While giving support for Turtle skin some of the questions pop up from time to time. I gathered here some of the most frequently asked ones.
Where can I change this or that?
I’m aware finding the Settings window isn’t obvious sometimes. You can go to settings either by clicking the “gears icon” below the project on the left hand side or clicking the “skin icon” next to the selected skin or choose the “Album » Settings” menu. The skin’s proprietary settings are gathered on the skin tab (called “Turtle” for example).
One of the most appreciated aspects of jAlbum is the ability to customize albums to fit your requirements. It is therefore important that we have a thriving skin developer community. These days it’s more common to see updates to a smaller set of album skins than to actually see new skins emerge. We believe this is much due to the higher expectations users have when it comes to standards compliance, features and visual appearance. It can also be a daunting task to modify existing skins as they have grown in code size and features – you easily break things. Some skins may also have a licensing model that doesn’t allow modification.
The Minimal skin was initially made to be minimal enough to encourage people to base their skins on it, but it is old, both with regards to html+css style and visual look. We have therefore designed a skin that should be the perfect blend: Basic enough to encourage you to base your modifications and new skins on it, but with a current code style, feature set and look. Welcome “Base” skin!
Base skin has a simple, well-documented HTML 4.0 / CSS 2.1 (3) structure, still sporting tons of advanced features. The features were transplanted from my other skins (e.g. Turtle) – metadata formatting by templates, breadcrumb path, custom background image, site colors, fonts and watermarking to name a few. These will spare you a lot of time, thus you can focus on the important things: the HTML stucture and styling.
A total of 33 styles plus 49 sub-styles. Click on the thumbs to see a working example!
A large JAlbum with hundreds or thousands of image can overwhelm a visitor. Often, only parts of it are of interest to a specific set of viewers, ie Family or Friends sub-albums. One’s artistic images may well be missed by the casual browser!
In a prominent place (say, at the top, so it’s seen first), place a “Favourites“, “Best Of” or “My Selection” album …. a group of say 40-50 images that give a flavour of the site, something to whet the appetite and entice a visitor to explore further. To facilitate this, a slide comment link can be used to take the user directly to the folder where the image in question resides.
Chameleon will include a header and footer if they are in the GUI (
Settings > Header/Footer) or as plain text files named header.inc and footer.inc, respectively, located in an Image Source Folder or the Skin Folder (JAlbum/skins/Chameleon). The header is placed below the control bar and the footer at the bottom of the page. They give further control over formatting, are independent of the rest of the page contents, and can be used in addition to the Custom Link entries on the
Chameleon > Album information tab.
Chameleon’s “Enhanced Picture” is a wonderful feature that allows for a more pleasing album look. It allows one picture to be displayed in large size for each folder, and is well documented in the Help.
The recent addition of a comment with the Enhanced Picture enables more artistic freedom; this tutorial presents a few interesting uses related to “hidden folders“. See the tutorial Hidden or Private Folders. The Enhanced Picture comment can be used as an effective “Folder Link” to part of an album that is (but does not have to be) excluded or hidden.
JAlbum recognises ” .thm ” files, the small image file that is often created by digital cameras for a movie, and skins display the .thm image in the index page thumbnails and slide page thumblist. The thumbnail is used as an alternative to the skin’s generic movie icon. Clicking the icon plays the corresponding movie in the slide page.
Maintaining large albums and combining existing ones into one can be a bit more complicated. If you have a large number of albums already added to the site you might not want to rebuild the whole album again each time you add new albums. In this case you can handle the sub-albums individually and finally make a master album of all. This technique has some drawbacks though:
- When creating the master album JAlbum does not process the sub-albums, thus cannot compute the number of images inside them. You will see: Trip to London (0 images).
- You will have duplicate ‘guestbook’ folders in each subalbum — need to be managed individually.
JAlbum can be controlled from the command line (known as Console Mode), and generally accepts the same parameters that you are able to set through the graphical user interface (GUI).
There is a lot of Console Mode information readily available on the JAlbum website (see http://jalbum.net/consolemode.jsp , which gives the list of allowed parameters and their defaults) and JAlbum Forum (for examples, see Automatically process sub-Projects and Making a multi-skin album in one pass). Note that the command line and GUI do not exactly mirror each other, and that there are some oddities to be aware of (ie the “Ignore Pattern” is one). User-defined variables are passed as -user.yourVariable “Value”, while skin-defined variables have a -skin prefix.
Creating multi-lingual albums is pretty straightforward with Chameleon. Make sure you have Chameleon v4.10 at least (Settings / Chameleon / About).
1. Setup the album the usual way
2. Add comments
Add the comments (or descriptions of folders) and titles this way:
Default text - [en]English text[de]Deutsch text[it]Italian text
Default text - English text // on english page
Default text - Deutsch text // on deutsch page
Default text - Italian text // on italian page
or without using default:
[en]English text[de]Deutsch text[it]Italian text
English text // on english page
Deutsch text // on deutsch page
Italian text // on italian page