Skin evolution: Turtle to Tiger

Responsive web design

is the approach that suggests that design and development should respond to the user's behavior and environment based on screen size, platform and orientation. The practice consists of a mix of flexible grids and layouts, images and an intelligent use of CSS media queries.

Smashing Magazine

Although I am still evolutionist, I can't deny the new Tiger skin has born out of creation. The original goal was rewriting Turtle for responsive web design, but as time has passed, more and more code parts got rewritten, many functionality got changed and I´ve left out some features too, so finally I felt it´s wiser to call it a new skin, not just a new version. Although Turtle skin will be still maintained, the focus from now will be on Tiger.

The development has started more than 6 months ago and besides replacing the HTML structure to cater for responsive layout, the Java utility library has been rewritten from ground too in Javascript, just like any code in the skin. The only exception is the User Interface. At the beginning I was afraid using Javascript for the application itself, but turned out to be much smoother (and forgiving) than BeanShell – jAlbum´s original scripting language. It´s even speedier. Hopefully this will encourage other web designers with no Java knowledge getting involved in skin development.

The new skin is based on Turtle´s outlook, still more code came from the Photoblogger skin, which is newer and has more advanced features. Search, tag cloud, site-wide shopping cart, to mention a few. It also inherited Photoblogger´s database-driven architecture, which makes it possible to search for and show any photo on any page of the album.

I hope Turtle fans will like the possibility to reorder the sections on the index page to their taste. You can even add a custom section with any HTML content.

The vertically split layout of Turtle had to be removed, because it didn´t fit with the responsive design. This was very hard to handle on smaller screens, anyway. I hope you won´t miss that.

The User Interface has changed significantly too. I know it´s a drag for Turtle users, but Turtle´s UI got gradually more and more complex over the years to the point it was intimidating for new users. The new organization is intended to mimic the page layout, and you will find the settings and features under the corresponding tab, like Site, Header, Sections, Footer, Lightbox.

With the new “Full width” hero image the album fills in the window horizontally, and not just the hero image but the top menu bar and the footer too. (I called the “theme image” “hero” in this skin, because this is how it´s called in WordPress for example.) I must admit, I like this layout better than Turtle´s, but you can switch back to the traditional layout if you prefer that.

When we were talking about running the skin under a new name, I suggested David – jAlbum author – to introduce the skin family support in jAlbum for easier change between skins. This way when you switch from Turtle to Tiger you don´t lose your previous settings, and don´t fall back to skin defaults, like it happened in the past, instead the new skin tries to match as many settings as it can. Being Turtle the most popular skin of ours, I believe it´s utterly important to help users in switching. If you have custom pages, like About.htt or Contact.htt, you might need to repair them before “Make album” to fit for the new scripting language with this tool.


Sample album

Tiger´s styles were made to match Turtle´s on purpose, so you can seamlessly continue with the new skin in your album collection. Switching is good not only because of the new features and the for the benefit of mobile visitors, but because this new skin is based on today´s newest technologies, like Zurb Foundation framework, which makes these albums future proof, therefore Google will like your page too and put it higher in search rankings.

Due to the fact that Tiger is based on a “JSON” database, the local testing is limited to the built-in browser or FireFox. This is because in an attempt to protect your local files, the browsers block access to file types they don´t recognize. Unfortunately this prohibits previewing Tiger albums in Chrome and IE, and you will see only the first dozen of thumbnails and the album will dysfunction. You can still start Chrome in “less secure mode” – if you prefer that browser for previewing – by following the instructions in this sticky note. You can also install a web server, like Wamp on your PC, and access the local album through that, but it´s kind of overkill unless you are a web designer.

I hope you will like Tiger as much as you liked Turtle. Your feedback is welcome!

Laza

22 good reasons to update jAlbum

Hi,

Are you an old time jAlbum user and haven't decided to go for the current jAlbum version? We’ve made improvements in many areas since jAlbum 11 so I really feel you should give the current jAlbum a try. If you renew your license you’re guaranteed to get any future updates within 12 months for free. This includes the upcoming v14.0 which is just around the corner now.

Functionality

 

Great image organizer added

Powerful image effects

New video editor

Improved image editor

Collaborative albums

Flexible multi file renames

Looks

 

New responsive skins

Updated user interface

 
 

Vectorized icons

 
 

Speed

Less IO intensive

Faster thumbnail painting

Faster album rebuilds

 
 

Flexibility

Fast RAW image support

Imports directly from facebook

Integrates better with other apps through drag & drop

 
 

Ease of use

Context sensitive help

Multi level undo/redo

Improved error reporting

 

Stability

Requires less memory

64 bit app

Updated upload libraries

Numerous bug fixes

 

All improvements are listed in our

Release history »

 

Get the latests jAlbum today to get hold of these improvements.

