Alpine PhotoTile for Instagram

Featured Image-Instagram

Proposed Features

Below are a number of features that have been suggested and will be implemented as soon as I find the time to do so.

  • Add titles and captions
  • Thumbnail pagination

General

The Alpine PhotoTile for Instagram is capable of retrieving photos from a particular Instagram user or tag. The photos can be linked to the your Instagram page, a specific URL, or to a Lightbox slideshow. Also, the Shortcode Generator makes it easy to insert the widget into posts without learning any of the code. This lightweight but powerful widget takes advantage of WordPress’s built in JQuery scripts to create a sleek presentation that I hope you will like.

Features

  • Display Instagram images in a sidebar, post, or page
  • Multiple styles to allow for customization
  • Lighbox feature for interactive slideshow (Fancybox, prettyBox, or ColorBox)
  • Simple instructions
  • Widget & shortcode options
  • Feed caching/storage for improved page loading

Style and Demos

Below is an example of the Alpine PhotoTile for Instagram plugin in action. The example uses the “wall” style and has the Fancybox option selected (click on an image and the Fancybox slideshow will appear).

The PhotoTile plugin includes 8 display styles: VerticalWindowsBookshelfRiftFloorWallCascade, and Gallery. (Click the links to preview the styles)

Quick Start Guide

  1. After installing the plugin on your WordPress site, make sure it is activated by logging into your admin area and going to Plugins in the left menu.
  2. Before using the plugin, you must authorize your WordPress website to access your Instagram account. This can be done by going to Settings->AlpineTile: Instagram->Add Instagram User and following the directions on the page.
  3. To add the plugin to a sidebar, go to Appearance->Widgets in the left menu.
  4. Find the rectangle labeled Alpine PhotoTile for Instagram. Click and drag the rectangle to one of the sidebar containers on the right.
  5. Once you drop the rectangle in a sidebar area, it should open to reveal a menu of options. The only required information for the plugin to work an Instagram Username. Select an available ID and click save in the right bottom corner of the menu.
  6. Open another page/window in your web browser and navigate to your WordPress site to see how the sidebar looks with the Alpine PhotoTile for Instagram included.
  7. Play around with the various styles and options to find what works best for your site.

Additional Features

Caching

Since version 1.0.1, the PhotoTile plugin has included a simple caching function that will store the results of an Instagram feed for 3 hours. This function offers a significant performance boost since during this time, only one visitor will even experience the short load delay caused by fetching and parsing an Instagram feed. The caching time can be adjusted on the plugin’s settings page.

Frequently Asked Questions

I’m having trouble adding a user and I keep getting an error message. Can you help?

There are a number of reasons that the plugin might be unable to retrieve your user information. The most common problems I have seen are due to the settings on the server that is hosting your WordPress website. To try and deal with these issues, I have created the Instagram Tool to allow you to manually retrieve the information you need and to enter it into the plugin on the bottom of the Add Instagram User page.

I’m getting the message “Instagram feed was successfully retrieved, but no photos found”. What does that mean?

This message simply means that while no distinguishable errors occurred, the plugin found your feed to be empty.

Can I insert the plugin in posts or pages? Is there a shortcode function?

Yes, you can display photos in posts or pages using what is called a shortcode. Rather than explaining how to setup the shortcode, I have created a method of generating the shortcode. Check out the Shortcode Generator on the plugin’s settings page (Settings->AlpineTile: Instagram->Shortcode Generator).

Can I insert the plugin anywhere on a page using PHP code?

Yes, using a shortcode and the WordPress function do_shortcode(), you can place the plugin anywhere on your WordPress website. The code should look something like this:

<div id="alpine">
<?php   
echo do_shortcode( '[alpine-phototile-for user="u" link="l" style="v"]' ); 
?>
</div>

If you want the plugin to conform to a certain width or height, you can edit the style of the surrounding DIV tag:

<div id="alpine" style="width:500px;height:300px">
<?php   
echo do_shortcode( '[alpine-phototile-for user="u" link="l" style="v"]' ); 
?>
</div>
Why doesn’t the widget show my most recent photos?

By default, the plugin caches or stores the Instagram feed for three hours (see Caching above). If the new photos have still not appeared after this time, it is possible that Instagram is responsible for the delay.

How many photos can I display?

The plugin can retrieve and display up to 100 photos.

Why does it take so long for the plugin to load?

The Apline PhotoTile plugin actually takes less than a second to load. The reason you may see the loading icon for several seconds is because the plugin is programmed to wait until all the images and the rest of the webpage are done loading before displaying anything. The intent is for the plugin to avoid slowing down your website by waiting patiently for everything else to finish loading. If you are still looking to speed up your website’s loading time, selecting smaller photo sizes should always help.

Can I put captions below the photos?

No, I have not yet found a good way to add captions to the images, but I am working on it.

The plugin works in display mode but when I put the shortcode in my page, nothing happens and there is no error message. What’s wrong?

A number of users have reported this problem and unfortunately I am not sure exactly what is going wrong. However, one simple fix has been to go to the plugin’s settings page  (Settings->AlpineTile: Instagram->Plugin Settings) and put a check next to the option “Always Load Styles and Scripts in Header”.