Skin news – 2023 summer

Every year we add more and more functionality and features to our skins. 2023 isn't different in this regard. You might have noticed that a handful of our bundled skins recently received major updates. It started with a Samples page redesign – which hasn't been deployed yet – so you can enjoy these enhancements even before we exhibit them. Let's see what are the news:

Simpler styles

Over the past two decades, the landscape of web design has undergone a remarkable transformation. While the early 2000s were characterized by skeuomorphic designs, where websites mimicked real-world textures and objects, with the advent of mobile devices, minimalism, and plain design emerged. The focus shifted towards usability, enhancing user engagement and accessibility. Our default skin – Tiger – still carries this skeuomorphic heritage that started with Chameleon and later Turtle. Even though you could make Tiger look simpler before version 4 too, now I added a few simple styles – Latte, Portfolio, Plain Light, and Plain Dark – to make authoring simplistic web galleries even easier.

Check out all the styles of the Photoblogger skin and the Story skin too!

The hero image, or theme image, now can be covered by a semi-transparent color layer, or a pattern, and can be made black and white. And naturally, you can even hide the image altogether for an even simpler look.

Download the tool

Note, you will need this tool too.

Fancy creating new styles?

I have developed a small tool that creates a new style from the current settings. If you'd like to play with it, download this tool, tweak every setting to your liking, and save it as a new style with Tools / External tools / Create new style from the current settings. You can specify which settings to include and exclude, but in most cases, you don't need to modify this – just give it a name, and press OK. You might need to reload the skin (Ctrl-R) for the new style to appear in the "Styles" box.

If you think your new style would appeal to other users, please send us the style files; stylename.css and stylename.jap from the Skin directory (Ctrl-Shift-S) / styles subfolder. You can send your design for any of our bundled skins, and we will exhibit the best ones, and perhaps even include them in the skin, with your permission.

Hero image slider

Previously, only the Photoblogger skin had an image slider in the hero area. Now both Tiger and Story skins have received a hero image slider, which works a bit differently from Photoblogger's. This one selects random images from the whole album, subfolders included. It selects different images on every page load and takes the device's screen size into account, selecting the images that fit the best into the available screen space. This way you'll hopefully see less beheaded portrait images on desktops. :) Below you'll find a few samples.

Story skin sample

Tiger skin sample

"Sticky" boxes

Using features like the Shopping cart, Feedback, or Filtering, the visitors might easily get lost when the associated boxes get out of the screen. You have to remember that there's a filtering box on the top of the page, and if you'd like to change it, you have to scroll up (and down again). These so-called "sticky boxes" stay in the viewport as long as you are browsing the thumbnails. Look for the "Always visible" setting on the related settings panel! These boxes have also received a minimize/maximize button in case they are too large, and cover too much of the screen. In Photoblogger skin, the sidebar boxes have received a similar treatment, but here the boxes stay put in the sidebar, not covering the main block.


The top bar in the Tiger and Photoblogger skins, (and the similarly functioning "Control bar" in the Story skin) have received the same "Stick to top" feature, so the visitors can always access the important navigational elements.

Let us know what do you think! (


Presenting jAlbum 32

We're proudly presenting jAlbum 32 to you. Here's why you should get it:

Improved WebP writer

Now jAlbum produces far smaller and less blocky WebP images again. When we first introduced WebP images, it was clear that WebP produces the same quality images as JPEG, but using less disk space. We however eventually needed to retire the WebP generating code as it was "native" (i.e. CPU specific) and didn't support Apple's new "Apple Silicon". The new Java based code, although fast, didn't (to our surprise) produce as high quality images as before: Images were larger and more blocky than we expected. Now the good people at IDR Solutions have rewritten the WebP writer with incredible results. Here are some sample images:

Original JPEG (99KB)

Before WebP 60% (30KB)

Before WebP 80% (56KB)

After WebP 60% (18KB)

After WebP 80% (41KB)

As you see, you now get the same quality at roughly half the size, also meaning twice the delivery speed over the internet! Isn't that cool? There is admittedly slightly more detail in the twice-as-large JPEG vs the new 80% WebP version (look at my forehead), but if you use these WebP images as 2x Variants, then you get an unbeatable combination of sharpness/detail and decent file size.

