Presenting jAlbum 19

I'm delighted to tell you about the news for our new jAlbum 19 release. The highlights consists of a significantly improved search bar and an embedded spell checker.

This is naturally a free update for you who are on a current support & update plan (sign in here or see jAlbum Help for your status). For the rest of you we offer discounted updates and another 30 days of free trial if you like to try it first (install to a parallel folder to keep your existing version).

Improved search
This summer we added an appreciated search bar to jAlbum's Settings window that lets you quickly locate settings by simply typing a matching word. Now this clever search bar has been extended to not only cover all jAlbum's user interface panels, but to also look for album projects and items within the currently opened project. This will be a welcome addition to anyone who maintains large or many album projects.
The enhanced search is located in jAlbum's top-right corner and can be quickly accessed by pressing CTRL+Space. Need to locate that "vertebrates" folder in your Zoology album? Simply type "verteb" in the new search bar and you'll be taken to that folder. Want to find all movies within the current album project? Just type ".mov". jAlbum also looks for image metadata like titles, descriptions and keywords, and it's fast too.
 
Once you've opened the search bar, you can start typing words to look up. jAlbum will present the matches found in a popup menu while it spiders your settings, projects and current project in the background to reveal matches. Here's an example of me locating items where I've mentioned "sugar" in my Pistachio ice cream gallery:
 
 
 
 
The spell checker
Embedded spell checkerThis feature has been requested for many years. I admit I never thought an embedded spell checker was that important for a gallery software, but let's face it, a great gallery should not only have great images, but great text too. Don't degrade the quality of your story telling gallery with misspelled words. With a spell checker embedded in jAlbum 19 I opened some of my galleries and found to my surprise that I had several misspelled words :-)
 
jAlbum will now highlight misspelled words as you edit titles, descriptions and keywords. Simply right click the word and select the right spelling from the popup menu (or add it to the dictionary). The spell checker uses jAlbum's language by default, but you can quickly switch dictionary language by right clicking a highlighted word. jAlbum comes bundled with dictionaries for English, German and Dutch. Additional languages are downloaded on demand (French, Russian, Spanish, Italian and Swedish. More languages can be compiled from Wiktionary articles). The spell checker can optionally be switched off under Preferences. Use shortcut F7 to open a spell checker dialog to quickly correct a larger text.
 
Credit to i-net software for enabling us to use their excellent spell checking library in jAlbum 19.
 
Warm regards
/David and the jAlbum team

Filtering and sorting in albums

Laca Molnar

Posted 4.9.2019

by Laca Molnar

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.


"Demo webshop" album

Usage

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.

Custom variables

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.


Another example of filtering

Comments are welcome,

Laza

New muscles under the hood for jAlbum 18.4

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)

Search and You Shall Find

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.

jAlbum now has search 

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.

Enter search!

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 2 – not just a facelift

Laca Molnar

Posted 1.3.2019

by Laca Molnar

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.


Sample album

TL;DR

Flex layout

Flex layout is what web designers were always phantasized about. This makes it possible to align items within a container box (and relative to each other) horizontally or vertically whatever you like. Did you know previously there was no proper way of aligning an image vertically and horizontally centered within a box? Crazy, isn´t it? The new flex layout even makes it possible achieving the so-called “masonry layout” (horizontal tiles) without a line of code. Feels like we´ve skipped to the 21st century. Today more than 99% of users has flex-capable browsers, and although Internet Explorer 11´s implementation is buggy, MS Edge works well.

Javascript instead of BeanShell

The coding language of the skin – originally BeanShell (a Java-like language) – has changed to Javascript. Apart from being much easier for me to code in Javascript, it is good for the users too, as it runs much faster under jAlbum. And besides this, makes easy to develop and fix bugs in these skins parallel. Perhaps too much tech detail here, but I wanted to bring this up because this has been the hardest part of the upgrade. :)


What´s new

  • 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)


    Grid

    Fixed shape grid

    Masonry (horizontal)

    Cards (vertical)
  • 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.

  • Feedback

    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.

    If you still prefer one of those deprecated styles, just download the 1.x version, rename to ZIP, and copy the appropriate files from the styles folder into the same folder of the new skin (press Ctrl-Shift-S in jAlbum).


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.)

If you want to go back to the previous version, download Photoblogger 1.9.7 from here, (double-click) and let jAlbum install the skin. Now open the saved jalbum-settings-1.jap which holds the old version settings.

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!

Laza