This post is the first in a series of interviews with TypePad engineers describing the new features in TypePad, how to use them, and what motivated us to develop these features. Many of these features were developed as part of our recent Scratchathon.
Nick O'Neill on the new TypePad feature that allows you to choose which Photo Albums to display in your sidebar.
Q: What do you do at Six Apart?
A: I've been working in interface engineering on TypePad and I think the favorite part of my job is getting to work with such brilliant people. I get to learn new things about all different sides of TypePad and Movable Type almost daily.
Q: What feature did you develop for the scratch-a-thon?
A: Choosing which photo albums to display in your sidebar.
Q: How do you select which photo albums to display in your sidebar?
A: Adding a single photo album to your weblog sidebar is a pretty simple task. Just follow these steps:
- Choose the weblog in which you want the album to be displayed and click on the Design tab.
- Make your way down the screen to Your Content and click the Change Content Selections link.
- Once you're on the content page you'll see a little orange NEWs. Along the right-most list you'll see the Your Photo Albums section (below your TypeLists and Feeds) and a list of all the photo albums you have. Check the boxes next to which photo albums you want to display in your sidebar, keeping in mind that you'll see a warning if you attempt to add a photo album marked as private to a public weblog.
- Click Save Changes when you're done adding photo albums. You'll be sent back to the main Design page for your weblog.
- You can now choose to order the photo albums on your sidebar as long as you are using a non-mixed media layout. If you view your weblog now (no rebuild necessary if you've only changed your content selections), you'll notice that photo albums without descriptions have a more prominent display as well.
Q: What motivated you to build this feature?
A: When we first decided to have a day to work on the little things that bothered us or features that we wanted in TypePad, I was sure that I could find something to work on. Before working at Six Apart I had been part of the TypePad Beta and I recall thinking about all the things that I wanted to add during that period. Un/Fortunately, we've already added a ton of features that I'm sure I requested more than once during the beta. Custom CSS, more layouts and themes, a file manager and the last real feature that I could remember wanting - Notes TypeLists - had been claimed by one of the other engineers. The day before we were going to work on all these little projects Ben stopped by my desk to ask me what I was going to work on and I told him that I hadn't been able to think of anything that I felt really strongly about – yet. Ben suggested adding individual photo albums to the sidebar. It was the most obvious choice for me. How could I have forgotten about it? Previously, you could only add your entire list of photo albums to the sidebar and private photo albums aren't included in that list. So there was no simple way to add a link to a private photo album even if your weblog was marked as private!
The rest, as they say, is history. Individual photo albums can now be added to your sidebar.