Hint: Perform a "Rebuild all" operation in order to force jAlbum to rebuild all WebP images.

Configurable keyboard shortcuts

A Polish user reported that he couldn't type certain "foreign" characters without triggering jAlbum to open various windows. It turned out that the Polish key mapping, relying on CTRL+ALT+key combinations (or right-ALT+key if you wish) did indeed collide with several jAlbum shortcuts. In jAlbum 32 you can therefore set up your own keyboard shortcut mappings for several jAlbum actions, and you can do it on a language basis as well. For general edits, edit system/shortcuts/ For language specific edits, edit system/shortcuts/, where "XX" is the ISO 2 letter language code. Detailed instructions are found within the file. We've fixed the problem with Polish key mappings now. If you make fixes for your language, please pass us your language specific key mappings.

Improved Review mode

Review mode now applies image tools to images just like Edit mode does. This is sort of what you'd expect, so now Review mode works as expected :-)

Better translations

jAlbum 32 uses Google Translate to assist translators with user interface translations. This cuts the time needed to translate jAlbum considerably. Humans still need to double-check the translations as computers still don't always get the context right. With jAlbum 32, the Italian translation for instance, which has lagged behind considerably, is now up-to-date thanks to a combination of Google Translate and human help.

Here's how it works: The "Translator's" menu (Tools->Translator) have received three new menu items: "Update skin translation (auto update)", "Update ALL skin translations (auto update)" and "Update jAlbum translation (auto update)".


When selected, jAlbum will compare the (complete) English translation with the translation of the currently active language and use Google Translate to translate the missing portions. These will be appended to the end of the relevant file. jAlbum now opens this file in it's embedded text editor for verification. As you hover the mouse over each translation, jAlbum will show the corresponding English text as a tool-tip. This ensures that you can verify that the context is right:

It's now possible to maintain the translation of jAlbum or a skin in a fraction of the time it previously took. It you notice that the translation of jAlbum or your favorite skin lags behind, please consider becoming a translator. This is a volunteer effort that we reward with recognition and free licenses+storage. If you're interested, just write me!

We also have the "Update ALL skin translations (auto update)" menu item: This one will update all supported languages of as skin and open all translations for verification in the editor. If you're a skin developer and your skin is lagging behind on several languages. This make your skin current. Just remember to have those translations checked by a human as well.

Improved UI responsiveness

jAlbum 32 has significantly improved user interface responsiveness when navigating slow storage devices. This isn't a new feature really, but rather a fix for a bug introduced in v30.1. Opening a larger project on my Synology NAS could take close to a minute with the user interface freezing during that time. Now it's down to seconds again. Should jAlbum need a bit more time to open a project, it now also presents a spinning wheel pointer.


That's it. You can read about all changes and download jAlbum 32 here.

This Changes Everything

jAlbum loves smartphones

I dare to claim that jAlbum v31 is the most important update we've made in years. Bold words, but even skeptics agree. This release brings jAlbum closer to your mobile phone than ever.

We now use QR codes to ease everything from adding images and videos from your phone, to previewing galleries on your phone and inviting others to contribute with images.

The importance of this integration cannot be overstated: For many people, the mobile phone is now their preferred camera. After all, it fits in your pocket and the image quality has increased drastically over the years. Disregarding that, the mere fact that over 50% of web galleries are viewed on mobile phones today demands that your galleries look and behave great on such devices as well. With jAlbum 31, previewing from your phone and adding images from it is now done in seconds.

Add from phone

People struggle to transfer images from phones to computers in all kinds of ways:

  • Using a cable
  • Through email
  • Through cloud services
  • Using AirDrop (if you're fully within Apple's ecosystem)
  • Using dedicated apps
All these methods have obvious drawbacks: "Where's that cable?", "Uh, that's slow", "I don't own a Mac", "I don't have that app" etc.

