jAlbum 25 - a time saver for power users

Many of our users regularly update their galleries. This is for you!

Being a desktop app, supporting folder hierarchies, jAlbum lends itself well to managing huge image volumes regularly. We see many users, especially organizations, update their galleries on a weekly basis. in v25 we’ve taken several steps aiming at making your life easier:

  • Image processing time cut down to half *
  • Albums can be made and uploaded in the background while you continue using jAlbum. (jAlbum can even make and upload simultaneously).
  • Albums can be automatically updated (made and uploaded) once changes are detected

* Measured on a full rebuild of an 80 image gallery consisting of 16MPixel images, Tiger skin

Faster image processing and lower RAM usage

The first thing you’ll probably notice is that jAlbum feels snappier when processing images. It also consumes less RAM memory, meaning that you can serve it 50Mpixel images without any hickups. We've achieved these improvements by only reading every 2:nd pixel from original images prior to scaling them. We’ve actually employed this technique before, if you’ve been using the "Medium" image scaling quality, but in jAlbum 25 we combine this technique with smooth scaling and we're being careful to only use it when the source image is significantly larger than the final image. Given this, we haven’t noticed any quality degradation in the generated images, but you will notice a faster jAlbum :-).

Background processing

If you’re as picky as I am, you’re probably doing several edit-make-upload cycles until you’re satisfied with your gallery or gallery update. It’s ironic how often we don't notice errors until we view the final result, isn't it? When doing repeated make- and upload cycles, you shouldn’t have to wait for a progress dialogue. jAlbum 25 has two background engines that make and upload your changes while you continue editing any project:

jalbum 25 background processing

There are three types of "tasks" that can be submitted for background processing:

  • Make – jAlbum makes an album out of a project: CTRL+M
  • Make + upload – The album is first made, then, on success, uploaded: CTRL+SHIFT+M
  • Upload – The album is uploaded to a previously uploaded location: CTRL+SHIFT+U

These actions are available in the following locations:

  • On the Album menu
  • On the context menus of the "Make album" and "Upload" buttons
  • On the context menu of the current project
  • Within the new MultiMaker window (see below)

Once you’ve submitted a task for background processing, it can be monitored, paused or aborted through jAlbum's new Progress Manager component and its task list, which is is revealed when you click it:

Progress manager showing background tasks

The progress manager showing background tasks

The Progress Manager is located in the lower-right corner of jAlbum’s window, to the right of the status bar. It’s normally hidden, but appears whenever background tasks are being processed. The first ("oldest") started task’s progress can be monitored directly. Click the Progress Manager to reveal more details and to view any other queued or running tasks. (click outside to close it). There are buttons to pause/resume a task or to abort it. While processing a task, the tasks panel also prints the estimated time left in the lower right corner of each task.

Queuing tasks

Tasks are processed in a "first-come-first-served" fashion, moving from the top of the task list down, but upload tasks can be executed in parallel with make tasks as they don’t compete for the same computer resources (CPU vs IO). Make+upload tasks are however executed in sequence.

jalbum 25 task conveyors

You can queue another upload task while an existing upload task is in progress. This allows you to initiate a possibly lengthy gallery upload early in an editing session and have that upload followed up by final make+upload task that includes your last edits.

Aborting tasks

Project list

To abort a task, just click the "X" button. To abort all background tasks, right click the component and use the "Abort all" context menu item. If you abort a "make+upload" task, then the upload part will be aborted too.

While processing background tasks, jAlbum shows a progress spinner on the corresponding project’s item within the Recent projects list. When aborting a task, you will notice a slight delay before these progress spinners go away. This is because jAlbum tries to do a "clean" abort, i.e. let any ongoing image processing or uploading complete first.

Reporting

Notifications from tasks

Notifications displaying completed or failed tasks

To avoid interrupting your work-flow, jAlbum’s background processor will notify you on completed or failed tasks using the status bar and optionally also by displaying a Notification, which is hidden after a couple of seconds.

If you find the Notifications too intrusive, then you can make them discrete or switch them off altogether under Preferences. Discrete notifications only show when you click the Megaphone button in the top of jAlbum’s window. On top of this, jAlbum also prints information on initiated, completed, failed and aborted tasks to jAlbum’s system console (F7).

Project monitoring

jAlbum 25 can ensure that selected projects are automatically made and possibly also uploaded (in the background) as soon as changes are detected to the project. To activate project monitoring, use the Monitor changes context menu of the current project:

Monitor changes

Activating project monitoring

Monitored projects are indicated with an eye icon in the recent projects panel. jAlbum checks monitored projects for changes every 10 seconds. Once changes are detected, jAlbum will inform you using a Notification and initiate a make or make+upload task. Likewise, completed or failed task are also indicated using Notifications.

