What's new on the skin development front?

While we often communicate what’s new with jAlbum, only a few of you follow the advancements in skin development by reading those hidden skin update logs. Here you are some of the most interesting new skin features.

It all started with Story skin, which made custom pages even more useful, by allowing them holding just any (textual) content. This combined with the ability to mix them into the images allowed authoring complex, blog-like webpages, that barely resembled the conventional, square thumbnail grid galleries.

This change, however, made custom pages look broken after changing skins. I realized this when I made a modern sample album, but it turned ugly playing with skins. I guess this is what most new users do too, and might hit user experience badly.

So I revisited all of the bundled skins and modernized them. Tiger skin is still to be done, but Animatics, Lucid, Photoblogger, Projector and Story has received substancial updates recently. Besides changing the custom page layout a lot of other improvements were implemented. Some of these were deep changes like an organ transplant. Hopefully this will result in up-to-date skins, matching modern browser design, that will be also easier to maintain in the future. Here are some of the highlights:

Instant preview on the User Interface

After discovering small browser windows can be embedded into the user interface, I started adding this component to my skins. This makes the effect of certain skin settings instantly comprehensible, saving a lot of guesswork for users.

Custom pages

Embedding custom pages into the index page is now possible with Photoblogger skin too. In the future this possibility will also be added in Projector and Tiger skins.

Embedded custom pages in Photoblogger (embedded). See the same in Story skin!

New custom pages: Calendar and Newimages are now available with all these skins. Calendar collects all images into a calendar-like layout with links to the original folders, while Newimages collect all images created (or modified) within a timeframe. Let me remind you these custom pages work the best placed at the top level, and instead of renaming the file, it’s much better using Title to provide any text as title, e.g. “New images”, which is grammatically correct.

Calendar custom page (embedded)

New images custom page


Such complex pages are hard to load for the browser, so the new updates brings optimizations for quicker and device-specific loading of gallery pages. For instance the skin now preloads the icon fonts and the folder image, so it loads the page with less “Flash Of Unstyled Content” from now on. The thumbnail layouts got also optimized so they don’t jump aroud while loading in Story and Photoblogger skins. I fixed the progressive load function too, which also makes the page be ready much earlier.

Cross-skin translation tool

In order to have more skins receive the most localizations I made a handy tool that gathers texts from other skins, so it saves time for translators. Also helps me finding all the texts used in the source files.

Comments are welcome,


Presenting jAlbum 23

jAlbum 23 is here, listing a whopping 17 improvements and 15 bug fixes. As always you'll find the full list in our release notes. Here I'll try to give you an overview of the most notable improvements.


Don't you just hate it when software grows larger and slower over time? We do. Every now and then we therefore revisit the code to see whether it can be made more performant. It's mainly about two things: Doing less (repetitive) work, and doing more work at the same time. People aren't good at this, but computers should, especially if they have multi-core CPUs. You'll find that jAlbum 23 responds faster when opening projects and navigating folders due to better use of multiple CPU cores. We estimate around 30-50% improvement on a 4 core CPU (MacBook Pro 2015). The album making process has also been revisited to eliminate "warm up" costs when doing repetitive album builds: We now keep the script engine between album builds and also keep cached compiled copies of all scripts. We've also gained around 20% better album making performance due to better parallelism (updating a huge "Tiger" skin project). Finally, image filter processing is now also done in parallel to achieve better performance.

Improved image ordering

One guiding principle in user interface design is to not surprise the user. Here I have to admit that we've failed when it comes to image ordering, especially in relation to drag and drop. jAlbum hasn't always positioned newly dropped items exactly where you dropped them, and after a screen refresh, they might have been reordered to match the folder's sort order, but was this expected? Sometimes jAlbum will change the sort order, but was this expected? jAlbum 23 tries to behave in a more predicable manner and give you more control at the same time.

Before explaining further, let me just quickly explain how image ordering in jAlbum works: Historically, jAlbum provided one type of sort order for the whole album (by camera date, alphabetically etc). This is controlled under Settings->Pages and is referred to as "jAlbum ordering". Later, we added folder specific ordering. This ordering can either be in accordance to the global "jAlbum ordering" or something else, like "Camera date ordering". There's also "Custom ordering" which simply means "You decide by drag and drop". Folder specific ordering is controlled under View->Order by.

 So what's new? Apart from fixing bugs, jAlbum now introduces two methods of dropping new files onto a folder. The first method, the "specific drop" positions the newly dropped files exactly where the caret so indicates. This also switches the sort order to "Custom ordering" in order to respect your choice. The switch will be hinted with an animated text so you shouldn't be surprised that the sort order changed. The second way of dropping positions the newly dropped files in accordance with the folder's current sort order. You'll get this behavior if you either drop files onto a folder (either in the folder tree or in the Explorer area) OR if you drop files into the margin area of the Explorer view. This mode is indicated by a "drop rectangle" appearing over the Explorer area instead of a caret. This is actually better explained by this short video. View it!