Renew license »

Why jAlbum?

You probably had a good reason for choosing jAlbum in the past, but let me iterate why we’re relevant today:

 

Integrity matters

jAlbum is not a centralized service like most competitors. Your galleries are fully independent. The importance of this cannot be understated. When we hear stories of image services copyrighting your images, even selling them or having security breaches in central databases, we’re reminded that the old saying “Don’t put all eggs in one basket” still holds. With jAlbum your in control of the whole image workflow independent from us. Moreover, we use open standards for metadata and configurations to avoid any lock-in.

 
 

Functionality matters

If you need a specific functionality in your gallery, say for instance sales support, Google maps integration or smooth transitions paired with background music, there is a skin for that. If a certain functionality is missing, it can be added using jAlbum's flexible APIs.

 
 

Appearance matters

Not all sites have the same look. You should be able to customize the gallery’s appearance so it blends with your site. With jAlbum you can customize appearance from a multitude of settings and even down to html/css level if you need to.

 
 

Convenience matters

Many user choose us because they can conveniently manage and upload large amounts of images regularly. Once set up, it is very straight forward to make regular updates to large galleries. Many users appreciate the ability to work offline too.

 
 

Download latest version of jAlbum! »

 

Please remember that renewing your license will help us give you continuous support, allow us to develop the software even further, improve the skins and keep the jalbum.net site running. We depend on our users and you are an important part of our success so far, so we hope you want to be part of our future.

Yes, renew my license! →

Sharper images in jAlbum 13.7

In jAlbum 13.7 we've introduced support for HiDPI images (See Settings->Images). By activating this option your images will look much sharper on HiDPI screens like those found on modern mobile phones and tablets. HiDPI screens are screens that have far smaller pixels than ordinary computer screens so they pack more "dots per inch" than ordinary screens (144 or more instead of 72). They are still not that common for desktop computers, but modern tablets and mobile phones have HiDPI screens to a high degree. As the viewing distance for these screens basically is half that of a desktop computer screen, it really matters whether your images are viewed in normal or HiDPI as can be seen here:

Album on mobile device. Normal dpi (click to view full album):

Album on mobile device. Normal dpi 

 

 Album on mobile device. HiDPI (click to view full album):

Album on mobile device. HiDPI

Impressive improvement, right?

HiDPI images in jAlbum are essentially twice the pixel size in width and height. They therefore need more disk space and network bandwidth, but the size penalty doesn't have to be so dramatic as one can compress HiDPI images further without getting noticeable JPEG artifacts, this as the JPEG artifacts are now only 25% of their previous area. In these sample albums above I could lower the JPEG quality to 60% from 85% for the HiDPI album without any noticeable degration in quality. The resulting disk size went up from 0.46MB to 0.81MB, something I don't consider a problem in 2016. Just imagine how much disk space and network bandwidth has increased since 2002 when jAlbum was created...

If you don't want your albums to have this size penalty for sake of looking better on mobile devices, you can  compromise and use HiDPI for thumbnail images only. After all, the thumbnail images are those who benefit most from this change. jAlbum gives you free choices, as always. For me, it's a no-brainer. I will use HiDPI images on all future albums. To update your albums, get jAlbum 13.7 and reprocess your albums with HiDPI checked under Settings->Images. HiDPI works with the vast majority of jAlbum skins.

Warm greetings
/David and the jAlbum team

jAlbum featured in HostingAdvice

jAlbum interview in HostingAdviceI was recently interviewed in depth by the people at HostingAdvice.com. HostingAdvice has been around since the 90's and specialize in testing and reviewing hosting services and giving advice on site building tools and such. They also run tutorials on various topics that relates to running web sites. A great resource to check out.

In this interview you get to read the full story on how jAlbum started at a ski trip back in 2002 and when I was running our web site on a PC under my desk at my former work place. I'm glad I was able to convey that we're not just another image sharing service, but that we provide a truly independent way of sharing images and videos, from any web server you happen to host your site on. Host with us or with any web host. It's your choice. If you choose the later, now you know where to head for some good advice. If you happen to run a hosting service, contact us, cause we help sharing your customer's images and videos.

/David Ekholm, jAlbum

 

Zoom those thumbnails

Zoom in and out smoothly using jAlbum 13.5jAlbum is appreciated for its ability to manage huge amounts of images. Its Explorer-like user interface, support for deep folder hierarchies and flexible image organizer probably contributes to this. We've now fitted jAlbum with an elegant zooming ability. Zoom in gradually to get a better detailed view of each image without having to leave the Explore view. Zoom out to get a better overview of large image folders and assist in drag and drop image arrangement. The best: It's super fast and smooth. Get jAlbum 13.5 today!