Enter jAlbum 31! jAlbum's "add" button is now fitted with a "From phone" menu item. Click it and you'll be presented with a QR code:

Just aim your phone's camera onto that code and follow the link the phone presents. This will bring you a screen that has one button for selecting images/videos and one for transferring them to jAlbum.
Once you've made your choice and hit that "Upload" button, jAlbum will respond with a sound and accept your selection. You'll see a progress indicator during the transfer and hear another confirming sound from jAlbum once done. Your selection will end up in the currently open jAlbum folder. (If you don't have any open project, then jAlbum will prompt you for a project name)
What looks like a file transfer app is actually a web page, served by jAlbum! You can bookmark it or save it to your home screen for future use. That way you don't even need to scan the QR code again. jAlbum will accept incoming images and videos another 5 minutes. To re-enable file transfers, just select "Add from phone" again.
Can it be any easier? No app downloads, no slow cloud uploads, no integrity considerations. Just super fast transfers from any mobile device, be it a phone, tablet, iOS or Android!
The only requirement is that both devices are on the same network.

QR invite

What if you're not on the same network, or what if jAlbum isn't running? Can you still gather images to an album from external devices? Yes you can! Use the new "QR invite" function we've added to Collaborative albums:
Settings - General - Collaborative album - QR invite
This will present you with a QR code that will let people email attached images to your album. You can save the QR code to disk or print it in order to invite visitors to an event to contribute with their images.
Once jAlbum is running it will check for additions to Collaborative albums on a minutely basis and download them to the designated project.
On Collaborative albums: Each registered jAlbum user gets a free email address in the format The title designates the target project.
Phone preview
As stated earlier it's highly important that your galleries look great on mobile devices as well. Now it's easier than ever to check their appearance on your mobile. You no longer need to upload the galleries prior to viewing them on your phone, and no typing long addresses either. Just SHIFT-click the preview button. This presents you with a QR code. Aim your phone's camera onto that code and follow the link presented. You're now previewing the album on your phone.
jAlbum's integrated browser is also fitted with a new QR button. This allows you to view any page on your mobile that the integrated browser is currently viewing.

Before developing v31, we never imagined that QR codes could bring so many benefits. Don't you agree?

What are you waiting for? Get jAlbum 31 today! v31 is a free update to anyone who is on a current support and update plan. Discounts apply to old users. Just sign in and head to our purchase page to see your low upgrade price.

Meet Plain Skin

Over the years, as jAlbum evolved, we have added more and more features to our bundled skins, and finally – I must admit – many of them became as complex as a NASA mission control room. I see how this can be intimidating to newcomers. Most people just want a simple album with no bells no whistles, and it's only the Minimal skin that has left for those seeking this simplicity. But Minimal skin was based on the separate slide page design, which does not allow for functionality today as basic as swipe gesture handling.

David came up with the idea, that we should introduce a new simple skin, that is natural and smooth to handle on mobiles. He stumbled upon a gallery on, which used the well-known PhotoSwipe lightbox of Dmytro Semenov.

Sample album here →

Thumbnail layout

In this skin, you can have a traditional, grid-like thumbnail section - fixed-shape or uncropped - and the skin is also capable of justifying the thumbnails horizontally to the available space. You can select the preferred thumbnail layout on the Settings / Plain / Thumbnails panel. You can also control the gap, the line border, and the caption here.

Plain skin's thumbnail layouts
Fixed grid (on the left), non-fixed (proportional) grid, and justified layouts

This skin also allows you to split the index page into chunks, so visitors don't have to scroll down. Just use anything but “0” on the Settings / Pages / Rows box.

Folder placement possibilities

Regarding the folders it wildly varies which placement fits best for a particular album. In a complex album, a separate folder tree could help in finding the deeper-level folders, while an album with just a few folders could look better with folders enhanced with large thumbnails and placed above the thumbnail section. And some prefer having the folders mixed with ordinary thumbnails. Plain skin offers all of these. You can find the related settings on the Settings / Plain / Site panel.

Plain skin's thumbnail layouts
Separate folder tree (on the left), placed above the thumbnails and mixed within them

Lightbox features

The lightbox can trigger full screen mode automatically when you click a thumbnail, albeit I prefer using this functionality on mobiles only, which is also an option. See Settings / Plain / Lightbox!

Photo data support is also available, where you not only can pick and arrange the data fields to show but can also customize their labels – just like in Jeff Tucker's skins.

