that sometimes. But if an album contains 120 photos, it can be annoying to have to go through six pages, thus having to click fve times to get through the album.
    I'm not sure this is what @koduckgirl, @sierravictor, and you were talking about, though. Are you solely referring to your friends' new albums in your feed, or is this about the display of the albums pages in general?

    Any way, I do definitely agree on the importance of the sequence in an album. It's like "back in the days" when you bought records and listened to it all the way through.

  31. emperornorton
    emperornorton ·

    I'm a little disappointed that albums haven't been restored. I have some photos that I uploaded a couple of weeks ago that still don't have albums. I would have thought that this would have been one of the first features activated. Sorry for the grouchiness, but that is how it is.

  32. _pennylane
    _pennylane ·

    Personally, I don't really get along with the new site... Unfortunately I only have a small laptop with a tiny screen and the photos are much too big for my screen now. I can't see one photo on one page but have to keep scrolling up and down, but when I scroll up, the page switches back to the overview-page. I wish there was an option where I could choose how big I want the pictures to be shown, just like it used to be on the old site.
    Also I don't really know where I can find my friends-list?
    Another problem of mine is, that I uploaded some 'invisible' photos before the new site launched. I don't get how to set them visible for the community now? Plus, I miss that I can't set the datum of my photos.

  33. schlogoat
    schlogoat ·

    I too am desperate for the albums feature to be back and tought it would be a priority. In general though it looks great.

  34. lomaugustry
    lomaugustry ·

    Ditto on albums. Ik you are working on it thanks for putting up with us btw. I really hope albums will show up in a few days.

  35. alyssa_apollo
    alyssa_apollo ·

    Thank you for answer @recurving. What is really frustrating that when I see photo of my friend, and click "like and next" it moves to other person's photo, not for the next photo in the same album. Please fix it :)

  36. recurving
    recurving ·

    @emperornorton and @schlogoat: the albums are our top priority right now!

  37. recurving
    recurving ·

    @u-t-e: the albums now show more photos (and a bit bigger). We are still experimenting with the right amount and size, but please see here: www.lomography.tw/homes/recurving/albums/1613435-east-and-w…

  38. dannykeighobadi
    dannykeighobadi ·

    @recurving when will the album sorting be rolling out?

  39. dermanu
    dermanu ·

    I've had the same Thing like @_pennylane, every time I am on a single Foto page and I scroll up, the IE Switches back to the photo overview page.

  40. recurving
    recurving ·

    @dannykeighobadi: we are working hard on it and try to finalize everything within the next days. I will for sure update here as soon as it is ready to test/use.
    @dermanu: are you scrolling up with the keyboard? We have the following keyboard commands: left goes to previous photos, right goes to next and up goes back to the overview page. Maybe this is the reason.

  41. saidseni
    saidseni ·

    I don't have the time at the moment to keep in track with everything new in the site so I'm sorry if this has already been answered. Where are my articles?

  42. recurving
    recurving ·

    @saidseni: you can find them here www.lomography.tw/homes/saidseni/articles – but still have to only show the ones in the current language (sorry for that).

  43. trash-gordon-from-outer-space
    trash-gordon-from-outer-space ·

    I agree with _pennylane. It would be really nice if the single photo view would always resize in a way that you can see the whole picture and the tags etc. below it without having to scroll. For now this works fine on my big screen at work but not on my small screen at home. I don't know if thats possible, though. The current photo size in the albums looks good in my opinion.

  44. recurving
    recurving ·

    @trash-gordon-from-outer-space and @_pennylane: right now we the photo will be shown to fit the available screen width (with a minimum required width of the photo). We can also include the tags, but mostly the photo itself is important to us – if somebody wants to see more infos they will scroll for sure.

  45. trash-gordon-from-outer-space
    trash-gordon-from-outer-space ·

    i see your point. having large photos is nice. but for me part of the expierience on lomography is clicking through many many photos in a row. which is really easy by clicking on "L".That's great. Very fast and convenient. But without scrolling you can't even tell who took the photo now. You just browse through a stream of anonymous photos. at least on a smaller screen that is.

  46. recurving
    recurving ·

    @trash-gordon-from-outer-space: also understood. We have to find a good balance here and might look into different ways to browser on larger screens (with keyboard) and smaller ones.

  47. trash-gordon-from-outer-space
    trash-gordon-from-outer-space ·

    yeah not an easy task with all the different proportions. Vertical horizon panoramas would have to become really small ... I see. maybe showing basic information (photographer, camera, place) somwhere else would be an option?! I don't know.

  48. alexkon
    alexkon ·

    New website easier for a small tablet. Thank you!

  49. inkybrown
    inkybrown ·

    When all gets sorted out will you be able to add a city and state (location) and date to the photos as before? I don't see this option now. Also, what happened to the clarification of whether the photo is digital or not? Mine are all film and I am proud of that, the new uploader doesn't ask. My main frustration is that the change created new URLs for all my photos so I had to do a lot of editing on my website.

