divShare plugin for WordPress and WPMu

Recently I have been corresponding with Mario A. Núñez Molina, a professor at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus, who has been also working on integrating a WPMu blogging solution (RUM Edublogs) for the College of Arts and Sciences. He is also blogging the process, so it looks like I have yet another person to share with and learn from. He is trying to get BDP RSS to play nice with his WPMu install (which is the same version as the ELS Blogs and was the spark that initiated our relationship), and as usual I have offered him little in the way of technical support – lo siento, Mario. I am much better at moral support, but I will continue to search for some answers as to why the plugin is borking for that install while working fine for ours -very strange. In the mean time, as is often the case these days, he has turned me on to a really interesting plugin call divShare uploader that may very well change the game for uploading and managing uploaded files for WPMu, or any WordPress installation for that matter. many thanks to Mario for giving far more than he has received!

So what is divShare? Well, it’s not really a plugin per se, rather a free online file uploading and storage service that integrates directly into the upload field of a WordPress blog’s backend (see figure 1 below). It works seamlessly with WPMu as well, and the way to integrate it is relatively simple. Sign up for a free account at divShare ; download the WP plugin and install & activate it; finally, get your divShare Uploader Key from your divShare account settings and enter it where appropriate -you’re then ready to roll.

Figure 1: divShare upload field embedded within a WP blog


According to their site you can upload up to 200 MB of files at any given time, and I have seen no discussion of limits for how much space you can use up. It appears that divShare is offering unlimited storage and access to the files you upload to their service, but I am not 100% certain on this point. Here is their website copy:

DivShare is a new type of web host. We’re all about freedom and simplicity. Upload your videos, photos and other files, and we’ll host them forever, for free. You can embed your files anywhere, and co-brand your download pages. How? We’re ad-supported, but fear not, we’ll never invade you with obnoxious or offensive ads. Signing up takes about 15 seconds.

So while the verdict is still out whether or not they can host everything you upload for ever (how can anyone ever prove this true or not?), the interface and integration with WordPress is extremely impressive and has me quite excited for using such a program to enable students and professors alike to manage their web-based materials online in an simple, organized, and distributed manner. I particularly like that divShare offers an alternative to the WP uploading system, for while a fanboy, we were just discussing at DTLT last week with Steve Greenlaw just how
unintuitive and poorly configured the WP uploading logic can be for someone who is not intimately familiar with the backend. For example, why can’t users upload files using the “Uploads” tab in the manage section of the backend? Seems logical, right? Certainly a space for potential confusion.

Figure 2: divShare Upload complete message

Figure 3: divShare “My Files” Tab

But I digress. What I like most about divShare is that it is simple, allows users to organize their uploads with the option for password protected folders, while also allowing for easy insertion of text files, images (creating multiple sizes for easy insertion into blog posts), and video (providing conversion to FLV on upload, a built in player, as well as a static URL and embed code much like YouTube -wow- how ’bout them apples Andy?). It is a dead simple interface that delivers everything the open source Coppermine media gallery promised last year when we were experimenting with that app. The only difference is we don’t have to host it, it is free as in beer, and a million times easier to work with!

Figure 4: divShare site interface

Figure 5:

Figure 6: Drag and Drop uploading interface:

In short ;), here is an excellent solution for a university hosted WPMu installation that gives the faculty and students the power to control and integrate their own text files, multimedia, images, etc. that we don’t have to worry about managing, i.e. losing, their files nor be over concerned with file size and storage space. This service offers much the same in the way of hosting videos on YouTube or images on Flickr, though I don’t dare to pretend it replaces the power of either of these sites by a long shot. What it does provide, however, is a centralized services for uploading and inserting videos, images, and miscellaneous files into a WordPress blog, while at the same time offering more sophisticated file management. I certainly wouldn’t want all the videos and images I have on this blog to be a part of my Flickr or YouTube accounts -for these space are increasingly becoming an extended part of my approach to presenting my work online. The images in this post, for example, would simply clutter my flickr account which I am imagining as a space for sharing learning resources not collecting random, decontextualized screen shots.

Looks like the Content Management features of WordPress are strongly rooted in the small pieces loosely joined philosophy of the plugins community -this feature is not part of the WP system, but integrated cleanly enough so that you don’t notice the difference. What’s more you can use this service across several WP installations, and you can really liberate yourself from the idea of getting information out of WPMu, it is never uploaded directly to WPMu so we don’t ever have to concern ourselves with transferring their data from one blog to another -it is always already in their possession and under their management.

