Sunday, February 27, 2011

Very boring blog on problems with Adobe Dreamweaver, FileZilla, Soundslides, Autoviewer

Please DO NOT read this unless you have searched for solutions to problems in building your own website. This blog is too long and boring for the casual reader.
Building a Dreamweaver website from scratch
Part 1 – General list you need to follow
1 Create folder
2 Add four folders: css, images, html, working
3 Dreamweaver: SITE > New Site > Connect > Connect to your new folder
4 Create new html template.html
5 Create CSS: File >new > blank page > css
6 link html and css page: be on template page > click on link symbol (CSS Styles Panel)  and find styles.css
7 Create css * style: NEW CSS Rule > [COMPOUND] [*]
8 create wrapper (typically 960 wide or 650 wide): LAYOUT > insert div tag >
Add after start of tag #wrapper // add after end of tag #mainbox etc
Now there is obviously much more to Dreamweaver than the above – but this is not a how to article. This guide aims to simplify the problems I cam up against when creating, adding flash and uploading my website.
Some of the problems were complicated, some were simple – but, at the time, all were incredibly frustrating.
Part 2 – Adding a Soundslides show
Soundslides is a paid-for program written by a photojournalist I use to add music or audio to a set of images.
To add a Soundslides show onto Dreamweaver do not use the Insert > media >SWF button. It does not work.
You don’t need to convert your Soundslides show into an avi movie.
Set the size of show you require within the Soundslides program (and remove titles/captions to your preference).
Simply create it as usual, then copy the folder (which includes _notes/custom/full_screen folders and all other files into a Soundslides file in your Dreamweaver web page directory.
Then drag the Soundslides shockwave flash file onto the page where you want your slideshow to appear.
The slideshow should now work.
On your Dreamweaver page, set the height and width of your box to ensure the Soundslides show will fit inside it.
If, on testing it, the Soundslides show buffers quickly (and by that I mean it does not run smoothly) then something has gone wrong. Create the show again. This has happened on a few of my shows but I’m not sure why – possibly I exported before Soundslides had finished saving any new changes I had just made.
Part 3 – Adding an AutoViewer slideshow to Dreamweaver (these notes should be applicable to similar sister slideshows like SimpleViewer). AutoViewer is free, or paid-for with increased flexibility.
Make sure you have Adobe Flash
Download AutoViewer script into Adobe Photoshop.
Warning: The newest version – Photoshop CS4/CS5 - for of this did not work on my Photoshop CS4 system.
I had to download the earlier CS3 version. There is no apparent reason for the CS4/CS5 script not to work.
Use the script (FILE > scripts > autoviewer)
Set source folder (where your images are) and destination folder (where you would like the converted files to appear). I created a new folder for this.
Copy converted image files to Pages>images folder in your Dreamweaver website folder. They must be in a folder called images inside the pages folder for the slideshow to work.
NOTE: Never copy the index.html file – it will copy over your own index.html homepage.
Rename the gallery file as gallery_XXXX (XXX denotes whatever you want to name your new AutoViewer show). Copy this renamed file into the pages folder.
Copy the following html text into web page where you want AutoViewer show to appear:
<script type="text/javascript" src="swfobject.js"></script>
<div id="flashcontent">
 <script type="text/javascript" src="swfobject.js"></script>
<div id="flashcontent">AutoViewer requires JavaScript and the Flash Player.
Get Flash.</div>
<script type="text/javascript">
var fo = new SWFObject("autoviewer.swf", "viewer", "100%", "532", "8", "#FFFFFF");
fo.addVariable("xmlURL", "gallery_XXXX.xml");
NOTE: To make the AutoViewer go the full width of the webpage, I have changed the value in the var fo = line to “100%”
Change the gallery.html line to gallery_XXXX.html (the name of your new gallery file which you have copied into the pages folder) – this will link it to the right images.
NOTE: The source code you can get from the AutoViewer website does not include the extra line I’ve added here before the f0.write  This line you have to get from elsewhere on the site (or you can cut and paste the whole of the script I have provided here).
To change the following:
removing PLAY button or ARROW buttons
changing background colours,
brightness of images either side of central images in the slideshow:
These changes will affect every slideshow on the website as each AutoViewer slideshow uses the same swf source file.
NOTE: If you change the width/height of the slideshow in this code, it will only affect this one slideshow on this particular page.
In your AutoViewer folder (which you have downloaded) go to source > \source\com\airtightinteractive\apps\viewers\autoviewer\Options.
Save and then republish the SWF file – by opening source/autoviewer.fla in Adobe flash and FILE > Publish.
Copy this new autoviewer.swf file (which you will find in the AutoViewer web folder into the pages folder of your Dreamweaver site.
Part 4 – Uploading to your completed website to Dreamwaver
I used FileZilla.
Biggest problem here was the all the page files need to go directly into the wwwroot directory (if they are in a folder on the wwwroot directory your website will not work).
Once uploaded, you must manually, in FileZilla or Dreamweaver, move everything in the pages into the wwwroot folder. But you will also have to move the images in the pages > Images  folder into the images folder (as these images have to be in the fodler directly next to the html pages themselves.
Another note of caution: If you then upload new or amended pages through Dreamweaver they may go directly into the pages folder. You will then have to drag them out of there and into the wwwroot folder.
I have been dragging any updated html files in FileZilla – but this does not work unless you delete the html file you are replacing first (FileZilla offer the option to replace existing file for you, but this does not seem to work and updated pages are not visible when you check online).
If you add any images/logos to a page, don’t forget to copy them into the images folder in the wwwroot directory.
And finally...
Part 5 - Linking your uploaded files to your server
Nightmare this was.
It is going to change from server to server, where the name of their folders and files are not exactly the same as those in Dreamweaver.
In Dreamweaver:: SITE > mange site > select your project in the pop-up box > EDIT
Click on Testing Server (CS4):
Server model: [none]
Access: [FTP]
FTP host: [your host website login]
Host directory [/wwwroot – though this may differ for other website host companies]
Login: [your host website login]
Password: [your host website login]
URL prefix: [something like this: ftp://XXXXXX@XXXXXX/wwwroot/]
Then click on TEST
Hopefully this will now connect with your webhost.
NOTE: Getting the URL prefix was not easy. I emailed my webhosting company several times – they were no help. To be honest, I’m not sure where I actually got for the prefix from in the end – possibly SITES > Manage > unnamed server > edit. Comments here welcome.
The End.
Thanks for sticking with me. This guide is far from comprehensive - but it may just save your sanity.

