jAlbum 18 has just been released. The main improvements in this version is a faster album uploader and the new Project Gallery - the subject for this blog post. With active regular use of jAlbum over some time you end up with a huge amount of album projects. Finding the right one isn't always easy. The "Recent project" list helps, but the thumbnail images are rather small. Enter the new Project Gallery! This window presents large thumbnail images of web previews of each album project. If no album has been made (i.e. no web files present), then the gallery resorts to displaying a large version of the representing thumbnail instead.
To access the Project Gallery either press CTRL/CMD+G, select File->Project Gallery or hit the new project gallery button located just to the right of the new project button. You can even double click the "Recent projects" label (project ordering label) to open the Project Gallery.
The Project Gallery presents a grid of large thumbnail images for each album project. It defaults to presenting the recent projects, which may reside anywhere on your computer but you can alternatively choose to list all album projects found under the "My Albums" folder. The ordering can also be flipped between recent, alphabetical and reverse alphabetical. To open a project simply double click it or navigate using the cursor keys and hit Enter.
Just like Windows Explorer, the Project Gallery has a quick search function whereby it alternates between all projects beginning with the letter you type.
As you open a project, the gallery closes, but you can keep it open and move it next to the main window to quickly browse between projects. To do so, simply hold down SHIFT or ALT as you open a project.
The context menu
If you right-click an album project it will reveal a contextual menu. It currently has the options "Open", "Preview" and "Reload". Preview opens the project's album in jAlbum's default web browser and "Reload" forces jAlbum to recalculate a snapshot of the web preview. This may be needed if the album wasn't done rendering the initial display when the snapshot was being taken.
When you initially open and browse the Project Gallery it will take some time for the web snapshots to populate the view, and you might notice some flickering, but once it's done, operating the Project Gallery is fast. (Web snapshots are being cached on disk within the .jalbum folder of the album project's root folder in order to speed up the rendering)