  50. recurving
    recurving ·

    @inkybrown: all the location data will come back, also the digital filter. What new URLs were created? We left the photo and album URLs untouched and while the magazine URLs changed we set up redirects for those.

  51. recurving
    recurving ·

    Hey all – we just do some last bugfixes, but I think we are ready to roll out the photo and album organization on Monday!

  52. schlogoat
    schlogoat ·

    Excellent. I have so many albums ready to go!

  53. emperornorton
    emperornorton ·

    Glad to hear about the album debut, @recurving.

    One thing I have always wanted is the ability to unlike photos that I have accidentally liked. Maybe put a fifteen minute time limit to prevent maliciousness.

  54. emperornorton
    emperornorton ·

    What you need is an app to process the website properly for the smart phones while allowing a different look for the web-based version. The idea of trying to make one site fits all just doesn't strike me as practicable. Many of us use you from the web and frankly the look doesn't work for us as well as the old version did.

  55. koduckgirl
    koduckgirl ·

    Monday u say for albums!? Well hot damn @recurving that would make christmas in March hopefully it will go smoothly cheers and thanx for dealling with the complaints

  56. clickiemcpete
    clickiemcpete ·

    Thank you for the hard work everyone! I can imagine this is a mammoth undertaking. The site has been improving steadily and I think you are on the right track. Thank you for working on getting albums back and improving the feed functions. Hope we will get back to smooth sailing soon....will we be getting lomohome reports via email again?

  57. inkybrown
    inkybrown ·

    @recurving The urls were similar for my photos, but IIRC I had to remove /photo/ or something like that from all of them.

  58. alienmeatsack
    alienmeatsack ·

    Thanks for your hard work everyone. And for everyone who's been patient.

  59. alienmeatsack
    alienmeatsack ·

    Could you possibly accent the lomographer's name in places like this article's writer credit and the comments? That line all running together makes me feel old. :D

  60. stacy_mcpommes
    stacy_mcpommes ·

    What I am missing right now is, when looking at a single picture (e.g. a shouted one or one I've found in an article), the link to the album containing this picture is missing... I know the recently uploaded pics haven't been sorted into albums yet, but it's also missing with older pics. Will this be coming back? I always liked to take a look at the whole album when I stumbled upon a photo I liked...

  61. recurving
    recurving ·

    @stacy_mcpommes: added it again!

  62. stacy_mcpommes
    stacy_mcpommes ·

    yay, thanks @recurving!

  63. koduckgirl
    koduckgirl ·

    Albums look cool ... So Far... We still need the number sequence at the top because it is discouraging to look thru someones album if you don't know if you are there for 12 pictures or 112 pictures(some people have albums that big!) but I am excited to make albums

  64. koduckgirl
    koduckgirl ·

    On a new things at the new site note...i like the overview button especially when in an album

  65. koduckgirl
    koduckgirl ·

    So you can do everything in the editing area with the photos on an iPad except make albums and that has to be done in a seperate window and you can't just select photos and make an album!!! not happy Not happy & actually I can't figure iut how to make an album!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  66. koduckgirl
    koduckgirl ·

    @recurving I know how to make an album with newly uploading photos there is a drop down menu that allows for creating a new album and that is great but what about photos that are already uploaded??!?

  67. koduckgirl
    koduckgirl ·

    Ok I figured it out sorry i was such a crybaby it was easier than I thght😳😝

  68. recurving
    recurving ·

    @koduckgirl: so it is working now? Also on iPad for you?

  69. u-t-e
    u-t-e ·

    @recurving: Thank you for bringing back the all-new album feature! Will it be possible to tag one album at once in its entirety one day?

    And a more general question about the lomohome: When I look at the "starting page" of my lomohome, I automatically see the "popular photos". Will I be able to set it differently so that I can choose to show the "recent photos" or the "trending photos" instead? Or will that be the part where we can build walls, anyway?

    Again: I'm lovin' it more every day! Thank you!

  70. _pennylane
    _pennylane ·

    I have the same question like u-t-e. I noticed that on some lomohomes the 'recent photos' where shown, and I wondered if there was an option to choose between recent or popular photos.
    Also, do you know if there's any chance that the photos could be shown a little smaller. It's such a pain to scroll up and down everytime I want to look at photos...

  71. emperornorton
    emperornorton ·

    OK, I am thoroughly confused by the new album setup. I have created an album, marked photos, but none of them are in the album. How are they supposed to get there?

  72. emperornorton
    emperornorton ·

    OK, I figured it out, but it was not at all clear that you dragged the photos to the gray box at the top. Maybe you could put a label in the box? And you should be able to add photos once you have created the album. I accidentally left some out and I had to delete the album and start all over. And, please, allow us to select a range of photos using the shift key. Clicking them one by one means that one can miss a few.

  73. emperornorton
    emperornorton ·

    Final kvetch: I wanted to select a different key photo for the album. If there is a way to do this, it is not clear.