An quick example of a video embed from divShare is below, you can see examples of the images above -just click on one for a bigger image and a little google ads action:

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22 Responses to divShare plugin for WordPress and WPMu

  1. Mario says:

    Hello Jim;

    Thanks for this excellent review of the DivShare App for WP. I think it is the best way to upload files in a WPMU installation.

    Lets keep sharing ideas and resources. The moral support is more important than the technical one.

    My deepest gratitute,

    Mario

  2. Andy Rush says:

    Apples? I like apples. I haven’t had success with it, at least on the Edublogs site. It could certainly be something I’m doing wrong, but other things have worked better. If you, Reverend, can get it working it seems like a good system. Go man, go!

    Andy

  3. jimgroom says:

    @Mario -thanks for the tip and thanks for the comment. More to come from both of us I’m sure.

    @Andy- Success? Does edublogs offer the divShare service as a plugin as well? If so, how was it not working for you? can you be more specific? Also, one plugin that does bork the divService integration that I know of is TanTan’s Flickr Photo Album. An awesome plugin I am using fro bavarchive, but they also use the upload field of the write post/page space to allow for uploading flickr images, seems like the two plugins are fighting for the same property.

  4. Andy Rush says:

    I have divshare activated and it allows me to view files and offers to add the media to the post (it specifies that I need to turn off the rich text editor). However, when I do try to add it, the code appears, but it doesn’t work after the post, and it acts like the code was never added in the first place (it doesn’t exist when you go back to edit). I also have the Flickr Photo Album active. I’ll try again by deactivating that.

  5. Andy Rush says:

    Oh yeah! Go Jim! It’s your Birthday!!! Success! But, it wasn’t the Flickr plugin that was borking it, which is terrific. Jim worked some magic with allowing embeds in WPMU (i.e. a hack!) and it’s working. Reverend, spread the news to the flock!

  6. Jim says:

    Why, thank you Andy. And for all you WPMu kids out there who want to allow the embedding of audio and video files in WPMU -see this hack on the forums. Blogging your work proves ever so useful at moments like this…

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  15. Jax says:

    My apologies if you’ve explained this before, but what plugin are you using for the “share this” feature, located at the bottom of this post. Cheers.

    btw this review is great. What do you think of the Box.net plugin? I understand WordPress.com have integrated it via widgets.

    I don’t use WPMU version but a custom installation of WP.

  16. jimgroom says:

    Hey Jax,

    The Share This plugin is a Alex King production, and you can kind it here. Haven;t tried Box.net plugin, but I will now given your recommendation. Thanks for sharing! I find that most plugins that work for a single wordpress isntall (what this site is using) work for WPMu with a few exceptions (like WordTube, PodPress, etc. because they depend on a particular file structure that is a bit more difficult to reproduce in WPMu).

  17. Jax says:

    Thanks for the link Jim. Here is some some info about the Box.net plugin from wordpress.com. I’ve seen it utilise on one site for downloads, and I can say it’s really neat!

    Any chance of a review on it from you?

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  20. Joni says:

    I have a testbed of WPMU up running semiologic, but my problem is that I can’t get separate headers for each different blog to save my neck. Would this plugin solve that?

    I’ll be happy to pay for any consultation required for this issue; time is money after all! 🙂

  21. jimgroom says:

    @Jax -Sorry I didn’t sign-up for box.net -but it is a paid service and I’m broke. I know the first two weeks is free, but one danger of making someone sign-up for a service with the promise of a free trial is that they get wary about giving any payment information out for something they are not sure of. I guess the models like Flickr make more sense, because if you like the service and want more, then you give them money -not a tentative promise beforehand.

    @Joni: This is a good question. Right now, Semiologic is looking for the folder header in the wp-content directory. This is one folder for one Wp install, a radically different logic then WPMu. There is a hack around for this I used for K2 which allowed each user to store their own image in their specific directory. I’ll see if I can locate it, given I’m a hack in many regards consulting may be dangerous for me 🙂 Though I’ll gladly help you out if I can, for when I help someone else, I’m usually solving n issue I have put off indefinitely.

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