England this England or the EDL march through Preston

The English Defence League bring their own brand of entertainment to Preston.

Standing outside the Jazz Bar in Preston city centre at midday was like being outside a pub on the way to a football match. Noisy, loads of booze and not pleasant smelling.

The EDL are a group formed to oppose Sharia Law and Muslim extremism. I think  it's fair to summarise their cuase as being against jihadism and not muslims in general. I have to say too often I heard the term 'muslim' used in a way that did not make me enthusiastic about their cause.

If you look at members of thr EDL you immediately think: racist football holligan. This may be wrong but in an era where image is everything, this perception is unlikely to change unless the groups fashion does.

United Against Fascism held a demonstration at the same time as the EDL march just a few hundred metres away across the city. The two groups definitely do not shop in the same department store.

The plus points were that the march seemed to take place without any trouble. I saw no violence. The police, out in force, did an excellent job.

But I did witness a change of mood in the build-up to the short march. Friendly chat and smiles were replaced why what I can best describe as hysteria, fuelled by firework bangers and smoke bombs.

Most ironic moment of the day was meeting someone who used to live in the city, a self-confessed racist, who had travelled down from Carlisle to see the march – but was refusing to take part in it as he did not want to be negatively associated with the EDL. A racist worried about his public image? Where does that leave us?

A blogger called Banjaxer came up from Manchester to experiecne the demonstartion and he makes soem excellent points.

He said: "Sadly all I witnessed today was a mob, and mob is the correct word, of mostly young men with an obvious lack of understanding of  where they live. The country they all claim so loudly to love is not the country they think it is.

"In their small world England is under threat from what they mostly referred to as ‘muslim c*nts’ or ‘paki b*st*rds’ who want to make us all follow ‘sharia laws’ and ‘blow us up to f*ck’.