  74. recurving
    recurving ·

    @emperornorton: you can still add photos once you've created the album, just reopen the album under www.lomography.tw/my/albums. And you can select a range of photos while holding the shift key, so can you please try this again? The key photo is the first photo for now, but we will continue working on this.

  75. koduckgirl
    koduckgirl ·

    Hey so I noticed the album number sequence is back! That is great news!

  76. recurving
    recurving ·

    @koduckgirl: ah, forgot to mention this :) Yes, we brought that back!

  77. jacobs
    jacobs ·

    thanks for the update @recurving! btw was totally jazzed to see the return of the "mark as read" button.

  78. koduckgirl
    koduckgirl ·

    So not sure if this is a problem for others but the "mark as read" button does not make the notifications look less notified so it is a bit pointless right now as it is. In other words, I can't tell the difference between the new notifications and the marked as read notifications so how can that be fixed??!

  79. recurving
    recurving ·

    @koduckgirl: now you should be able to tell the difference.

  80. koduckgirl
    koduckgirl ·

    Oh yay looks super great everything

  81. koduckgirl
    koduckgirl ·

    @recurving see above comment. Another suggestion: i said before that on a mobile device it would be great to have a blue button for "like and next" just like the "like" button and you said it was too big for above the photo...what if it was next to the blue "like" button? As it is I am scrolling down hitting the "like" button and then scrolling up and hitting the "next" unless I am on a keyboard then I do L and arrow but I can't always use my hubby's computer

  82. sirio174
    sirio174 ·

    In each homepage, you can see only the "most trending photos". And you need to make many clicks to reach the recent photos. Add a link near "most trending" to reach quickly "recent" photos

  83. inkybrown
    inkybrown ·

    I noticed you added back the ability to put the city and camera and film type when editing photos, but I'm still missing the date field. Are you working on that? thx

  84. recurving
    recurving ·

    @sirio174: every user from now on can decide what to show on the cover of their home: www.lomography.tw/my/settings. @pan_dre will write an article on all the recent changes soon.

  85. u-t-e
    u-t-e ·

    @recurving: Yesssssss!!! Sweet! Thank you!

  86. recurving
    recurving ·

    @u-t-e: thanks for the idea. And we will add more things here (showing one specific album, a wall, …)

  87. recurving
    recurving ·

    I case you miss the "Like and Next" button – we've just moved it next to the "Like" button. You can still like by pressing lowercase L (and it will jump to the next photo). That way the hit area is a bit bigger and there is less confusion.

  88. koduckgirl
    koduckgirl ·

    @recurving the blue like and next works like a charm you and your lil team rock of course

  89. recurving
    recurving ·

    @koduckgirl: awesome!

  90. recurving
    recurving ·

    There are even more changes to likes, read all about it here: www.lomography.tw/magazine/309398-an-even-easier-way-to-lik…

  91. koduckgirl
    koduckgirl ·

    Love the lil hearts I am totally power using that method😍👍

  92. emperornorton
    emperornorton ·

    @recurving I just checked photo selection. Holding down the shift key lets you select the first and the last photos you clicked on, but nothing in between those photos. This is what I mean.

  93. emperornorton
    emperornorton ·

    @recurving OK, here is the problem. The shift select only works on Internet Explorer. I have also checked it on Firefox and Chrome and no go on either. Could check Opera if you wish, too.

  94. ralph_nyman
    ralph_nyman ·

    First of all - now your new homepage is much more easier to use and userfriendly.
    Question - I´m a new Lomography user. I have succeeded to add some photos to my ccount. What to do, so the Community sees my uploads
    Regards
    Ralph

  95. emperornorton
    emperornorton ·

    @recurving One more feature that I would like to see: a changeable status on my home. The old Lomography took the statuses and lost them very quickly so few people saw them. What I would like to see is a status that sticks to my home until I decide to change it. This would be nice for stuff like announcing that I am taking a trip to Senegal or visiting Paris and looking to connect with lomographers there.

  96. brazilianmod
    brazilianmod ·

    @recurving Hello! I'd like to say that I'm just loving the news! But, as a user from Brazil, I'd like to see an integration between the pages of lomography.com and lomography.com.br. A easier way to find the home page of lomo society in my country. And vice-versa. Is that possible?

    Cheers from Brazil!

  97. tattso
    tattso ·

    @recurving beautiful photo.

  98. digitaljunk
    digitaljunk ·

    @recurving Thanks for this article and the new website looks great. When you get around to it, is it possible to reinstate the worldwide photo lab directory please?? It's a really useful resource. www.lomography.tw/more/photolabs

  99. recurving
    recurving ·

    @digitaljunk: yes, this will come back, we just wanna make sure it is easy to add/edit information there!

  100. recurving
    recurving ·

    @tattso :) thanks!

  101. mtsteve
    mtsteve ·

    @recurving Thanks for all of your hard work! It's def paid off!

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