Latest postsPresenting jAlbum 19Filtering and sorting in albumsNew muscles under the hood for jAlbum 18.4Search and You Shall FindPhotoblogger 2 – not just a faceliftThe Project Gallery of jAlbum 18Improved image review with jAlbum 17The slideshow must go onjAlbum reviewed in Top 10 Website HostingjAlbum 16.2 news
While most people use jAlbum to share simple albums, filtering and sorting the thumbnails comes handy for visitors in complex albums and webshops.
jAlbum's database-backed skins – e.g. Photoblogger and Tiger – are capable of handling huge amounts of data which makes it easy to find and order images as visitors wish. This filtering and sort functionality is based on variables attached to images. Besides jAlbum's own variables, like "original date" or "keywords" you can also add your own variables for the sake of filtering. Say your webshop offers different brands and colors of products, you then add custom variables to images – "brand", "color" – which can later be referred for both filtering and sort.
Don't confuse this with jAlbum's "Filter bar" feature or "Sort by", which are used to arrange images in jAlbum to set the default view of an album by the author. This new feature was made for the visitors to play with. I guess you'll figure it right away if you check out the sample album below.
Head to Settings / Photoblogger / Sidebar / Filtering and Sort. Tick Use filters and/or Use sort first, then add the criteria one by one. The variable name is mandatory (must be exactly as jAlbum handles them, case sensitive). Adding a descriptive label isn't needed, but helps a lot and you can use translated labels this way. By default the skin treats these variables as plain strings, but other data types might work better, e.g. for file size or price. These are the allowed data types:
- Numeric: as the name suggests it represents a numeric value, e.g. rating, fileSize or resolution. The skin renders a "range slider" to select the values.
- Financial: numeric value as well, but respects the currency sign and has 2 fraction digits, e.g. €1.00. To ensure the rangle slider shows the proper currency, add it after the label in parentheses, e.g. Price (US$). By default the box shows Euros.
- Date: the range slider shows dates, no surprise. Corresponding jAlbum variables: fileDate, originalDate, addedDate
- Single string: useful for variables with text values. Visitors can then select one of these values to narrow search. Examples: fileCategory (e.g. image, audio, video), formatName (e.g. jpg, png, gif), writer (author)
- Multiple string: like Single string, but selecting multiple items is allowed too. Examples: keywords, category, isoEquivalent. Use Shift or Ctrl to select multiple items!
Please note, jAlbum saves changes made in a cell only after you press Enter or click into another cell! If you click OK, or close the Settings panel you risk losing changes.
Regarding "price"; recently these skins were allowed to handle the price variable as a single shop option in the PayPal cart. Check out the Settings / Site / Shopping cart / Use "price" as single shop option! (Works with Photoblogger 2.6+, Tiger 2.9+). Price can be added in Edit mode → right panel → Description → Price field.
As I mentioned before, beyond jAlbum's built-in variables you can define your own variables too. Add them in Edit mode through the Variables panel. The name goes left (plain English characters!), the value right – really straightforward. Unlike with keywords you can't assign the same value to multiple items at once – you have to do it one-by-one. We'll probably make a tool for this task later (if there's a massive demand :) ).
Like with the Filtering panel, jAlbum saves changes only after pressing Enter or clicking in another box.
Comments are welcome,
The recently released jAlbum 18.4 sports a completely rewritten web server under the hood (Jetty 9). Historically this web server has only been used to share galleries straight from your computer (See Tools->Share), something only a few users use, but it now also serves previews to both jAlbum's embedded web browser and any external web browser you may prefer.
Why this change? Well, in recent years, browsers like Chrome, Edge, Safari and now Firefox have received security constraints limiting viewing local content straight from disk. This has prevented previews from working for some of our popular skins, like Tiger and PhotoBlogger, but this is now a problem of the past. Get jAlbum 18.4 today!
(You can control whether to serve previews via the local web server or not under Preferences)
We've just added search to jAlbum! Now you can type your way to the right setting while using jAlbum instead of browsing though complex user interface panels in your hunt for that font size or color setting.
What would internet be without Google? We'd have to remember a ton of pages and navigation paths for resources we revisit regularly and rely on clever hierarchical directories for finding new information (Remember those sites from the old days?).
