By now you may have created your first album using ExhibitPlus, and you might be curious to find out what else you might be able to do with the skin. The good news is that there are many customisable features which make the task of modifying certain parts of the skin very easy.
Most features can be switched on and off via user variables. These are set in the skin's graphical user interface (see section above).
For a full list of variable names and detailed explanation of their use, please consult the reference section.
You will find a folder in the skin directory called "Optional files to be copied to image source directory". These files can potentially alter the behaviour of the skin, and in some cases they may be required. Check this directory and look at the contents of some of these files. At the present time the following files can be used:
For a full explanation about how to use each of these files please consult the reference section.
Each folder needs to have a description entered for it. Create or copy a meta.properties into each folder where your source images are stored. The meta.properites file contains a line that should look something like this:
descript = Our holiday pictures from 1999
meta.properties can contain other fields - for example, to use an alternative folder name instead of the file system's name for the folder, or to specify a particular thumbnail to be displayed instead of the standard folder icon. For more details please consult meta.properties in the reference section.
Language support is included. You'll find a list of the supported languages under the "General" tab of the ExhibitPlus user interface in jAlbum. By selecting a different language all text strings in the resulting album output will be translated automatically. Would you like your album to appear in a language which is not supported? No problem, all you have to do is to locate the file called texts.properties in the ExhibitPlus directory. If you wanted to have text translated into Arabic you would make a copy of the file and name it texts_ar.properties. Now open the file you've just created and simply translate the text to the right of the equals symbol into the language of your choice. Do this for each line in the file and save the file. Reload ExhibitPlus and you'll see your chosen language appear in the list of choices.
If you make a new translation for ExhibitPlus, please submit it so that other users may also benefit from it.
How might you go about changing the appearance of the skin? What sort of things could you do?
Maybe you don't like the colour scheme? Why not use an alternative style sheet? You'll see that the default style sheet called "dark.css" gives all of the pages a dark appearance. Maybe you would prefer a lighter background? Try selecting different style sheets and see if you like the alternatives a little better.
Would you like to also include image names or image comments under the thumbnails on the index page? This is very easily achieved by setting the imageCommentUnderThumbnail and imageNameUnderThumbnail variables to true ("Show thumbnail name" and "show thumbnail comment" on the ExhibitPlus tab).
You should be aware that setting either of these 2 options causes the default behaviour of the index pages to change. By default a "free flowing" mode is employed where the number of rows and columns of the thumbnail images are set dynamically according to the width of the user's browser. Some variables will cause the way images stack next to each other to be altered. This is explained in further detail in the following sections.
You may have already noticed that setting the number of rows and columns in jAlbum seems to have no effect on this skin. This isn't strictly correct, it's just that by default "free flow" mode is employed and thumbnail images will automatically fill all the available space in the user's browser. Many people prefer this arrangement, since it cuts down on wasted space. The setting of the number of rows and columns in the jAlbum user interface still affects the total number of images displayed on each index page. For example if you select 8 rows and 4 columns, 32 images will be displayed per index page, though the number of actual rows and columns will be different depending on the size of the browser.
You can force fixed format mode using the fixedFormatIndexPage (or "Display fixed format" on the ExhibitPlus tab).
It is also important to note that even when the free flowing mode is used there are still some circumstances where the formatting of the thumbnail images may be affected. Using the default settings for ExhibitPlus inline formatting will be used, but once certain variables have been changed from their default then block formatting may be used. Block and inline formatting are HTML 4 terms, and it is not important at this stage to understand them in depth, but those users who are interested may find more information here.
The important part for the user of the skin is to understand is that no differences will be seen in the way the thumbnails are laid out on the page, as long as all the thumbnails have the same vertical resolution (or put simply: height). Inline formatting handles this issue much better. Taller images push against the row above and create an empty area above the shorter images on either side of the row. However, in block formatting mode taller images can cause large blank areas to be shown to the left of some images. This almost always creates undesirable results. Unfortunately this effect is unavoidable as some variables require the use of <div> tags within the HTML, and use of these tags automatically cause block formatting to be used. However, there are ways to work around this issue, and users of this skin should think about using some of the following techniques if they have thumbnails of differing heights (for example portrait and landscape thumbnails)
In order to minimise any undesirable effects caused by the use of free flow mode with block formatting, the user of the skin has several options available to them:
Ultimately it will be up to you how to best handle these various situations. If you are lucky you won't need to do anything, but if you find that you aren't getting the results you would like to, the information above might be of some use.
There are a few ways to add comments to images.
image_name1 = This is the description for the first image
At the time when you generate your album you have to choice to decide whether you also make original images available for download. You should take a number of things into consideration when you make this choice:
If you do decide to include original images there are a number of advantages (which are covered in detail a little later):
If you do wish to include original images, ensure that you click the "Link to originals via scaled images" radio button on the "Image linking" box in the "Main" tab in the jAlbum user interface.
You must also consider that linking just ensures that any generated HTML contains links to the original images themselves. You must also ensure that the original images are actually present in the output directories. You can copy them there yourself, but the easiest method is simply to ensure either the "Copy originals" or "Output to image directory" check boxes are ticked.
Normally, when a viewer clicks on the center of a slide image they are taken back to the index page. If original images have been included they will be taken into "full-screen mode" instead. In full-screen mode the original image will be displayed, except that the width is scaled to fit the browser window. This means for some images a small amount of vertical scrolling may be required.
The following diagrams demonstrate the navigation possibilities in various modes. Index1 is an example folder containing the images Slide1 and Slide2. Index... represents further folders containing other images.
The display in full-screen mode looks a little different, in that the navigation buttons appear over the top of the image itself. For information about how to disable the buttons in this mode please refer to fullScreenButtons. In this mode it is also possible to start a slide show, and when the slide show starts the navigation buttons will not be displayed. They will return if the slide show is stopped, or if the end of the folder is reached. Keyboard shortcuts, if enabled, will still be available.
From full-screen mode it is possible to enter "zoom" mode. Once the viewer selects the zoom icon (or keyboard shortcut "z") from full-screen mode they see the unscaled original image. Depending on the native resolution of the image they will then have to make extensive use of the horizontal and vertical scroll bars (or arrow keys) to see various different parts of the image. No slide show function is available in zoom mode. To exit from zoom mode, simply click on the image itself, press the "z" key or use the "Page Up" key. Naturally the back button on the browser can always be used.
If you have an album which will always be viewed in full-screen mode you may wish to skip the slide stage altogether. You can do this by selecting "bypass slide mode" in the user interface, or enabling the jumpDirectFullscreen variable. In this mode clicking on an index thumbnail will take the viewer directly to full-screen mode. If the user navigates up to the previous level, they will find themselves at the index page again.
Navigation between the various modes can be performed via the use of keyboard shortcuts (if enabled), or by selecting the various navigation buttons. Different buttons and keyboard shortcuts have different effects depending on which screen (or mode) you are currently viewing. Please note that in slide mode, a viewer can see a small icon providing help for keyboard shortcuts. If the viewer clicks on this icon a small summary of the available keyboard shortcuts will be displayed.
In order to demonstrate the intuitive nature of the keyboard shortcuts, each keyboard shortcut will be separately listed here, and its use in various modes will also be detailed.
By default a small coloured icon will appear at the bottom right corner of slide images. This will allow your viewers to order prints of images from shutterfly.com. You can disable this via switching off "link images to shutterfly.com" on the ExhibitPlus tab or the variable shutterfly. Please note that if you wish to use this feature it is a very good idea to also include your original images with the album so that higher resolution prints will be possible.