Building an online dropbox for magazine photo submissions
August 28, 2012 12:05 PM   Subscribe

What's my best option for a skinnable, low-fuss, online “mail slot” where people can submit photos and descriptions for a magazine? Me: reasonably Web-capable, have my own hosting service. The readership: largely seniors, not very Web-savvy.

As mentioned back in this question, I'm currently chairing the board of a local history and culture magazine.

We'd like to start engaging our readers more to share their photos and memories of the area, with a lot of different possible directions that could go in. Our ideal scenario would allow people to send in photos (which we would then scan and send back), but also letting people scan their own photos and submit them online.

Print quality being what it is, e-mail would be... challenging. Our best option, I reckon, would be a simple single-serving URL, skinned with our magazine's logo on it and a nice simple SUBMIT PHOTO button, along with some format details (300 dpi, at least 1500px on the widest side, etc.). You push that button, link to a file on your hard drive, type in a description and push a SEND button. And off it goes.

I've seen some WordPress plugins that do this sort of thing, but doing a full WP install just for this one feature seems like too much gun and a bit risky security-wise. What other options are there for me?

I'm kinda sorta Web-knowledgeable, to the extent that I can put up an HTML page, kick my way around basic CSS, and understand some of the behind-the-curtain stuff with WordPress. I'm trying to learn Python/Django in my spare time, too. I (obviously) don't know enough to just go ahead and build what I need, though.

I'm happy to invest 6-10 hours in this as a learn-something project; also happy if there's some sort of service out there that can help me do this right out of the box.
posted by Shepherd to Computers & Internet (4 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Public Dropbox uploader with JotForm as described.
posted by DarlingBri at 12:33 PM on August 28, 2012

For a lightweight service, check out Filepicker.

For a more complete solution, try Gallery? It's a open source image gallery script.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 12:33 PM on August 28, 2012

I use Dagon Design's free Secure PHP Form Mailer Script for the submission form for a site I host where people submit a photo and fill out a few fields to go with it. I highly recommend it!
posted by limeonaire at 7:20 PM on August 28, 2012

So I wound up rolling with the Dagon Design script; I like its "for dummies" approach of really commenting the hell out of it so I know what bit does what.

For now, I'm trying to test this on my own site.

I've got it half-working, with some help from my host's support team. The half is that the "mailer" part of the script actually works: it sends the text fields no problem to the recipient I've specified in the script.

It does not, however, handle the attachments at all: nothing gets saved to the specified folders (emails for the e-mail texts, photos for the attached files), and the photos don't get attached to the e-mails, either.

I'm stumbling through trying to figure this out, asking about things like permissions... but now I'm at the point where I don't know what I don't know, so I don't know how to go about figuring out how to fix this.

If anyone wants to give me a hand, it'd be appreciated!
posted by Shepherd at 4:44 AM on September 5, 2012

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