These days we simply "Google" everything, even if we know the page's URL, cause typing a few words is usually faster. We even search our local computers instead of manually navigating folder trees, still when using advanced software we tend to have to navigate the user interface in a hierarchical fashion. jAlbum has tons of features today. It's inevitable that the user interface becomes increasingly complex as features are added over the years. We try to structure the settings intuitively, but some features inevitably need to be buried 3-4 levels down.
jAlbum's Settings window now has a new search box in the top-right corner. Hit TAB to activate it, then type a few keys to see a list of matching items in the menu below. Use arrow keys + ENTER or the mouse to select the setting you wish to access. jAlbum will now immediately navigate to that setting and highlight it with an animated ring.
If you got the wrong setting, simply select the search box and hit arrow down to reveal the last set of search results again or type another search term. You can narrow the search by typing multiple words.
What are you waiting for? Download jAlbum 18.2 today!
Photoblogger was my first attempt in creating a database-driven skin. By using a database, albums receive a super power: global search, tag filtering and new image collection, so visitors can easily find the images they´re after. In the meantime a few new skins came with database support too – e.g. Tiger and Projector – with better coding and more features. Now the time has come to give some love to Photoblogger too.
- User interface
The user interface has been totally redesigned. I know those who has accustomed to the old organization might feel lost finding a particular setting in the new one. The new layout tries to sort the settings according to where they appear on the page: Header, Sections, Side bar, Footer, Lightbox. I hope existing users will easily accustomed to this, and Tiger or Projector users will find it already familiar.
- Thumbnail layout
You can choose from 4 different thumbnail layouts: Fixed shape grid, Grid, Masonry (horizontal) and Cards (vertical)
Fixed shape grid
- Header type
Instead of the plain header now you´ll be able to use a background image too. If your album doesn´t have an appropriate, toned-down image, you can download one from Unsplash – e.g. here or here – for free.
PRO TIP: if you want the header image only be used in the header, first drag´n´drop to the right panel´s “Theme image” area, then
right-click → Exclude
Page title placement
Once you chose a bakground image instead of the plain color, why not give a try to the new, centered folder title? Naturally, the old – left aligned – title still exists, moreover you can align it vertically too.
- Mosaic folder thumbnails
Want to see more images from a folder? Now you can. The “endhanced” folder thumbs gets 3 more images – chosen randomly – next to the folder thumbnail you picked. And now you can have all the folders made “enhanced” if you wish.
A popular feature inherited from Tiger, pimped up. With this tool you can ask feedback through email from users. In this skin users can choose if they want to open the email app directly or just copy the email content to the clipboard for later use in a web mail. This feature is also good for putting up a simple kiosk.
- Custom odering of sections and sidebar boxes
Folders come first, the custom pages maybe the map? You decide. You can reorder the boxes in the side bar too.
- Sidebar position
Previously the side bar always meant a side bar on the right. In this version you can place it to the left too.
- Navigation placement
Quite a few users asked if they can move the top navigation to the top bar – sharing space with the social buttons and search. Now you can. Not only to the top bar, but to any corner of the header.
- New styles
Some old styles has been removed, like Fresh, Military, Material, Sage, Turqoise, while 3 new styles added: BlackAndWhite, Eggshell and Simple. I tried to make more of the simple layouts – users prefer.
Before you upgrade albums made with v1.x
Please note, this is such a fundamental change in Photoblogger skin, it should have named v10.0 or something. Some of the old features got removed, and many more has been added. (E.g. the fancy caption animations on thumbnails got retired.) Before you install the skin I suggest to save the settings with the "Save project settings as..." command. Give it a name you remember, e.g.
jalbum-settings-1.jap and reopen
jalbum-settings.jap to be updated.
Avoid importing unwanted settings
When you switch to Photoblogger 2 many settings from the old version will be imported. Some are useful, others just mess up the layout in an effort to match the old look. If you´d prefer giving the new default look a fresh try (see above) you´ll have to reset all the settings. Just select “Photoblogger” again in the Skin and style box! (This will trash the old settings, but perhaps it´s the easier way around.)
Custom pages might trigger errors
As the programming language has changed in the skin the custom pages might carry improper code, which will stop the Make process. If you stumble upon this (in About.htt, Contact.htt or Contents.htt) download the “Update project templates” tool from here, (double-click) and allow jAlbum to install it. Now you can use:
Tools → External tools → Update project templates. This will update all the project templates to match the new version. Sorry for this inconvenience! The new version was made to survive skin changes – at least within the same skin family –, so hopefully you will never have to do this again.
Your feedback is welcome!