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JeffTucker

Posts: 6,979
Registered: 31-Jan-2006
jGromit skins
Posted: 18-Sep-2019 01:25
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So, which jGromit skin should you be using? I realize that this is a difficult question. After all, they're all so fabulous. How can one choose?

I have to confess that even I have trouble keeping track of which of the skins includes certain options, so I finally put together a little "features" table. See it here:

https://jgromit.com/features.html

The good news, of course, is that you can't make a bad choice. If you use any of my skins, your family and friends will be stunned and amazed at the results.

What do I use for my own sites? I've just converted my travel site from Neptune to Mars. I also use Mars for a personal site, one with photos from the last 50 years, most of which would mean nothing even to my family.

For the big family website, it's Pluto, at least for now, but that's another one that I might move to Mars. For a huge collection of scanned slides from the dark ages, stuff that my brother had, I've used Mercury, which I also find myself using for putting up quick albums of things like "here's what this year's rental house at the beach looks like - bring towels."

For my skins demo website, the top page is created with Pluto, and the next level below that uses Jupiter to create the master album of demos for each skin. And yes, even the top ribbon menu on those pages is coming from the album project, using Jupiter's ability to insert custom HTML and CSS into a page.

Edited by: jGromit on 15-Jan-2020 15:21 - features table now online.
razzle

Posts: 13
Registered: 1-Nov-2007
Re: jGromit skins
Posted: 19-Sep-2019 00:48   in response to: JeffTucker in response to: JeffTucker
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Hi Jeff,

Thanks for putting this table together. It's great to be able to see the different features at a glance.

I first started using jAlbum around 15 years ago using the BluPlusPlus skin. Over time I migrated to Turtle, Matrix, Tiger and Gromit. In more recent times I have started exclusively using your skins and have been converting some of my albums across to Mercury, Neptune, Pluto which has been a daunting task. Now the younger generations tend to mainly use tablets and phones so selecting a skin suitable to different devices is also a bit daunting.

Like you, I have scanned many old photos that my parents collected over the years. Most of these photos mean little to my kids but it seems sad to toss them out. But at the end of the day that's what will happen to them.

Anyway I really appreciate the work you put in providing skins that try to keep up with these changes in technology. Also really appreciate the support you give people like me through these forums.

Cheers,

Bob
JeffTucker

Posts: 6,979
Registered: 31-Jan-2006
Re: jGromit skins
Posted: 19-Sep-2019 01:21   in response to: razzle in response to: razzle
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razzle wrote:
Now the younger generations tend to mainly use tablets and phones....

Even my older siblings (75 and 77) do a large chunk of their browsing on things like iPad Mini's.

...so selecting a skin suitable to different devices is also a bit daunting.

A lot of the small changes I've been making recently have been aimed specifically at improving the smartphone performance without killing the "big monitor" experience. I'm doing a lot of "stripping out stuff when the visitor is on a phone," like thumbnail spacing, shadows, and so on, to make best use of the limited screen real estate.

Like you, I have scanned many old photos that my parents collected over the years. Most of these photos mean little to my kids but it seems sad to toss them out. But at the end of the day that's what will happen to them.

The next generation in my family, now in their 40's, with kids ranging from 5 to 9, are entrusting a lot of their stuff to the cloud, stashing it in places like Google Photos. I've preached to them about not relinquishing all control of their source material, but it doesn't really register. I keep hoovering up the stuff and building the family album, with things carefully dated and captioned. I suspect that once the little ones are off to college (or welding school, as the case may be), they'll be glad to have it.

For the older stuff, I've had to do a lot of detective work, coupled with deductive reasoning. My father, in his late 80's, reprinted a lot of family photos and ditched the original prints. Alas, he was getting a bit squirrelly, and the dates he put on things were sometimes way off. No, I don't think my sister was riding a tricycle when she was 7 months old. ;)

Anyway I really appreciate the work you put in providing skins that try to keep up with these changes in technology. Also really appreciate the support you give people like me through these forums.

