After more than two years in development, we are finally ready to take the wraps off the next release of Gallery Server. I can’t tell you how excited I am to finally start talking about this publicly.
- New ribbon UI
- New, more efficient workflow for creating albums, moving/copying, assigning thumbnails, rotation and more
- New image editor allows cropping, resizing, color adjustments and more
- New HTML editor
- New Media Queue page
- Allow viewing high resolution original files in web browser
- Image property edits can be embedded in the original file
- Support batch metadata writing to original files
- New caching algorithm improves performance – only changed items are purged
- Improved support for high DPI devices
- Improved touchscreen support
- Improve usability of admin pages on small devices
- Support for Canon CR2, Nikon NEF, Adobe Illustrator AI and PostScript PS files
- Free version now gets the same UI templates as high-end editions (tag clouds/tag trees, PayPal & Facebook templates)
- Support for auto-logon using Windows credentials (aka Windows Authentication – great in AD environments!)
- AD group role provider – use existing AD groups instead of creating new roles
- Up to 50% faster synchronization times
- 80% faster ZIP download performance
- Album structure preserved in ZIP downloads
- Better performance on constrained memory servers
- CSS changes are preserved during upgrades
- Allow manual sorting as default sort option
- New ‘loop’ slideshow option
- Support specifying a role that users are always a member of
- Takes advantage of full ImageMagick installation, resulting in improved image support
- Allow any media asset to serve as the thumbnail for an album
- Album breadcrumb menu and login/search dialogs now in UI template
- Easier adding, editing, and deleting file types
- Extracts people tags written by Windows Photo Gallery
- Improved iframe support
- Improved HTML rendering performance for large albums
- Faster date/time sorting algorithm
- Dozens of bug fixes, performance tweaks, and stability improvements
- New low cost version called Gallery Server Home and Nonprofit that has support for SQL Server and several features you won’t find in the free version.
We’ll spend several blog posts digging into the details. Let’s start with a few of my favorite new features.
New ribbon UI
A new ribbon toolbar replaces the Actions menu. It gathers together tasks in one convenient location and improves the visibility of the available options.
This screenshot shows the default view when a user first navigates to the gallery. There is a single VIEW tab with options for starting a slideshow, downloading, and more. Drop down arrows let users choose the default size of media assets, slideshow options, and more.
When not needed, click the tab to collapse the ribbon toolbar:
Additional ribbon tabs appear when you log in with an account that has edit or admin permission.
In Gallery Server 3.X, copying an item required five clicks and three postbacks. In 4.0, we eliminated the postbacks and reduced mouse clicks. Plus you’ll see faster page performance after any kind of edit, thanks to the improved cache algorithm. More on that in another post.
The Admin and Settings ribbon tabs take you to many of the same places you are familiar with in 3.X.
The ribbon is responsive, maintaining touch-friendly button sizes on small screens and saving space by eliminating the text:
The ribbon maintains state on a per-browser-tab basis, meaning if you have it collapsed in one tab and open in another, the gallery will respect that on subsequent page loads.
More efficient workflow
In 3.x, you typically invoke a task from the Actions menu, where it takes you to a page dedicated to performing that task. For 4.0, we got rid of most of those pages and replaced them with AJAX functions in the ribbon toolbar. Now you can create an album, move/copy items, delete and more without having to leave the page you’re on, and you can do it regardless of whether you are looking at the album thumbnail page or a single media asset.
Create an album
Earlier you saw how easy it is to copy an item. Moving works the same way. Let’s look at a few more examples, starting with creating a new album.
In version 3.X, there were three separate task pages for deleting items on the Actions menu – Delete objects, Delete original files, and Delete this album, plus a delete button above the media object. These functions have all been rolled into a single delete ribbon button.
While 3.X let you choose any media asset in the album to serve as the album’s thumbnail image, you could only pick an asset from that album. Version 4 lets you assign an item to any album in the gallery. In this example we select an image and assign it to the grandparent album.
In addition to the rotate function we had in 3.X, you can now flip on the horizontal and vertical axis. Rotate and flip works for videos in addition to images and can be applied in a batch against several items at once.
We owe a special thanks to Stephen Dcruz from Integranet for giving us the idea for the ribbon UI. He contacted us in September 2015 to show us the ribbon he added to his Gallery Server installation. The ribbon buttons in his version were basically links to the existing task pages, but it really got us thinking how a ribbon could improve the discoverability, usability, and efficiency of different tasks. Although it was late in the 4.0 dev cycle, we just fell in love with the idea and pushed back the release a few months to make it happen.
So thanks again to Stephen!
When is it going be available?
We just scratched the surface of what’s new in Gallery Server 4.0. In the coming weeks we’ll dig into more features. For now, I imagine the big question is when will it be released? We don’t have a hard date but we’re targeting the end of May. Nearly all the hard work is done; now we’re doing final performance and reliability testing. Things are looking very good and we’re excited to get it into your hands!