"If any of them really think they have the support of anyone apart from a few poorly educated rejects from the Jeremy Kyle show with anger management issues, they are very much mistaken.

"All their best efforts at reasoned debate on the internet and elsewhere all fall apart when they get together and descend into a ranting, racist chanting, hoard of hate filled hooligans.

"They need to educate themselves a bit more about the facts of immigration and assimilation; the history of the working class in Britain and our place in the world; the failings of fascism, national socialism and oppression of minorities in European history."

His full blog can be read here

This is Preston, this is the EDL:

[vimeo 17258698 w=400 h=265]

EDL Preston November 27, 2010 from Garry Cook on Vimeo.

Buy prints, buy books, support photography

Some early designs for a campaign to encourage non-believes to by into photography.

I say this in a quite literal sense.

Photography in Britain desperately needs to be promoted in a slicker, visible and artitsic way. In this country the genre is far more unseen, unloved and under-valued than in more visual-thinking countries.

From the Japanese to the Yanks, the Germans and, of course, the culturally advanced Dutch, most other nations consume, enjoy and understand photography kore than us.

When is comes to culture, and possibly this is not confined to just photography in the British Isles, us lot are a bit behind the clock.

Buying prints or buying photography books just isn't on the radar of the vast majority of our citizens.

Whether it's for yourself or for others, the industry needs an inirtiative whichinspires people to buy photography - and does not preach only to itself.

There is a growing interet in the consumer part of photograpy

For my part, all my family will be the proud recipients of photo books this year. I hope the images within them will take their breath away and inspire them to look at photography more closely.


Friday, February 18, 2011 is online now

I'm very pleased to say that version one of is online.
It's taken me a month but, Designed by Garry Cook (me) and using Adobe Dreamweaver, I can confirm that building your own website is every bit as frustrating as you might have imagined.
Dreamweaver is Adobe's misnamed web design program. At times it is a nightmare.
I always knew it would happen. Design a page, find a problem, not be able to fix it. Try several remedies. Fail. Delete the page bit by bit. Hope the same error does not recur.
To be fair to Adobe, building a website is a complicated process and no program can make it pain free. Plus, some of the brick walls I hit were not of Adobe’s building.
Inserting flash slideshows (AutoViewer and Soundslides) is sadly not as easy as clicking on insert > flash. The processing involved in getting your images to a point where they are ready to be embedded into Dreamweaver and then actually doing the embedding correctly is horrendous.
I spent many, many hours attempting to overcome seemingly unfixable hurdles before finally finding a workflow that worked. Guides to inserting AutoViewer and Soundslides into Dreamweaver are coming soon.
There are mistakes in it, some links might not work. Let me know if you spot any errors.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Liverpool Look2011 International Photography Festival

Liverpool skyline from Everton Park
Look2011 is Liverpool’s International Photography Festival
While areas of Merseyside remain as rundown and neglected as their popular stereotypification, the city centre has undergone a remarkable transformation.

If you visited Liverpool a decade ago you probably would not recognise much of the city today. Part of its rejuvenation has come through the installation of a long-running cultural programme.

The highlight of this initiative was the European City of Culture year in 2008 – but that was just one strand of arts events that have taken place in the city.

And Look2011 is part of this aim to keep Liverpool at the forefront of the art and culture in Britain. Certainly in the northwest, think arts, think Liverpool. To that end the aim has succeeded, where Liverpool is streets ahead of traditional rivals Manchester.

As a member of Lightbox, a Redeye group of photographers formed in 2010, my work will form part of a group exhibition exploring the festival’s themes of A Call To Action and Is Seeing Believing?
Meeting monthly in a fairly luxurious pub, the group is headed by publisher world-renowned publisher Dewi Lewis and includes photographers whose past work include stolen shots of people sunbathing and images of found abandoned vehicles. It’s a diverse mix and one which we hope will produce an eye-catching end result.

For my own project I hope to follow some locals for a few days, documenting their lives from work and home to weekend partying – the lifestyles for which Scouse women are famous for.

First, of course, I need to find three or four women willing to be photographed as they enjoy themselves in the city of culture.

Look 2011 runs from May 13 to June 26, though many of the major exhibitions run for longer.

The Liver Building