Impression of G2 Tests

Shadow_Wolf
Shadow_Wolf's picture

Joined: 2004-04-03
Posts: 181
Posted: Sun, 2004-07-25 05:32

URL: http://www.protoculturex.com/temp/main.php

Installation of G2 went fairly quickly and easy. I had to create the config.php file myself but I'm sure that will be corrected in the final release. Even having to do that I felt that it was easier to create and easier to understand than G1. I was impressed with that.

The look and feel of G2 is professional and clean, although I find it more cumbersome than G1. G1 had popups but when you only need them to do modifications there is no reason to always see links to them unless you need them. Most people have certain widths or layouts for their websites, the menu's in their current location make integration with those sites more difficult. Although I guess that depends on how easy it is to skin G2 compared to G1 because when it came to skinning G1 there was where its major flaw resided.

I had read that G2 would be easier to customize and skin. I'm not sure about the skin but there doesn't appear to be any differences other than the look and the cart integration. It is nice how they seperated things into different sections making it more clear what they effect, like layout, etc.

There is an issue with the way the gallery resizes if you resize your windows. It causes the image area to go under the menus and creates a large black space to the right of the menu. Hopefully that will be corrected with final release as well.

It is nice to have a mySQL integration and hopefully this will lead to better database as well as speedwise versus G1's method. It is a nice gallery graphically and I can't wait to see more however it hasn't wowed me yet. I haven't seen anything so far that would make me choose to move from G1 to G2, at this time that is. I'll be messing with it more to see how easy it is to skin and truly customize, time will tell.

I would like to recommend that the Square Thumbnail hack that was developed here be added. It should be an option for square thumbnails. Speaking of which that was something I noticed is missing, the ability to resize/resample thumbnails in a custom size that you want like we can with G1. Is there plans to readd this back in or am I just missing it?

 
Dextro
Dextro's picture

Joined: 2004-07-24
Posts: 3
Posted: Sun, 2004-07-25 09:22

You missed it :)
Click on "edit photo" in the sidemenu. And then you have a tab "crop thumbnail".
At the bottom you can set it to square.

I have also some comments.

  • I have a website that is fixed wide (800px). What are the options to see an image full size when it is bigger then my website?
  • About the square thumbnails. I think this is great, but it isn't so great that you have to do it one photo by one. Will there be (or is there) an option in the admin menu the take automatically an square thumbnail?

[/]

 
Shadow_Wolf
Shadow_Wolf's picture

Joined: 2004-04-03
Posts: 181
Posted: Sun, 2004-07-25 15:18

Aww I see more options to mess with. Its good to know that is there manually. the option for square thumbnails is differently great that was why I suggested they look at the hack above because it will do the whole gallery. They could include an option that would let the album user choose if he wants all his thumbnails croped to a square like it or use the current method. That would save them a lot of work of cropping it one by one for those that use square thumbnails.

For pictures over 800 px it would be nice to see it open into a popup window if it goes over the set width or final image.

 
bharat
bharat's picture

Joined: 2002-05-21
Posts: 7993
Posted: Sun, 2004-07-25 18:50
Shadow_Wolf wrote:
Installation of G2 went fairly quickly and easy. I had to create the config.php file myself but I'm sure that will be corrected in the final release. Even having to do that I felt that it was easier to create and easier to understand than G1. I was impressed with that.

The installer was rewritten right before the the alpha release so we're still working out some kinks with it. We'll iron those out before beta.

Shadow_Wolf wrote:
The look and feel of G2 is professional and clean, although I find it more cumbersome than G1. G1 had popups but when you only need them to do modifications there is no reason to always see links to them unless you need them. Most people have certain widths or layouts for their websites, the menu's in their current location make integration with those sites more difficult. Although I guess that depends on how easy it is to skin G2 compared to G1 because when it came to skinning G1 there was where its major flaw resided.

I had read that G2 would be easier to customize and skin. I'm not sure about the skin but there doesn't appear to be any differences other than the look and the cart integration. It is nice how they seperated things into different sections making it more clear what they effect, like layout, etc.