Another popular feature of jAlbum skins is showing the geolocation with the help of Google Maps, which was also made into the initial version.

The skin is also capable of handling image variants, so you can offer extreme zooming in the lightbox. Visitors can also use the pinch-zoom gesture of mobiles for zooming into images.

Give Plain skin a test drive! →

... and let us know what do you think! (


Meet Gerry Murray

It's inspiring to see the work of talented people and hear how they use jAlbum. jAlbum has many skilled users, ranging all from photo enthusiasts, travelers and hobbyists to professional photographers and organizations sharing their activities. We also see companies showcasing products. I've interviewed one such company:, who is a collective of graphic artists based in Staffordshire, UK:

You can peek at their product gallery here. Use username "jalbum" and password "jalbum".

 (If you have a cool usage of jAlbum, just write us)

-Tell us a bit about you and your business

GerryGerry Murray Design & Licensing are a very small art design and licensing agency based in the beautiful Potteries region of Staffordshire, UK.  We represent 6 incredible artists who are also my very best friends, which is a wonderful bonus.  We have been in operation for 12 years this year, and we produce art for some of the biggest international greeting card, home decor, stationery companies across the world.

I am originally from a small town in Northern Ireland called, Lurgan, situated right at the bottom right hand corner of the biggest lough in the United Kingdom; Lough Neagh.  My background is in the ceramic industry, thus the reason for my move to The Potteries in Staffordshire.  And in fact, most of my artists also have the very same pedigree of starting their art/design careers with the numerous international ceramic companies based at the time in The Potteries.

Our clients are numerous throughout the world and have become good friends; after visiting them through international art shows in the USA and Europe.  We have built up strong relationships offering a very flexible, professional and fast delivery of their art projects whether it is with regards stationery, home decor, ceramics, fabrics, wall art, flags or giftware:


- When and how did you discover jAlbum?

My husband looks after our website, accounts, marketing, etc. and I know he has enjoyed using it over the last few years - It’s has been more than 8 years now that we have been using it. I’ll ask him to jump in here as he’s the better man in letting you know about his thoughts on jAlbum:

Hi, David, it’s Greg here.  Yes indeed, I believe we came across jAlbum as we were on the search for some online publishing software for a small collection of art projects that Gerry and her artists were involved with, while communicating with some of her clients in the USA.  At the time, some art shows in the US relied heavily on all their art being printed onto A3 sheets for licensing and outright purchase, but others started graduating into soft ‘lightbox’ or even 'PowerPoint' collections of art that could then be hosted onto websites.  We had a very basic ‘html' (‘Dreamweaver’ published) site that allowed both a platform for my wife to demonstrate her art of her artists in person (while attending her international art shows), and also demonstrate remotely via her website.

However, the constant CSS tweaks and the development of responsive formats of tablets, screen variations (duplicating imagery for said formats) played havoc with my very basic ‘html’ skills, so I sought about searching for something more professional and less time consuming.

- What made you choose jAlbum in favor of the many alternatives that exists today?

Initially we invested in a well known Adobe art/museum portfolio software suite that became so expensive to buy in different modules to track and display our art (and who did not reply to any of my messages/emails - presumably as we were not a museum, nor a larger organization buying into their higher end services).

A few web searches put me in the direction of jAlbum.  However, jAlbum’s website seemed to point it towards a more photographers tool rather than an art licensing tool so I was unsure whether it’s more photographer-based application might suit what we were after.  My apprehensions where soon unfounded though.  

jAlbum rose above many others, due to their customer testimonies initially.  So we decided to give it a go with a 30 day free trial.  Within minutes I had set up a site on jAlbum by transferring all our artists' work across onto its platform.  All the thumbnail and image slides were automatically generated - something that used to take me such a long time as I would often get bogged down in replicated art and place holder editing!  jAlbum did this automatically and effortlessly.  

