2023 Site Updates

I spent the last couple weeks working to make this site better during my off hours. Here is a quick summary:

  • Improved the theme
  • Added a random photo as the background on every page.
  • Added Reagan Networks SSO with Google Auth support.
  • Added commenting for anyone logging with their Google account.
  • Added a viewer rating field to my photos.
  • Improved the site search by switching to Search API Pages.
  • Added a Picfair gallery for my photos I also have for sale on Picfair.
  • Added a "Request Print" form so if anyone wants to buy a print, they can ask for one.



At work, and on some personal projects, I've been using Bootstrap 5 a LOT. I've learned how to make better use of their utility classes, their navigation js and classes, and just in general how to use the framework. As a result I did a bunch of tweaking to make my site look better.

The random background is actually a quick little custom module I threw together. I was a little suprised I couldn't find an existing solution. I might have missed something, but it was actually faster to make a custom module that dig through searches...

I think I succeeded. Especially in making it more usable on mobile devices.

Comments and SSO

A few years ago I stopped using Disqus for comments. The advertising they inserted was not exactly good. And I wasn't fond of the tracking they do. So I dropped them.

Since then I've looked around for alterntatives that would also do a good job of handling spam. Handling spam was the whole point of using Disqus in the first place. But I never found anything self-hosted that looked like it would work. So I gave up.

Then I figured out how to use Keycloak for Single Sign On. If you haven't heard of it, Keycloak is an authentication server backed by RedHat that offers several forms of authentication.

Right now all I have set up is manual accounts for myself and family, and Google Auth. So you can log in with your Google account.

On my todo list is adding Facebook/Instagram and GitHub.

What that lets me do is enable commenting for anyone signed in via Reagan Networks SSO.

I've also enabled a couple anti spam modules.

So, if you have something to say to me in the comments, please do!

Viewer Rating

This is simple. I just installed the Drupal fivestar module, made a few configuration changes, and was done. Well, other than the annoying part of making everything line up correctly....

If I end up getting enough votes for it to matter, I'll figure out how to add a way to sort by that rating to my galleries.

Site Search

At work I created an online employee directory that used Search API to enable fuzzy searching. The thing is, I had to set up and Elasticsearch backend to get it to support that. A few months ago I was working on that again and found that they had implemented fuzzy searching in the default database backend. ES is great when you have multiple sites you want to search all at once, but it is not exactly fun to manage. So I switched the database backend and have been pleased with how it works.

I've now implemented that here. Hopefully it proves useful.

Making Money from Photos

Photography is an expensive hobby. I'm currently saving up for a Sony A7R V. If you want to choke on the cost, go look up how much outfitting yourself with one of those, and the lenses to go with it, costs.

Thus, I've tried off and on to make some extra cash with my photos. Displate, Shutterstock, and Dreamstime have all been attempted. I have yet to sell enough on any of them for them to cut me a check.

Then I found Picfair. Initially I gave up on them when I found out their anemic 50 photo limit for free accounts. But they're the only place I found that truely lets you set your own prices without also requiring a subscription.

Smugmug and Pic-Time have expensive subscriptions that only make sense if you're making a LOT of sales, and neither offer a way to see enough stats about your free account to know if you are making enough traffic to even try. Displate isn't aimed at photographers, and their approval process is terrible. And then Shutterstock and Dreamstime seem to dislike it if you upload anything similar to something you already uploaded. (That one contridicts the advice I've found online to find a niche if you want to succeed at stock photography...)

So I'm giving Picfair a real try. My plan is to upload only my best pictures, and as I hit the 50 photo limit, I'll remove older ones to make room for newer. To hopefully drive traffic to the site, I've made the Picfair gallery here on DavidReagan.net and added a button on each of my Picfair photos that will take you to them on Picfair.

The other idea I've had is letting people buy prints from me directly. Hence the Request Print form. It is actually something I wish more photographers had on their sites. I occasionally find something I'd really like, and don't have a way to get a print.


The last thing I'm hoping to do is post something every week or two. It's been a long time since I did much writing, and I really should pick it up again.

So here's to a new (ish) year!

Submitted by david.reagan on