Site Info

Want to create your own site for your RV project?  I've had a number of questions about how I manage my website, so I decided to write up this description.  All of the software you need is available for free (either open source or stuff I wrote myself), so you don't need to spend any money if you already have a domain.  All of the software that I wrote only works on the Mac platform, so if you run Windows, you're on your own (and have my condolences).  Total setup shouldn't take more than a couple of hours, but it will definitely require some technical knowledge.  Unfortunately, I can't provide technical assistance in helping you set up this software on your own site, but if you do manage to successfully set it up and find any incorrect info in these instructions, please let me know and I'll update them.

Hosting

First up, you'll need to have a domain (e.g. jasonbeaver.com) that you can host somewhere.  Most hosting companies can take care of domain registration for you.  I have my domain hosted at http://1and1.com which offers huge amounts of storage for about $12/mo.

Website Software

Next up, you'll need some software that actually manages the site.  I use MovableType (http://movabletype.org/).  There are tons of custom templates available on sites around the net that can change the look and feel of the site.  Follow the directions in the MovableType installation instructions to get it installed at your site.  Once you have the site set up, creating entries can all be done over the web.  The only thing missing at this point is a way to attach pictures.  You can certainly manually upload them and then link to them from the blog, but this is tedious and I knew I'd get behind if the process of updating the site were more than a few minutes per night.  To solve that, I wrote some software that runs locally to automatically create entries.

Local Software

There are several pieces of software that you'll need to install and configure on your Mac.  The primary piece of software is an Automator script that automatically pulls the pictures off the camera, scales them to three sizes (only the smaller two of which are linked on the site).  For example:


It then uploads all three sizes to the website and automatically creates a new blog entry with placeholder captions for each photo.  The automator script can be downloaded here:


Unzip this and install it as an Image Capture plugin (google for how to do this).  Then set up Image Capture to automatically run this script when your camera is plugged in.

The Automator script calls out to a couple of scripts that I also wrote that will need to be customized with your domain as well as your username/password. These are available here:


The second download needs to be unpacked, modified, then built with Xcode (downloadable from http://developer.apple.com/).

The final thing that is required is a copy of ExifTool (http://www.sno.phy.queensu.ca/~phil/exiftool/) for extracting the date from photos.

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