Upload Image module - why I use it and views integration
I've just written and submitted a patch to add views integration to the Upload Image module. When I chatted about doing it in #drupal there was a bit of a 'you still use that' reaction, so I thought I'd write down why.
The upload image module takes all files that are uploaded with a node, and if they are an image it feeds them to the image module turning them into image nodes. It keeps track of the images uploaded with the node, and by default displays them as a thumbnail gallery at the bottom of the post linking to the originals.
The module just works like a lot of users expect uploading an image file with a node to work!
There's more flexibility in using image assist but that takes a little learning, and requires caring enough about where the images go to bother uploading each one individually, giving it a title correctly, selecting size and placing it.There's the image attach module but that only accepts one image.
The only serious alternative for the type of sites where users aren't being shown how to use it and just want it to work now is to move away from the idea that images are nodes. There are developing solutions using CCK. The image field can easily make single size images attached to a post. You can then extend it using image cache which does clever things with the 404 page to start generating images sizes as required. It's pretty powerful stuff enabling lots of different crops and sizes as needed for what ever displays you are using the images in. This seems to be the way things are going, but its moving. Certainly for the moment on some sites there is still value in the having nodes.
So for those sites Upload Image is great. It however lacked views integration. So as soon as you wanted to display the attached image in the front page list, or what ever, it wasn't winning. In doing so it occurred to me it would be very cool for those pages where you are using panels/views to override the node page as well. You can let people just dump their images in the upload files section, and the will be neatly displayed where you want them in the post. There's loads of scope there.