The new Multi Maker

The new background processing engine of jAlbum 25 makes it both faster and easier to update multiple projects as you can queue multiple make- and upload tasks, but jAlbum’s Multi Maker window makes this even more convenient. It now works along with the new background processing engine and acts as a "task submitter" for it. Simply select the projects you wish to process from its project list and use the relevant action buttons.

Multi maker window

The updated Multi Maker window of jAlbum 25

Once you’ve submitted tasks, you can close the Multi Maker window and continue working with jAlbum. Monitor and control the progress of any submitted tasks as described earlier here by using the Progress Manager component.

The new MultiMaker is more informative than the old, listing sortable table columns for project name, skin, style, last made and last uploaded dates. To reorder the table based on, say "last uploaded" date, click the "Last uploaded" column. To quickly remake all projects made using a certain skin (say after a skin update), click the Skin column, then select the projects using that skin and hit the relevant action button. Completed tasks will be reported using Notifications, but for clarity, they also turn turn green within the Multi Maker.

In addition to this, the updated Multi Maker also features a context menu where you can open, preview or view the project the mouse rests on as well as submitting that specific project for background processing.

It’s also worth reminding that the Multi Maker allows you to drop a file listing paths to each project you wish to reprocess.


Conclusion

jAlbum 25 aims at making life easier for you who regularly maintain one or several galleries. Image processing is significantly faster and you can have jAlbum make and upload galleries while you continue your edits. As background tasks don’t need to wait for your interaction, you also save time. Uploading a small change, like an adjusted title or rearranged images is now down to a split second! You’ll soon fall in love with the CTRL+M keyboard shortcut (CMD+M for Mac).

jAlbum 25 is a free update for anyone who is on a current support & update plan (check under About jAlbum). In any case, you can evaluate all functionality during 30 days.

Get jAlbum 25 today!

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David Ekholm

David Ekholm one year ago

@Michael, sounds like a reasonable request. Please post this to the feature request section of our user forum at https://jalbum.net/forum

Michael Lampi

Michael Lampi one year ago

@David, Thank you for that update!

Is there a chance that the DEL key could be made operational while looking at an image? It works in the gallery view, but not the single image view.

David Ekholm

David Ekholm one year ago

@Michael, Thanks. This keyboard focus behavior seems to be connected to the standard Windows Look&Feel, but I frankly doubt that users will ever want the toolbar buttons to be focusable. On Mac, I've disabled keyboard focus for these buttons, and now I've done so for Windows too. To try the fix, select Tools->External tools->"jAlbum core update" and restart jAlbum when prompted.

Michael Lampi

Michael Lampi one year ago

@David, Take a look at lampi.us/mike/Exclude.mp4 for the exclude/arrow issue.
I also find that the DEL key doesn't work in the single image view, though it does work in the gallery view.

David Ekholm

David Ekholm one year ago

@Michael, Just process the video in an album and upload it, then share a link. I can't reproduce the issue with the arrow keys ceasing to work (I naturally trust that YOU have that experience, just need to figure out how to reproduce). Use the "-" key to toggle exclude. Good idea on using the arrow keys to move the sliders.

Michael Lampi

Michael Lampi one year ago

Hi David - The resulting screen capture was a bit large (300+MB MP4). Anyway, the biggest headaches are excluding an image when looking at the single image view. One has to click on the exclude icon and then to get to the next image the arrow keys no longer work. Instead. they go to the next icon. Even after clicking on the arrow icon (visible in the image when the cursor moves there) the icon menu bar still has focus. A single keystroke for Exclude this image would be helpful.
Next, A key to invoke gamma adjustment, and then when adjusting the gamma it would be good to have the arrow keys function to move the slider right or left by some increment for each button press, say 0.1 or 0.05. The tab key should move between the items in the menu.
The same goes for rotation. A key to invoke rotation, then arrow keys to rotate it.
Other items should be accessible directly with a single keystroke. Menu items should be where the focus is then applied.

Thank you!

David Ekholm

David Ekholm one year ago

@Rog, see the menus, they document shortcuts.

Rog

Rog one year ago

So, what do the shortcuts do? Where do I find a list of jAlbum shortcuts?

David Ekholm

David Ekholm one year ago

Thanks for your feedback Michael. Are you able to illustrate the mouse moves you now have to do with a short screencast?

Michael Lampi

Michael Lampi one year ago

This is all really cool, but what would help me the most would be to have all of the photo editing and processing features consistently accessible with keystrokes and not require cursor movement from one side of the screen to the other to accomplish tasks.