I suggest you ...

A better solution for hosting both private and public content

I've struggled to set my site up with two Homepage views - one private and the other public. I'm not a Pro managing separate clients and events (although this solution could apply there as well). I'm an amateur photographer and dad who uses Smugmug primarily to share memories with my family and friends (aka the private view). However I also like to display some small portion of content to the anonymous public visitor (aka the public view). This suggestion is for people who want to have their Homepage and all content display in one of these two modes depending on who the visitor might be. First a few of the problems:

1) Unlisted galleries are a good idea, but they blow the whole Categorical structure. If I have private content I now need to send someone a link, which they'll likely loose in time. I can't send them a private 'Family' category link, and let them browse all of my private family content. But then there's...

2) Sharegroups, which almost solve the above problem, but come with their own. For one they only allow galleries to be added, and since I cannot put a Category in a Sharegroup, I cannot simply say - okay here's all my Family stuff, with all of its subcategories and galleries, and one unlisted link to all of it. On top of that, the entries are static, so I have to manually add galleries as they become available.

3) Site-wide passwords. We all know passwords blow, last thing we want is yet another password to forget. Site-wide passwords are almost cool, except they blow the whole concept of a Homepage, so then, there's no way for me to display any of my public stuff to the anonymous visitor... Or maybe I just want a couple smart galleries to display on my Homepage to people who don't have the site-wide password.

4) Then there's gallery-passwords. So I could just put a password on all my private galleries, and not put one on my public galleries. That might work! But wait, then my Homepage, which I'd like to include Gallery Categories on, would even let people without the passwords browse the whole structure, see all my gallery names, maybe even find some information I didn't want them to see! So now I guess it's back to unlisted galleries and sharegroups again, and back to square 1.

It's a bit maddening. There currently seems to be no easy way to display separate Public and Private views on the Homepage in a way that offers the following:

Private
- full navigation of private content, ability to use categories and see protected galleries.

Public
- limited navigation of private content, ability to see Public categories and public galleries only.

I guess a lot of this comes down to Categories. They're useful for organization and navigation, and I want to be able to use them in more secure and private way by setting properties on them.

But there might be a simple answer, and now I present you with my suggestion for a better solution, which consists of two parts - Authorization, and Presentation:

* Authorization *

I want to be able to let my visitors register, just like they can for Events, but with more control - I want to moderate either by sending invites or approving/rejecting people who just show up and request to register for the private site.

I'd go so far as to suggest some role-based access security, where I can group those people into roles. But we won't go there - let's just keep it simply binary. Most people visiting my site will have either a Windows Live ID (Hotmail, etc.), a Google, Twitter, or Facebook account. It would simply be fannnnnntastic right now if Smugmug would integrate OAuth and authentication with the major providers to let me authorize my personal, private visitors. The interface should present me with a list where I can see who is authorized and add/remove as necessary.

Then, to support the two views public vs private, the site-wide password could be supplemented or replaced with site-wide auth. The auth model would be much stronger and more private than the site-wide password model, as you know.

* Presentation *

The Homepage will always load, but the presentation depends on whether the visitor is authorized or anonymous. Maybe an additional property, call it RequiresAuth, willl be set at the Category and Gallery level to support this. Content will only display depending on whether or not it is marked as RequiresAuth and if the visitor is authorized. If they are not, all content marked RequiresAuth will be both treated as 'unlisted' so it doesn't show up in navigation, and as protected from viewing directly. Content not marked as RequiresAuth will display freely to anyone, so the Homepage can still show Categories and/or Galleries not marked as RequiresAuth, plus any content stored therein.

It took me a bit of time to put this together, and a few days of customizing and playing around with the control panel and different security/privacy configurations. I think the Authorization component would be quite useful for managing access to the site as well as events. It could be replaced though by a similar model using the existing site-wide password, in combination with the Presentation change and RequiresAuth property at the Category and Gallery level. I hope you'll consider some of these changes, thanks for reading!

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    w3bbyw3bby shared this idea  ·   ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

    5 comments

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      • mike johnsonmike johnson commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Yup, two accounts is the only way this is possible as far as I can tell. Account #1 public. Account #2 private with site-wide password.

      • AnonymousAnonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I just stumbled across this issue and had to make a comment. I've wanted the same thing for years. I don't know of any solution that works. For now I just send my private stuff to Facebook and limit the view to family and friends and keep hi-res images backed up to hard drives. I would love to have everything on SmugMug but viewing rights are very limited, or at least I've never figured out a work around. Sad because otherwise I love SmugMug.

        Several people I've tried getting on SmugMug have passed because I couldn't tell them how to solve this problem. I don't know what they've done instead, but they didn't set up a SmugMug account.

      • w3bbyw3bby commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Could someone from SmugMug comment? I've waited patiently for almost two months. Do I need to purchase a second SmugMug account or are there plans to improve the public/private separation model?

      • Matt McGuireMatt McGuire commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I am in the same boat. There is no way to make it easy for clients (public) and family (private) to view my site while keeping them relativity separate.

      • w3bbyw3bby commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        How many people reading this have acquired two SmugMug accounts to get the functionality you need - a private and a public presence? I've heard of many people forced to do this - pay for two accounts, which aren't linked in any way and require separate email addresses and logins to manage. Consider this when reading the suggestion, and up vote it or make a new suggestion to solve this issue.

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