However, this was not the decider for us; by the second day of using the software, I was unsure of something, as I remember, so I decided to message their help line.  Even though I was not yet a customer, I got an immediate reply back from Laza!!  I was amazed that there was a ‘real’ person at the end of my message who answered my question and with professionalism and kindness.  It was the start of a ‘wonderful’ relationship heehee - as I have always been someone who would never shy away for asking for help!  He has been there from the very start as I’ve suggested new improvements, tweaks to functionality but all centered around our own site.  Each progressive update of his ’Turtle’ (then ’Tiger’) skin incorporated many improvements and updates - some of which were instigated by me - only one person compared to the many thousand users!!  So I’ve often felt that I have hogged poor Laza’s attention far too  much over the years.  I often have to apologize to him before I start my email!!  My messages have been replied to by Anders and David also who are, like Laza, always courteous, kind and genuine with the client’s best interest at heart.  

- Any comments on your gallery from your clients?

We host our own Gerry Murray Design & Licensing album at, which is fast approaching 10,000 images of high resolution original art.  Our clients tell us they enjoy the clean appearance and clutter-free experience of inspecting our art, that is easily organized, visually beautiful and with clear instruction on navigation, with fluid functionality to zoom, filter, inspect, and send their art interests to us for all their art licensing projects.

- What aspects of jAlbum do you value the most?

I feel our initial praise of jAlbum’s personal customer service as being just incredible has continued to this day - many years after investing in jAlbum both financially and through the time we have saved using it.  Some areas that have developed recently that I love are the external plugins that cater for slider variables and keyword searches.  Again their personal emails have directed me to these wonderful pieces of programming that save so much time, but also the fact that they have a wonderful user forum that offer help and assistance.

The fact that I only have to drag in our art on a daily basis and the associated thumbs and images (watermarked and otherwise) are automatically generated and uploaded to our site - all in the background while I’m working on other daily routines.  Our online work has developed and taken a different focus, so much so after ‘Covid’ and jAlbum makes our art licensing representation so much easier and streamlined.

jAlbum gallery with zoom sliderWe use the ‘zoom’ functionality for our clients to inspect the detail of our art and with the new ‘Variants’ upgrading the HiRes settings so that images are generated for only those monitors/tablets that require that resolution.  It means you never have to think about our end user/client and whether they are seeing the art at it’s very best - jAlbum just takes care of it.  And now with jAlbum factoring in the new M1/M2 Apple Mac processors, the speeds of ‘Making/Uploading’ albums of huge sizes are done all in the background and three times faster!!

- Any suggestions on how we can improve jAlbum further?

Our continual updating/uploading of new art from our artists is a continual and daily procedure, so our forever expanding portfolio of art requires some compromise and although we currently use the zoom functionality and we utilize the ‘Variants’ functionality; speeds of website accessibility are not affected.  However, the compromise of 1,000 images per folder is a necessity currently otherwise the client experience is affected very slightly.  Long term, as I understand it, only via scrolling are the images cached and therefore there is some development in this area that should allow many more images per folder.  This would allow a more comprehensive filter on various variables to catch all art within a criteria and not just the art in that folder.  This is somewhat dealt with on the whole site keyword search but obviously without the variable breakdown.

Another suggestion (in connection with this) would be for the implementation of a relational database filter on keywords and user created variables - much like a PHP/MySql to allow queries to call up variable filtered art.  Currently, the search criteria is a linear one with multi-criteria diminishing the search for each criteria.  The only way around this is to have more than one copy of the art in a different folder, or have numerous keywords shown in the search, etc. without a relational database criteria structure.

Another possible improvement would be for the ’Send’ email of ‘Feedback’ items to be server-side, so that emails of art/photos (visually represented or otherwise) could be achieved, as some of our clients use networked machines that prevent websites accessing their email client software.  jAlbum has got around this with their ‘Copy to Clipboard’ functionality, which has been working well, but might not just be as clean and innovative as my suggestion.

Zuzu MurrayThese are only a few very small niggles on what we feel is such an incredibly wonderful platform for any art/design/photographer/licensing company/agency - but with it, comes their 'joker in their pack' - their kindness, humility, professionalism, expertise, punctuality, reliability and understanding in every email/correspondence.  You can’t not love being a part of the jAlbum family as you never know who is there willing to always help: Laza, Anders, David - each with their own expertise and passion to help!  Thank you gents and thank you jAlbum!




You can peek at their awesome product gallery here. Use username "jalbum" and password "jalbum".

 (If you have a cool usage of jAlbum, just write us)