Use The Media Library Or Hand Code? have released the poll results from January when they asked their audience, How Do You Use The WordPress Media Library? Interesting results to say the least. 30% of voters stated they loved the media library and used it for all media content. Following closely behind was the occasional use for uploading and editing media. The most surprising result of all is the preferred method of hand-coding and uploading images through FTP which had a voting total of 23%. Hard to believe that percentage is so high but I have a story I’d like to tell.

When I started using WordPress and probably for a year after that, I manually uploaded my images through FTP. I manually organized them through folders and linked to them in the post editor. I even created thumbnails by hand using HTML code pasted into the editor. Upon tinkering around in WordPress, I eventually discovered the media library and figured out one day that all of the images I uploaded through it were able to be reused. Up until this point, I would sometimes upload the same image into the media library to use or I would find a link to an image via FTP. What a time saver it was to discover the media library. I wonder if those that voted for hand-coding have just never realized the benefits of using the uploader. Or, if they feel the uploader is inferior to their current methods.

I’m interested in hearing from you on the benefits or negative between hand coding images and using the media uploader, if there are any.


18 responses to “Use The Media Library Or Hand Code?”

  1. Hey Jeff,
    Great post. Totally read my mind. :)

    I love the Media Library.

    I use it for storing all images, documents, etc, and take full advantage of the services it currently provides (varying image sizes, basic editing, etc).

    One thing that is really great about the Media Library is that the media stored within it can be used independently of blog posts or pages (for example, within a widget).

    I’m contemplating compiling a blog post discussing several enhancements to the Media Library which I have found to be useful, as well as some weird and wacky uses for it. :)

    Cheers and thanks again for the cool post,

  2. @Matty -I’ve used it to store 2 mp3s and the rest are images. I’d rather keep large files out of the database and strictly within the file level of the site aka FTP. That would be a cool blog post. I’m also thinking about reviewing the media library as well. The media library will at some point get an overhaul as well as it’s just not quite where it should be. Will be interesting to see where that goes.

  3. Hi Jeffro, interesting result. The Media Library experience is far superior to the FTP hand code method. I would like to know why people keep using FTP and under what circumstances.

    Is your last comment regarding the database related to WordPress Media Library?

  4. @ Jeffro – When I started using WordPress and probably for a year after that, I manually uploaded my images through FTP. I manually organized them through folders and linked to them in the post editor.

    Was the same when I first started using WP. Then I moved to using the upload features and media library etc and never looked back. Since WP 2.5 the media tools have been getting better as time goes on.

  5. @Jeffro – I just checked, only metadata is stored in the database, the files (and thumbnails in the image case) are stored in the file system. Still, you need to use FTP for really big files due to the specific HTTP server upload limitations.

  6. I use the Media Library so I can associate things together. I use WordPress to run a VERY small video blog. I upload videoname.jpg and videoname.flv at the same time, and my code looks for the image to use as the thumbnail and ‘still’ for the videos.

    I haven’t had any issues with file upload size yet, but I don’t think I have a whole lot over 10megs. I like having them where I can easily cross-relate my meta :)

  7. Other benefits to using the Media Library include the possibility of Related Results (images), a way to see which media is linked to a specific Post(s) or Pages(s). I’m not sure you’re going to auto-magically get these benefits by hand linking.

  8. I never really got media library part… I am writing my posts in Windows Live Writer from day one and it was just natural to drag and drop image there and have it neatly uploaded to separate directory per post.

    When I hit some limitations of hand code approach I just added some custom code snippets that do two things for me:
    1. insert often used images from special folder with shortcode.
    2. scan post for image of specific size.

    It isn’t really duplicate of media library functionality but it covers my needs for now, so why bother with more.

  9. The file handling system changes drastically in 3.0 for multi-site, (not for normal single-site), so expect some weirdness there if you try to go that route. Took me a while to get the hang of it.

    This doesn’t affect the media-library view of it though, which has gotten much better in recent versions and is very useful now. I wish we could dump the flash uploader though. It’s definitely a problem on some systems. Perhaps HTML5 adoption will help that.

  10. I like the Media Library, but the idea is better than the implementation. I find it cumbersome to use and sometimes it’s quicker to FTP an image up and pop it in the code. Maybe if there was a different layout or even a complete interface overhaul, the Media Library would become more efficient. I want to see more choices per Library page and a faster process to get the media in the post.

  11. @Jeffro – Interesting that you mention MP3s. I’ve primarily used it for storing documents and images.

    I did do one theme, however, that required a portfolio section. A custom solution was put in place to manage the portfolio items themselves, while using the Media Library to store Flash Video (FLV) files as well as MP3s. These were then loaded on the frontend into a custom player.

    The Media Library handled the above pretty well. Each file was a few MB in size and the uploader worked like a charm. :)

    Will have to get down to writing that blog post soon. :)

  12. I’ve recently started using the Nextgen Gallery plugin. It offers the best of both worlds: bulk upload via FTP, and then directory-scanning to add to the database and to import image EXIF and other data.

    Does the Media Library have directory-scanning functionality, to add to the database files that have been uploaded via FTP?

  13. The media library is pretty limited for organization and finding of files when you have more than about two screens worth. It really needs an integrated categorization and tagging scheme.

  14. I pretty much only use the media library for adding images to posts. I completely gave up on using it for video.

    I use flash comm rtmp servers for my video’s, and the media manager has no idea how to deal with rtmp streams. Frankly it kind of sucks. It would be so nice to see a version of the media gallery where I could input the rtmp streamer settings, as for the most part none of that ever changes.

    I have my own custom panel that allows me to easily create advertising campaigns, so adding in pre/post roll commercials is very easy. It even creates the thumbnails for me for the video player itself.

    I even tried the videopress plugin, but after having a number of real dev’s look at it, it was finally decided that there is no way to get that plugin to work with rtmp streams.

    Then there is the problem of not having folders within the media gallery for sorting images. I can’t even imagine using the media gallery for my photo sites, as most of them contain between 300k-2mill photo’s… that would suck bigtime in wordpress with no sorting.

    It’s almost like the entire media library concept is nothing but an afterthought with wordpress. Bottom line for me.. it sucks

  15. I used the media library when I started with WordPress but all the multiple size images generated tick me off. I wish WordPress would go the TimThumb route and resize dynamically, or at least generate the new files only when I need them. It’s because of this that I chose to upload manually for a while, but went back to it when I saw the benefit of uploads having their own (attachment) pages.

    Another thing that ticks me off: the “Title” field is required but not the “Alternate Text” field. You should always have an alt text for images in HTML. WordPress developers should know this and change this.

    Lastly: Image URLs and locations should be dyamically generated, not hardcoded. WP should use shortcodes or something similar when I go into the HTML editor.

  16. Anyone know if it’s possible to have the media library recognize files that were uploaded via ftp due to size restrictions?


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