Last year, as we were ramping up our technology team (now at a healthy six developers), I promised an image library by the first quarter of 2012.
Well, that deadline slipped, by a little bit. Not only was this project more complex than anticipated, but there were always fires the developers needed to put out (unsexy but critical infrastructure needs, like security).
Site editors have had the feature for about three weeks now, and we've been doing our own internal beta. It's now solid enough that we're ready to introduce it to wider usage.
So here's the deal: Site subscribers now have access to the image uploader and photo library.
The video above shows how the feature works. Kaili has also written up a tutorial here. But credit to the development team, the feature is so easy you don't need any directions to use. Seriously, click around and experiment with it. It's brilliant.
The uploader allows you to queue images to post on your diaries (but remember to only upload images if you have rights to them). That's convenient enough. But what makes this tool so fun is that you can share your images (as long as you have rights to them!) with the rest of the community.
All those images you see posted on the front page? They're available for your own diaries. So you write about what a doofus Mitt Romney is, you can go to the image library, search for "Romney", and have your pick of dozens of Romney pictures. If you take pictures you want available to the community, upload them and select the appropriate license. That way other people can find and use them for their own diaries.
Originally, we planned on making this feature available only to subscribers. But we've edited those plans thusly:
Right now, only subscribers will have access to the feature. But once we're sure all bugs are eliminated, we will make the image uploader available to everyone. So everyone will be able to easily illustrate their diaries with images.
However, the image library -- the ability to use images uploaded by other users for community use -- will remain a subscriber-only feature.
The development team has a bunch of new and exciting features in the works. We've got new activism tools en route, a revamped diary publishing tool, a drastically improved registration process, and other things too numerous to list.
But for now, I'm happy to celebrate an image tool that has been manna from heaven for the editorial team, allowing us to quickly and easily illustrate our posts with almost zero hassle. I'm sure you guys will love it as much as we do.
And if you're not a subscriber, it's never a bad time to subscribe.