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jGromit

Posts: 7,674
Registered: 31-Jan-2006
It's time to retire jAlbum widgets
Posted: 16-Jul-2020 15:18
 
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When jAlbum widgets were introduced, they weren't a terrible idea. They could be planted at the bottom of the pages of a non-responsive, "slide page" skin without doing any harm, and they provided a few things that weren't otherwise available.

But times have changed.

  • Widgets are a problem for every fully responsive skin. I have seen countless albums in which the lower edge of the slide image and/or the caption is obscured by the widget bar.
  • Widgets are a problem for many "lightbox" skins, particularly those that don't update the address bar with each image change. Things like user comments can't be tied to an individual image, despite appearances.
  • There's no need for a visit counter. Visitors to a site don't care how many other people have been there before. Displaying this sort of thing is regarded as being amateurish. If you want to know something about the traffic on your site, use Google Analytics, or just check the existing utilities that are available on most web hosts (awstats, Webalizer). ETA: And the visit counter is wildly inaccurate, anyway.
  • There's no need for an about widget. Almost all current skins offer either an About.htt template or an "info page." And unlike the widgets, these are style-matched to the album.
  • There's no real need for a share widget. The major bundled skins, along with a number of others, include their own social media links. And some of the links in the widgets are either not working at all (Del.icio.us is gone), or have changed (Digg is now a news aggregator), or are hooking to things that I don't think anyone is using (MySpace).
  • The comment widget often turns out to be more trouble than it's worth (spammers).
  • Invoking widgets is too involved, and we keep having to lead people through it. The skin has to allow widget code injection (I've simply shut it off in all my skins - no one seems to be very upset about that), widget support has to be enabled in the settings, the user has to be signed in to the application, the album has to be listed on the profile page even if it's hosted elsewhere. In short, that's an awful lot of folderol to go through to create intrusive content on the album page that doesn't provide much utility.

I know this is going nowhere - getting anything removed from jAlbum is almost impossible - so I'll just delete this thread in about six months.
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