Yes, after three days slogging at my computer, the next release of MiniGallery is finally available. It’s still technically beta, which means I take no responsibility if it all goes pear-shaped, but you are welcome to download it and use it if you are prepared to take the risk. I’ve tested it rigorously though, on all the browsers available to me (Safari, Firefox (Mac and PC), Opera (Mac and PC), Internet Explorer 6 and 7) and I’m reasonably satisfied that it’s safe to release to the world.
New in this release are improved themes, dynamic watermarking of images, improved handling of apostrophes in folder and file names, intermediate image previews (clicking a photo in the gallery brings up a screen-sized preview, clicking that gives you the full image), and a few new themes.
I’m actually particularly pleased with one of the themes I designed for it, called Memories. I was looking through some old photo albums the other day (as in real-life albums, with actual printed photographs in them, from before the days of digital), and it struck me that we are entering an age where gathering round an album like that may be a thing of the past. That is a shame. So I created a MiniGallery theme that reflects the same sort of feel as a traditional photo album, with each photo ‘stuck’ to the page by its corners, like photos in a scrap book. Of particular note for those who know about CSS and design is the way the photos have been cropped – portrait images are scaled so you can see the whole of them, but landscape photos scale to the same height and cut off the left and right edges. This is partly because scaling the width causes CSS problems (too complicated to go into here), and partly because it actually creates quite an interesting effect, almost zooming in on the centre of the image, which in many cases is quite artistic. There is also (on good browsers like Firefox) a bit of transparency going on – by default the images are ever-so-slightly faded, and come to life only when you hover your mouse over them.
This theme isn’t on display on the main MiniGallery web site (it is however downloadable from the CSS Themes page), but I am currently using it on my PhotoLounge and PhotoLounge Extra, so feel free to take a look at those to see it in action.
There are of course still things to do, I guess there always will be. Apart from creating more themes, my friend Phill has requested that I put back the drop down list to choose how many images to display on each page. I took this out mainly for convenience because it was going to be complicated to get it to work, but I expect I ought to put it back eventually! It would also be nice to have the images sorted by date rather than alphabetically by name, so that’ll be something to add next time round too. I also need to integrate it into MODx as a snippet so that I can use it on some of my other sites – it should be fairly straightforward, it’s already designed to be easy to integrate into other pages. The hardest part will be making sure MiniGallery knows where it is relative to the page it’s being displayed on, but that’s not going to be a huge challenge!
Do have a play and let me know what you think of it, and feel free to recommend other features you’d like to see in the next release…