I know that you've been hard at work making modifications for G1 and posting in the customization forum. So I think that when you look under the covers with G2 you're going to be happy to find that it's XHTML Strict compliant and has a very strong CSS class structure that will let us do a large amount of our skinning with pure CSS. One of the big problems with G1 was that we intermingled PHP code with our HTML making it very difficult and confusing to make even the simplest of changes. By separating all of this out into different layers it's much clearer when you're modifying the appearance vs. when you're changing the functionality. This has allowed our UI guys who are less PHP savvy to get in there and make the application look really nice. Hopefully it'll help you out considerably also.

Another nice thing about this is that we have the concept of interchangeable layouts. A layout is a set of template files that lets you render an album or an image any way that you choose. If you switch between the standard Matrix layout and one of the other ones (like Hybrid or Slider -- Tile isn't really ready yet) you'll see how you can make the application look totally different. We can easily add in a layout that brings back popups if that's something you feel really strongly about. I've tried to avoid limiting our options in that arena because I know that people will want to do a lot of custom tuning of the final appearance of the application. And one really nice thing is that since the layouts are modular, you can create a new layout and share it by simply zipping up the layout directory and publishing it. Others can download the layout, unpack it in their G2 and then activate and use it via the admin pages. No code hacking required for the end user!

Other than that, for the original Matrix layout and theme we've aimed for something that's not too different from G1 so that there's an easier transition from one product to the next. That you're not seeing too many differences between the two products is in fact a good thing -- it means that we suceeded at restraining ourselves from getting too crazy with the capabilities that we now have at our disposal.

Shadow_Wolf wrote:
There is an issue with the way the gallery resizes if you resize your windows. It causes the image area to go under the menus and creates a large black space to the right of the menu. Hopefully that will be corrected with final release as well.

Ross, Chad and I (Ross and Chad are the G2 UI designers) went back and forth on this. The problem is that with G2 we really tried to Do the Right Thing and avoid using tables wherever possible. But when we're dealing with <div> elements that can float, we get into all kinds of weird situations when you resize the window and make it too small. This is a common problem on sites without tables. Now the good thing is that we can write a new layout (clone Matrix, modify it a bit) that uses tables instead of divs and get rid of this problem. But then we'll have all the "I love standards" guys on our case demanding to know why we're still using tables :-) It's a fine line and we're going to try to walk it. If you know of CSS tricks to avoid this problem I think we'd all appreciate the help.

Shadow_Wolf wrote:
It is nice to have a mySQL integration and hopefully this will lead to better database as well as speedwise versus G1's method. It is a nice gallery graphically and I can't wait to see more however it hasn't wowed me yet. I haven't seen anything so far that would make me choose to move from G1 to G2, at this time that is. I'll be messing with it more to see how easy it is to skin and truly customize, time will tell.

The interesting thing about database integration is that it's given me the option to make a much more ambitious product. G2 has a lot more capabilities than G1, which will be more apparent when we get beyond G2.0. Unfortunately, this has made G2 a heavier product so at the moment it's definitely on the slow side. We're working on that, though so stay tuned.

Shadow_Wolf wrote:
I would like to recommend that the Square Thumbnail hack that was developed here be added. It should be an option for square thumbnails. Speaking of which that was something I noticed is missing, the ability to resize/resample thumbnails in a custom size that you want like we can with G1. Is there plans to readd this back in or am I just missing it?

As Dextro pointed out, the crop thumbnail feature is still around. But that's not what you want. Here is where G2 really shines. In G1 in order to do the square thumbnail hack you had to go in and modify some of the core code to make it work, then maintain this hack through subsequent releases of G1 (with varying amounts of pain depending on what the dev team changed in those releases).

In G2, you can write a new "square thumbnail" module which uses a graphics toolkit to generate the thumbnails the way you want, and you can make it a higher priority toolkit than the other ones so that it's used to render thumbnails. It can obey our module API, will be easily shared (just like layouts, the end user just has to download it into their modules directory and then install/activate it via the admin interface) and will continue to work as we develop the product since the developers will take care not to break the module API. This is as it should be -- you'll be freed from having to do nitpicky support work on your library of cool hacks every time a new version of Gallery is released. The feature will be available to whoever wants it, but will be easily disabled if you don't choose to use it without bloating the core code. We can (and will) build a library of cool module-based features, just like this.

