Thumbnail support for Wiki

Mary Sue Ittner
Sun, 21 Jan 2007 08:31:36 PST

Changing over to thumbnails involves changing every single photo url.  Our 
wiki has a lot of photo files. I keep a list of them. I'm not sure how many 
we have, but I'd guess there are more than 5000. I have 53 pages in word at 
a 10 font, mostly double spaced. If we take the time to type out something 
unique for each mouse over comment it will take more time. If we 
consolidate the text and add the pictures underneath as in Ammocharis which 
most of us agree is an improvement and looks better it will take even more 
time. Once we switch to thumbnails the pages take longer to load. The text 
comes up right away, but each picture file that has a thumbnail loads too. 
Before the picture files only loaded if you clicked on them. For someone 
with a dial-up connection that is going to take some time. There will be 
plenty of text to read while the files are loading for the larger pages. 
But we know it would be better to split up the pages for the larger genera 
like we have done for genera like Allium, Iris and Gladiolus. As the person 
who has done most of the splitting up of pages I can testify that is 
another very time consuming thing to do. I suspect changing all of our 
pages to thumbnails will take a very long time. It could be months, years 
before we are done. I suspect the pages that will be converted first will 
be ones that the person who is doing the work really cares about. Jay has 
already done Crinum and I've started on Calochortus. I'm still working on 
my family project and people are still adding new photos and  often need 
help. The number of people who do the maintenance work behind the scenes on 
the wiki is very small. None of us are paid for our work; we just do it 
because we want to share our passion for bulbs with others and want to have 
something we can be proud of.

Brian's comment about not knowing where to look on the wiki page to find a 
new addition is not a new one as others have shared how hard this is in the 
past. There are a couple of ways to address it. One is by clicking on diff 
at the bottom of the wiki page. It will show in green what is changed. 
Unfortunately you still have to go back to the page to search for what you 
saw was in green. The second way is if people add anchors when they add the 
text and pictures and then refer to the anchors in the url. The problem 
with this is that adds another level of complexity to the work so not all 
the people who add pictures are going to understand how to do that and we 
don't want to shift more work for the few of us who have the major burden 
of the work. I could easily put in 8 hours a day on the wiki which I don't 
have time to do. The other choice is to list the picture url, but we'd 
rather people didn't do that because those urls almost always change 
quickly when we move the file to the subdirectories and then no longer 
work. So the wrong url is archived. And we want people to look at the text. 
Perhaps Jay can figure out a way to highlight the changes, but if it meant 
that it made it more complicated to add the pictures and the text and it 
required "someone"  (meaning probably Susan or me) to make a note of what 
was new and go back later to remove the highlight, I wouldn't be in favor.

To illustrate the anchor concept, I just added some new pictures to the 
wiki of white Cyanella alba that we saw in September 2006 near 
Nieuwoudtville. Since the Cyanella page was a short page, I added the 
thumbnails at the same time. I'm not sure how long it took me to add text, 
do the thumbs, do the mouse-over, consolidate the pictures for the text, 
but I'd guess maybe 45 minutes. And this is a short page. I just went back 
to add the anchors which only took a minute or two.…
By including the anchor in my url you go directly to the place on the page 
where Cyanella alba is. In this case since it is in the beginning of the 
alphabet, it isn't really needed or a very good example since it just moves 
you down a couple of lines, but hopefully it will illustrate the point. We 
saw a number of other Cyanellas on our trip that aren't pictured on the 
wiki so when I add them, I'll anchor them and announce them with the anchors.

This note isn't meant to be defensive. We appreciate all the comments we 
get about improving the wiki and act on the ones we get if we can. I just 
wanted to explain some of the reasons why finding a good solution is a 

We probably need to come up with some criteria for knowing when a page gets 
to be too big that we need to divide it. I'm not sure what that should be, 
# of  thumbnails when there are thumbnails, lines?

Mary Sue 

More information about the pbs mailing list