Click to view video

Specific location drop vs folder order drop

Last used tool

Among the new features of v23 I'd like to highlight the "Last used" tool. This little efficiency enhancer remembers the tool you last executed and binds it to the CTRL/CMD+L keyboard shortcut or Tools->Last tool menu. If you find yourself repeatedly executing a certain tool over a range of images, say straightening several images or adjusting the camera date of several images, then this is a time saver!


Bug fixes

Fixing bugs is as (if not more) important as introducing new features. v23 has over 15 fixes. The most notable one being support for Mac OS "Big Sur". I'm also particularly happy that we spotted an ancient bug that caused occasional script errors during album making, typically triggered by instantly making an album after switching skin, which happens if you keep jAlbum's preview window open while switching skin.


I hope you're eager to install jAlbum 23. We've arranged 30 new trial days to everyone so you have a good chance to evaluate it. Also remember that this is a free update to anyone who is on a current support & update plan (See Help->About). Download jAlbum 23 today!


8 reasons to update to jAlbum 22

In the past 18 years we have never stopped improving jAlbum. The last two years are no exceptions. Here we present what we think are the top 8 reasons to update jAlbum based on recent improvements.


Be compatible

The world around us is changing, so are web standards and the use of mobile devices. Today, more than 50% of jAlbum galleries are viewed from mobile devices. Ensure your galleries play well on mobile devices too by using current skins like Tiger, PhotoBlogger, Lucid, Animatics or Projector.


Look good

Design evolve too. Ensure your gorgeous images are presented using modern sleek design. Add styling to your image descriptions without HTML knowledge using jAlbum’s embedded visual HTML editor.


Save work

Don’t get lost among hundreds of settings. Find the right setting, project or image in a snap using jAlbum’s Search Bar. Enjoy the instant preview offered in our latest skins. Use the new Project Gallery to visually browse web preview thumbnails of your projects.


Save time

jAlbum has a Rewritten upload engine providing faster and more robust uploads. We’ve made performance enhancements to both the user interface as well as album making. jAlbum can also make and upload multiple album projects in the background while you continue working with it.


Work better

jAlbum’s improved review mode helps you select, compare and rate your top images. The new Details editor gives you better overview of and allows edits to the metadata of your choice


Get it right

Use jAlbum’s integrated Multilingual spell checker so your image descriptions are free from typos


Save frustration

Don’t fight old bugs or user interface quirks. Update jAlbum to have them fixed. If you still encounter one, write us so we can fix it. jAlbum’s user interface has undergone many small, but important changes over the years that also saves you time and frustration.


Save money

Well, almost ;-). We just lowered the prices 20%. On top of that, you get an additional 30% discount for being an existing licensed user. Now’s a good time to upgrade to jAlbum 22!

Check out our new prices!

jAlbum 22 highlights

Syntax highlighting and the new Multi Maker

jAlbum 22 is here and comes with 17 improvements and bug fixes. Here are 3 improvements I think are especially welcome:

The new Multi maker

Ever wanted to be able to continue using jAlbum while making albums in the background? Ever wanted to make and upload several albums in one go? This has actually been possible via the rather hidden “Batch make album” external tool, but with jAlbum 22, this functionality is now improved and added as an integral part of jAlbum. Just open it via Tools → Multi maker and select the projects to make and possibly upload too, then hit the “Make selected” button. You can now minimize this window while jAlbum is working and continue using jAlbum.

Syntax highlighting

The album- and image descriptions you enter don’t need to be plain text. They can be formatted in html to get the styling you want, or perhaps add a link? jAlbum 22 now assists you getting the html syntax right by colouring various elements for you as you type. If you don’t know any html, just use the new embedded visual html editor (click the eye button in the top-right corner of description fields).

Updated html editor

Talking about the embedded html editor. With v21 we added visual html editor to assist styling your description texts. This editor did however not play well with existing html text, so with v22 we’ve listened to critisism and replaced the underlying code library with one that respects whatever html formatting you’ve already added (Squire). Enjoy


Try jAlbum 22!

Projector 2.0

We've released Projector 2.0 a few days ago. The big news is the interactive preview on the User Interface which makes customizing the skin a lot easier; you don't have to Make Album and Preview every time to test a color or a particular setting.

Instant preview

Naturally, this preview cannot reflect the effect of each and every setting, still it'll save you from a lot of guesswork, hopefully.

Under the hood

Perhaps not the most spectacular change, but all picture transitions were rewritten to avoid lags and choppiness. By the way, this code was originally made for our wordpress plugin - jAlbum bridge 2.0 - which has also been updated recently to work with WordPress' interactive Block Editor.

Even more goodies...

  • Separate background image controls for all three components: the side bar, the cover and the lightbox.
  • Redesigned sleeker icons both for the user interface and the album too.
  • You can now use Google fonts for the small texts too, not only for the headlines.
  • Automatic switch to full screen on mobiles upon slideshow start.
  • New full screen button to control screen mode manually (on desktops).
  • Folder thumbnails can be "rounded" (see above!) and "square" too besides the classic "circle".

Comments are welcome – please post bug reports in the skin’s own forum.