Up and Coming Album Upgrade

May 26 08

Up and Coming Album Upgrade

Paul Weinstein

Deep within the Zoomshare office resides a collection of servers running a duplicate copy of our application for development and testing. Within this damp lab the mad hacker/programmers, including yours truly, slave over every line of code, looking to improve performance and reliability.

About once a week a service bell rings summoning us from our dungeon to “The Meeting Place” where that week’s directive is read to all within ear shot. For the past few weeks the directive has repeated, exactly the same, like a drum beat, over and over “Improve Photo Albums, Improve Photo Albums”. Then with little warning we are pushed back down the stairs to our lab, deprived of sunlight and all but bread and water, until one day at the Sacred Council of Fogg the Stone of Wine declares “It is done!”

Eh, ok, maybe not quite like that. Yet, we do indeed work everyday on improving Zoomshare and indeed for the past few weeks within our lab environment we have been focusing on enchantments to photo albums and soon those changes will be seeing the light of day. That of course brings us to the big question: What in Photo Albums will be changing?

Album Changes: Navigation
First and foremost the biggest change to Zoomshare sites for visitors will be a new navigation scheme, designed to allow a visitor to easily move between individual images and removal of the awkward “pop-up window”.

At first, navigating images within album looks the same; first a list of albums in alphabetical order, followed by a collection of thumbnail images representing the various sorted images within an album.

Thumbnail Album VIew
Thumbnail View

However, everything changes after the next mouse click. Previously when a visitor clicked on a thumbnail image a pop-up window would open with a full-size view of the image. Within the upcoming change upon mouse click the thumbnail view will disappear and be replaced with a new “mid-size” view of the image.

The new mid-size view has the following enchantments:

  • Mid-size view of image
  • Embed Codes for the image <– More on this in a bit
  • Previous & Next navigation to view album images at the mid-size “level”
  • If a free site, a new ad space

Mid-size Album VIew
Mid-size View

To view a full or originally uploaded size, a simple mouse clink on the mid-size image will do the trick. However instead of a pop-up window, which most web browsers restrict these days, a “lightbox” effect is in place in which the image opens in a “modal dialog box“. Simply put everything within the browser window is “grayed out” to draw focus to the image “on top of” everything else.

Full-size Album VIew
Full-size View

Album Changes: Embed Codes
With the addition of the mid-size view to photo albums another element the “Share” or “embed codes” have been added alongside each image to enable sharing of your images among visitors to your site and the web in general. Depending on the size of the image each image will either have a collection of Small & Original or Small, Medium and Large code for embedding the image into a web page or bulletin board.

In addition each image will include a URL to use in instant messages or emails as well as the embed code for the Zoomshare Flipbook Widget containing the whole album in which the individual image is a part of.

Use of these embed codes is similar to other codes found on the web today; the visitor simply uses their ever handy copy and paste abilities to select and copy the embed code they wish to use, then paste that code into the desired location as needed.

Selecting Embed Codes
Selecting Share Code for Embedding

Album Changes: Console
Don’t want your images to be “shareable” by your site visitors? No problem, within console a new album setting allows a Zoomshare user to control which, if any, albums are “shareable”. By default all albums are, so if you wish to limit which albums provide share information one simply needs to disable the feature as desired.

Enabling Embed Codes
Console Disable/Enable Share Information

Even if a Zoomshare user wishes to disable Share information for the outside world, within console the embed codes for any image can still be found for use within Zoomshare pages or elsewhere.

To access this new Share information within console two new features have been added to the Add & Sort Photos section of the photo album console. A “Share” link above each new image provides for that image’s embed codes when desired. Simply click on the Share link to reveal the necessary information.

In addition to the Share link, the embed codes for each image are also provided in the Info section of each image, just in case.

Selecting Embed Codes within Console
Share Information within Console

Back to the Pit of Despair
As with all change it will take a little bit of time for the dust to settle. If anything seems amiss or if you have a suggestion, comment or feedback, please do send them our way at: customerservice at zoomshare dot com. But with any luck the Shared Wizards of Zoom will declare “It is Good.”