Gallery 2 has been the topic of most news on gallery.menalto.com for a number of months now. The new version of this widely used web-based photo gallery software has introduced several radical changes. The most interesting is use of a database to serve images, completely hiding the location of photos from all users of the gallery, while still allowing access to these images via gallery-specific URLs. The new version of gallery will allow great leaps and bounds in security and community, at least as soon as development catches up with Gallery version 1.
Gallery has always been based in PHP, but has thus far used configuration text files for storing the locations of all images and user information, as well as preferences. Gallery 2 will now employ a centralized database with the ability to support multi-site installations. I installed the full gallery package, which is about 70MB with all the optional packages, but the remote site only takes up about 1.5MB (at least the one I installed seems to use that much space, and it's mostly in the albums folder where it caches the data, not really the installation directory. That is a great feature for web hosts like me with several clients, all with their own photo galleries.
Also on the storage front, users of G2 may now be organized into groups, and optionally given a disk space quota based on the amount of hard drive space their images occupy. One small but useful feature is the ability to give each registered user their own gallery when they register: this task used to be done manually.
Other great upgrades include a theme system, similar to most modern Content Management Systems, allowing real freedom of design—especially compared to the old G1 'skin' system. This means the same codebase can now support infinite layouts, limited only by the designer's imagination and skill. Similarly, extensions to Gallery 2 are now handled though a module-based system, which should prove to be much more user-friendly for administrators than editing PHP files by hand. Several modules ship included with Gallery 2, but they can be turned on and off via a simple user interface.
Aside from the exceptionally large install of the initial 'server' codebase, the new Gallery is a snap to set up. Just turn it on, locate a few directories, and no—more—binaries. Anyone who set up gallery before in shared hosting knows it was an adventure if your host didn't support ImageMagick or NetPBM. Now users will be pleased to learn that Gallery 2 supports GD, a graphics library that often comes pre-compiled into PHP. Following along with the help file, I was able to get an instance of Gallery 2 running reliably inside of 10 minutes, maybe less. Wonderful. Just give me some defaults, and let me sort it out later.
Good job, kids. Love the new Gallery.
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