Thanks for the kind words. Sometimes developing jAlbum skins is like wetting yourself in a seersucker suit - it gives you a warm feeling, but nobody notices.
ChrisRodgers

Posts: 14
Registered: 6-Oct-2005
Re: jGromit skins
Posted: 23-Sep-2019 04:26   in response to: JeffTucker in response to: JeffTucker
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Mars seems to have less capabilities than Neptune, is it lighter weight or less setup? What are the main reasons driving you to switch from Neptune to Mars?
JeffTucker

Posts: 6,979
Registered: 31-Jan-2006
Re: jGromit skins
Posted: 23-Sep-2019 04:49   in response to: ChrisRodgers in response to: ChrisRodgers
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Please read this first: https://jalbum.net/forum/thread.jspa?threadID=55522

In short, Mars is a skin that has the features that I want for my own use, without all the other stuff. It's lean and fast, and should be much easier to maintain, though I don't anticipate adding much in the way of new features. By the time I'm done, I'll probably end up using it for most of my own albums.

It's also an attempt to rein in the worst impulses of the infomaniac album creators I keep encountering, who think that their site visitors will enjoy being overwhelmed with material. All too often, they produce albums that are just a baffling ordeal. Mars makes it difficult to commit these sins. It also cuts out a lot of the options that just lead to clumsy, awkward page layouts.

Clearly, I'm not abandoning the other skins, but going forward, I think I'll leave it to Laza to take care of the "everything but the kitchen sink" album creators out there.

Actually, this all traces back to a single support email that David forwarded to me. A user was complaining that all of the jAlbum skins were just overloaded with distractions - boxes, borders, lines, popups, and extraneous information. She wanted to be able to present her images cleanly, without distractions. She wanted to be able to control spacing and fonts, which she felt were more important than all the other stuff. I decided she was right, and started moving in that direction.

It should be all about the images. Most of other nonsense is best ditched.

Edited by: jGromit on 29-Oct-2019 11:12 - typo. Reign, rain, and rein are not all the same thing.
ChrisRodgers

Posts: 14
Registered: 6-Oct-2005
Re: jGromit skins
Posted: 23-Sep-2019 06:11   in response to: JeffTucker in response to: JeffTucker
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Thanks for the link to the other thread. It looks like simpler and cleaner is much faster to execute... makes sense. I was looking at a bunch of your skins, it looks like most are min version of 17. Did jAlbum 17 have significant changes that caused most folks to update their skins and have that as min version? I am still using jAlbum 12.7.2, so I will need to upgrade to try out these newer/more updated skins.
JeffTucker

Posts: 6,979
Registered: 31-Jan-2006
Re: jGromit skins
Posted: 23-Sep-2019 14:43   in response to: ChrisRodgers in response to: ChrisRodgers
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It's usually not some big "feature introduction" that drives a skin to a newer version of jAlbum. More often, it involves something "under the hood." David might introduce a new API call that provides a more efficient way of doing something, something that the skin has been laboriously doing with a coding sledgehammer. The skin developer decides to use the new API call, getting rid of a bunch of clunky, awkward-to-maintain code. But that means that the skin requires the latest version of jAlbum.

The most recent change in my skins, which were compatible with jAlbum 15.2, was the fact that starting with jAlbum 17, jAlbum is bundled with Java 11. My IDE is running on Java 12. It was time to stop compiling to Java 8 binaries.
JeffTucker

Posts: 6,979
Registered: 31-Jan-2006
Re: jGromit skins
Posted: 24-Sep-2019 14:12   in response to: JeffTucker in response to: JeffTucker
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As if on cue, JDK 13 hit General Availability last week. Time marches on.
JeffTucker

Posts: 6,979
Registered: 31-Jan-2006
Re: jGromit skins
Posted: 15-Jan-2020 21:23   in response to: JeffTucker in response to: JeffTucker
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The features list is now online:

https://jgromit.com/features.html

There's a link to it on the home page:

https://jgromit.com/
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