Dynamic vs. separate images mode

Dealing with digital photo albums you can see two basically different modes of working. The traditional – one image per HTML page – and the dynamic, which changes the images on the same HTML page upon user interaction. This make a huge a difference on the possible features.

Dynamic mode

Sample album »

In this mode only the index page is created, and the large images are loaded through a script (javascript) on the same HTML page. This mode results in smooth transitions between images and less traffic, but social sites can't like or comment the images individually, and search engines can't find the images one-by-one, only the album.

Choose this mode if

  • You want smooth transitions or background music
  • You want to use Full screen mode
  • You have less than 500 images in a folder
  • Separate Like, or commenting is not paramount
  • Finding individual images through search engines is not important
  • You'd like to achieve less server load

Separate images

Sample album »

In this mode all large images are loaded on a separate HTML page, allowing the social sites and search engines treat the images individually, but no smooth transitions and continuous background music is possible this way. Also the page load times and web traffic might suffer.

Choose this mode if

  • Smooth image transition or background music is not important
  • No Full screen mode required
  • You have a huge number of images in a folder
  • Separate Like, or commenting is important
  • You want your images appear separately in search engines
  • Heavier server load is not a problem

Differences in detail

  Dynamic mode Separate images
Number of HTML pages One per folder Number of images + 1
URL format index.html#image.jpg slides/image.html
Can bookmark?
(and send)
using hash, see below
Search bots can find individual images Less probably
and they'll link to the gallery
Smooth transitions Yes No
Continuous background musicYes
in the same folder
Thumbnails strip
above the image
Only max. 15
5 previous - 10 next
Maximum number of images in a folder< 600
to avoid memory leak in poorly written browsers
~ 1000-2000
the number of page elements (thumbnails) is still limited
Like, Comment, +1, PinIt, Share complete foldersYesYes
Like, Comment, +1, PinIt, Share individual imagesNoYes
Tweet, Tumblr, Email individual imagesYesYes
Google MapsYesYes
Google Maps shows all placemarksYesmax 15
Can skip index page and auto-start slideshowYesNo
Can retain full screen modeYesNo
in most browsers it falls back to windowed mode with every page change
Image-sensitive jAlbum widgetsPartial
Commenting widget works, the others ignore it
Traffic browsing through an album~ 120 kB
per image
~ 180 kB
per image
Server requeststhe least possiblecca. 10x the amount as in dynamic mode
Page load timeOnly index page
images are loaded as fast as can
Every image is rendered on a separate html page
Google AnalyticsPer folderPer image

Setting up these modes

On jAlbum's Settings panel (F4 or Album » Settings) find the Pages tab. 1

  • Make slide pages = ON: jAlbum will generate a separate HTML page for all the images in the album – I will call this Separate images mode.
  • Make slide pages = OFF: jAlbum will only create one index.html page per folder, and showing the separate images is done dynamically by the skin on the same HTML page. This is the Dynamic mode.

Tracking the actual image in dynamic mode

To be able to follow the actual image the skin is using a technique (using internal links), which adds the image name after the URL the following way: http://somesite.com/album/index.html#thisimage.jpg. This makes it possible to bookmark, share individual images in dynamic albums, and also allows the browser's back and forward buttons to work within the album. A smart javascript function is monitoring the hash code in the URL, and instructs the album to load the appropriate image upon change. These anchors are not allowed by major social sites, unfortunately. I have no insider info on this matter, but I guess they don't want to allow dynamic pages to be shared, because they afraid of manipulation. They can't check out the contents upfront. Think of sharing a funny cat video to millions then showing offending content after a while. They are trying to maintain "link quality" on their sites, and I agree this is a necessary precaution.