Let us know how your investigation goes :-)

 
Dextro
Dextro's picture

Joined: 2004-07-24
Posts: 3
Posted: Sun, 2004-07-25 22:54

This is the first time I get such a nice comment from a developer, congratulations. :)

I'll test it for sure, the alpha testing was really a relief to me. It will be the best photo gallery software for sure. 8)

 
Shadow_Wolf
Shadow_Wolf's picture

Joined: 2004-04-03
Posts: 181
Posted: Mon, 2004-07-26 00:39
Quote:
We can easily add in a layout that brings back popups if that's something you feel really strongly about.

Maybe not necessarily bring back popups just make sure the menu's wouldn't be interfering with a site that uses a left and/or right columns. Perhaps placing the options above the actual gallery so that if the gallery is integrated within a site the left/right/header are untouched, meanwhile the content in the center is the admin part they wanted to access. You could almost even use a javascript like some portal systems use to collapse that top menu so if someone is logged in as admin it won't be cumbersome and allow them to browse through the gallery quickly and effeciently.

Maybe you have plans for something like that already, I'm not sure. It was just with the left margins it would look funny to have a left menu, then have another menu next to that with the gallery options then the galley, the flow graphically is just strange.

Quote:
But then we'll have all the "I love standards" guys on our case demanding to know why we're still using tables It's a fine line and we're going to try to walk it. If you know of CSS tricks to avoid this problem I think we'd all appreciate the help.

I can understand this since its always an argument tables vs divs and depending on the year it goes back and forth. None of them are bad its just the overuse of say tables can be and thats when people start referring to use divs. The problem is though that divs are also limited, they all have strengths and weaknesses. When you think about the customer using gallery almost every person has a site with tables, a few of the people who program and know more use divs. The best bet is to have an option to use a layout that uses tables or one that uses div, then it lets the user choose. People can ask why your still using tables but that would only come up if they didn't have the option to use divs which they would.

Quote:
This is as it should be -- you'll be freed from having to do nitpicky support work on your library of cool hacks every time a new version of Gallery is released. The feature will be available to whoever wants it, but will be easily disabled if you don't choose to use it without bloating the core code. We can (and will) build a library of cool module-based features, just like this.

The module design is always a good idea. I use a portal system which is based in modules, once you learn how to build the modules its just a matter of creating it using html/php or whatever your comfortable with. Then the system allows you to call the module up. It would be great if a lot of the common used hacks are included with the Gallery, one should definitely be the square thumbnails.

I look forward to seeing more and will continue to play around with the G2 system. Thank you for taking time to talk about my opinions.

 
bharat
bharat's picture

Joined: 2002-05-21
Posts: 7993
Posted: Mon, 2004-07-26 05:44
Shadow_Wolf wrote:
I look forward to seeing more and will continue to play around with the G2 system. Thank you for taking time to talk about my opinions.

Excellent. I'm aware of how much time you've invested into modifying G1 and I value your opinion, so please do report back with any suggestions or criticisms. Thanks!

 
Shadow_Wolf
Shadow_Wolf's picture

Joined: 2004-04-03
Posts: 181
Posted: Mon, 2004-07-26 18:29

Here is one of the current dilema's I'm having with G1. Would you say that this could be resolved with G2 or am I still going to have the same issues?

http://gallery.menalto.com/index.php?name=PNphpBB2&file=viewtopic&t=18962

 
mindless
mindless's picture

Joined: 2004-01-04
Posts: 8601
Posted: Mon, 2004-07-26 20:51

Customization should be much easier with G2.. templates/global.tpl is a wrapper for every G2 page. You can put any site customization (headers, sidebars, etc) in this file .

 
bharat
bharat's picture

Joined: 2002-05-21
Posts: 7993
Posted: Tue, 2004-07-27 00:50

I'm not familar with MK Portal so it's hard for me to tell whether or not G2 is going to help you with the problem. G2 does make it easier for you to modify all pages at once (as mindless mentions). However, if it's the case that MK Portal must include Gallery (instead of the other way around) then my guess is we'd have to create a MK Portal module to wrap G2 and go that route. That will require some coding and without knowing MK Portal in detail I can't tell you how easy or hard it will be (except to say that it will probably be easier with G2 than with G1).