2018-06-16 Busted Web Pages

The notes about my previous bad experiences don’t apply anymore. As if July 2019, I’m finally seeing the materialization of my vision.

It has been a challenge to find a web platform that will let me display my images in a way I feel is meaningful. By that I mean the images are accompanied by descriptions that put the subject in context. Behind the scenes I spend significant time and energy embedding information as metadata including geotagged location, scientific names, comments, as well as copyright and the information the camera embeds. Getting all that information in front of the web viewer has been elusive. I’ve had to settle and compromise my vision.

Ultimately, I settled on a WordPress platform, which allows me to change the look and feel by adding and configuring “themes” and “plugins”. I started building the current site in 2015 based on an image display plugin called NextGEN. The core of images are bird images displayed in a about 500 pages under a main heading of “Birds I Have Known”. I built the pages by organizing the birds into “pseudo-families”, and “species” pages that allow images to display in a “lightbox” that allows several viewer selectable option, but I can display the species name (title) and the location information (comment) under the image.

I finished building the species and family pages within a few months and hadn’t looked closely at most of them for a long time. Recently I looked at ways to speed up the site and clean out some plugins that might be causing sluggish performance. As I looked into performance issues I tried loading some old bird gallery pages and found they would fail to display the lightbox and leaving me on a screen that looked like the image above.

I paid my web host to “fix” the problem and help me with the various slow down bottlenecks. The new galleries worked correctly, but the old ones did not. Ultimately it was found that the NextGEN plugin radically changed the code generation around December 2016, that tells the browser to bring the images into the lightbox. By re-editing the effected pages I was able to get the lightbox working correctly. The only problem was I had to do this for over 600 pages [thank you very much NextGEN team].

It’s been a little more than a week since I started making the required page edits, interrupted by server hiccups and work on the house I’m preparing to sell, but I believe I’ve finally squashed the last bugs. Should anyone encounter the above menacing image while trying to review my images, try purging your browser cache and retry. Failing this, please let me know what page is causing this error.