Uploading images (first things first!)
After installation (which was a reasonably slick experience, although I was slightly confused by having to install apache2, php, and mysql first), Gallery neatly leads me through installing the first photos to my gallery. The browse dialog in which you select the photos you want to upload is slightly odd because as soon as you’ve selected the photos in the window, they start uploading. There is a ‘Done’ button but that seems to refer to having ‘done’ the upload, as opposed to having ‘done’ the selection of photos ready to upload – which is what I expected and was slightly surprised by the uploading starting before I expected it to. Wonder if this is intentional…cos it’s a little bit weird?
When the images have uploaded, they’re displayed in a tiled layout on the page (although, at the moment, the photos themselves don’t display – I guess that’s the joy of betas ;) ). The cool thing is that when you hover over a thumbnail, a small toolbar containing the most common tasks (edit, move to another album, set the photo as the highlight photo for the album, delete) appears over it. I did just try to take a screenshot but sadly I’ve forgotten my password so I can’t log back in…and the password reset function hasn’t been implemented yet…
Update: turns out I took some screenshots when I was playing:
Oo, can add tagz! (That *is* actually what I wrote in the notes I made.) You just enter a tag, one at a time, then press ‘enter’. Tags were the reason I was looking at Zen Photo when I became despairing of Gallery 2 (and wanted cool tags like I have in WordPress and Delicious, instead of just sorting by albums). It’s easy to manage the tags you’ve created from the menus (Admin > Content > Tags).
And then we get to album permissions. On Gallery 1, the permissions were slightly clunky but most could cope with them. On Gallery 2, the permissions were incomprehensible and when I googled for help I found other people who were similarly baffled and no actual answer to my problems. On Gallery 3, they’ve rightly got rid of the obviously UNIX-style permissions.
You can create different users and groups for your gallery. A reason for creating other users (who aren’t administrators) is so that you can section off albums so they can be selectively seen, for example, by family members, by friends, by work colleagues). When you create a user, you get the option to check the box ‘admin’ which presumably gives the user administrative access to the gallery. The users makes sense but I’m slightly confused as to the groups. I’ve nothing against the groups per se (I can see they might be useful for administrators of massive gallery sites) but I think groups should be an ‘advanced’ option that is not required for use by most people.
I can’t quite work out the ‘Registered Users’ group – it seems to get everything added to it apart from ‘guest’. I added TestGroup group and created two users (TestUser and test2) which I dragged and dropped to the TestGroup group. Worked nicely.
You set who can access each album by clicking Options > Permissions when that album is open, which opens the Edit Permissions dialog box. You then indicate the permissions that each group has on the current album. I like that you work by album but I’m not so sure about dealing with groups. I feel that it’s a bit of a ‘power user’ task to be working with groups – you have to have planned and organised your groups to be able to use this dialog effectively; it also adds a layer of complexity to understanding what permissions an individual user has.
Thinking of my friend who uses a gallery we host, she (and I) would find it a lot easier to work with the users themselves – maybe with a power user tab option to switch to working with groups. I’d much rather say that user ‘family’ can access this album, rather than set up a group called ‘family’ with a user called ‘family’ in it (there’d be little point, typically, to separate out different parts of the family to be multiple different users within the group). I agree that groups can be useful but I just don’t think they should be the default.
And finally, the slideshow facility (for viewers of your gallery rather than for you a gallery owner/administrator) is provided by a third-party Gallery plug-in which is a little slow to load but you get the option to install a browser plug-in that gives you some client-side loveliness.