Scripting Aperture to MarsEdit to PigPog

Posting photos to PigPog (a WordPress blog) has always been a bit of a pain. I’d made things as smooth as I could, but it was still a bit time-consuming. I was doing this:

  • Take photos.
  • Process photos in Aperture, usually in batches.
  • Export photos to a ‘queue’ folder (sitting in Dropbox – doesn’t need to be, but that way I could do the next steps on a different machine if I wanted to).
  • Repeat for every image…
    • Create a new post in WordPress, through the web interface. Fill in the form. I have to enter a title, description and tags. I usually se these in Aperture already, but if I want to get those now, I have to open Aperture, find the image, then copy/paste those bits in.
    • Add media, dragging the file into the browser window, wait for upload.
    • Schedule the post.
  • I often then juggle posting dates and times around with the Editorial Calandar plugin.
  • Sit back and watch as the posts appear automagically, then also automagically, cross-post themselves to Flickr.

Not too bad, really, and not much harder than posting them to Flickr, but I wanted it to be easier.

After a (somewhat frustrating) morning playing with AppleScript, I now have a setup where I do this:

  • Take photos.
  • Process photos in Aperture, usually in batches. Flag photos that are ready to post.
  • Open MarsEdit, and run my script from its menu.
  • Sit back and watch as posts automagically appear, set up thusly:
    • ‘Photos’ category set.
    • Title set from photo title in Aperture.
    • Description set from photo caption in Aperture.
    • Tags set form keywords in Aperture.
    • Date set to one week’s time, so I have plenty of time to reschedule things.
  • The photos are exported to my queue folder, which opens itself up. I have to drag images into their matching posts where I want them to appear.
  • Save each post, at which point MarsEdit uploads the scheduled post to WordPress, uploading the image attachments.
  • I can then change publishing dates and times to a better schedule.
  • Sit back and watch as the posts appear automagically, then also automagically, cross-post themselves to Flickr.

This list looks pretty long still, but most of the things listed there happen automatically, or are at least being done locally rather than through a web interface. There’s a lot more Sit back and watch to do. I haven’t tried it out for real yet, but I think it’s going to make it faster for me to get photos out there. The less time I have to spend copying titles and descriptions around, and moving files from place to place, the more time there is for taking and processing photos.

The script also sets the colour label for files it’s dealt with, so I know they’ve been posted (or at least exported ready to), which should help me avoid the situation I’ve found myself in a few times, of not knowing if I’ve already posted something, or even posting the same photo twice.

Pigging the Pog Again

It’s probably fairly obvious at this point, but we’re experimenting with the idea of actually posting stuff here on PigPog again. Most of what I post online is photography, and I’ve been enjoying using Flickr for that. The key thing for me is that I felt like the quick feedback from other photographers, including some really good ones, was making me a better photographer. Posting here didn’t really do that for me.

I like being able to schedule posts, though, and to post more words when that feels right, and posting to our own domain feels more homely. Somewhere permanent, even if I decide I don’t like what Yahoo do to Flickr.

We can even stick ads on the pages and watch the money come pouring in.

No, not really.

But we can do what like with it. Nobody can stick an annoying bar over the top of it. Nobody can turn off the RSS feeds. WordPress is a nicely open platform, and if things went badly wrong there, content can be migrated – other blogging platforms are available.

I’m trying out MarsEdit for OS X to make posting (especially photos) a bit quicker and easier. It isn’t perfect, and it isn’t cheap, but if it makes this workable, it might be worth it.

The other thing that might make all this work out is the wonderful Interweb glue, IFTTT (IF This Then That). You can set up all sorts of rules in IFTTT, but my key rule is one that takes any photo I post on PigPog, and puts it on Flickr for me. I get to pour photos into my own site, and they appear on Flickr automagically, where I can get feedback from those people who inspire me to do better photographying.

Now I just need to find somewhere to improve my wordmongering.


We’re experimenting with adding Flattr links to PigPog. I’m not sure if Flattr has taken off to enough of an extent to make any difference, but it’s always seemed like a good take on the micropayments idea to me, and these things can’t take off if people don’t try them out. It’s quite nicely unobtrusive, too.

Flattr is a service you sign up for, and put in a small amount of money each month. You can then click Flattr links on web sites or other content, and your monthly ‘tip jar’ gets split among the people you’ve ‘flattrd’ that month. The minimum amount is just 3 EUR a month, so it doesn’t cost much to show a bit of appreciation.

They seem to have changed direction a little recently, in a way that should make it much easier to use. It now connects to various accounts, like Twitter, Flickr and Instagram, and counts your ‘likes’ or ‘favourites’ on those services as flattrs. So when you favourite a photo on Flickr, or star a tweet, the user will get a little tip if they’re on Flattr.

It has to take off to really have much effect, but it’s an idea I like a lot.

A Glitch in the System

Sam and I have both started playing Glitch again. That means there may be no new content on PigPog again for another year or two.


Nibbling pigs is just too enjoyable.