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Galleries and Grid 4

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Hi guys,

Am looking to develop an arts society site which includes lots of member and event galleries. One of the issues I see with Grid4 and Zentools2 is the one of front end editing image galleries (member only).

Can you see a way round this practical issue?

I am just itching for a reason to use the template....

Best wishes


Richard
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Hey Richard,

Yes that's a pretty big limitation really.

Joomla's front end editing is a bit limited and modules with advanced interfaces tend not to render very well.

If the user is able to create their own folders you could probably set up some modules to automatically reference from the user folders but there would be quite a bit of work involved in that I think.

It has given me some food for thought though in making some sort of helper tool that will do this automatically, so will see if this can come to fruition at some point down the track.

Thanks!
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Hi Richard

I'll share some ways we have approached similar workflow when it is not ideal to give users backend access but wish to still use zentools to display images. Our aim is simplify the user experience from the frontend, ie give them very few options and very clear instructions.

To grab the images we have used articles as the source for zentools. This gives us control to use title and text in the galleries and avoid worrying about file names. In the frontend we then set up a specific menu to just allow article creation by user group to a specific category, which in turn then allows us to target the category from zentools. If you want to go further you can also create a blog list in the frontend to allow users to edit/unpublish/delete articles to give a basic management system. Menu only shows once user logs into the site.

It takes bit of setting up and understanding of the Joomla acl. For the acl we use aclmanager.net to give an overview, a great time saver. You can further organise the images into folders based on user/category by using the function in JCE editor to put all uploaded images into specific folder, just create a custom profile in JCE. You can the grab just images from within zentools to display elsewhere.

A simpler way if you just want to dump images into a folder, with no frontend management, is to create a form that just uploads images to a specific folder. You can create a number of forms for your site. All management of images is then undertaken by a an admin in the backend. Zentools then grabs the images from the folder(s).

An alternative if you really need better management and control is a custom component to manage the gallery. We have used www.ignitegallery.com on several sites where gallery management is required on a user by user basis. We set up frontend access for users and managers to avoid any Joomla backend access requirement. The downside is you need to custom style it rather than use zentools.

I hope the above gives you a bit of steer and my thoughts.

Regards Ian
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Hi Anthony,

Yes we have built interfaces like this before using K2 and Simple Image Gallery Pro. It works fine with a single user but multi-user and front-end editing always makes it difficult to control the files and folders.

A gallery I know that does work for upload and "control" of the user is the Ignite Gallery. You can use this with Pupload to limit the size of image you upload. It provides a resized version which can then be used by ZenTools2 to output a gallery. No so good on captioning, however, which is important for the project in mind.

Great if a zentools2 variant comes along some time.

Best wishes


Richard
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Hi Ian,

I was so busy reading Anthony's reply, it was only then I got to yours. Thanks for all the details. Interesting you mention Ignite Gallery too.

I agree on the custom styling issues with this, but as I mentioned, we used the subsequent uploads to create zentools galleries in the past. We found using K2 with extra fields creates a good way of controlling the forms upload and display issues. It's the multi-user that tends to get a bit clunky. I like the idea of a custom user in JCE. That one hadn't occurred to me, I must say.

It seems odd that with uploads to Facebook, Instagram etc so easy that this should really be an issue at all in Joomla.

Thanks again for the input. Any more ideas gratefully received.


Best wishes


Richard
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Last Edit: 5 years 3 months ago by richarddhill.
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Hi Richard

I have always thought Joomla's handling of images rather weak from an end user perspective. Images just seem to confuse people in our experience.

We have been looking at ways to make the interaction of base users with the site easier and simpler, ways for them to just get tasks done, as in your case of putting images onto the site.

I used K2 regularly for some time but it never really handled things well with extra fields in my opinion, especially if you needed to export out data later to reuse. Plus the stated of K2 worried us as we needed to support clients.

Last year we built a site which needed lots of data entry using a form (Breezing Forms in our case) and Content Builder, also from Crosstec. This gave us, or allowed us to build in, all the things we needed. It did turn out rather more complex than we had hoped, especially with recent J updates, but we had it working and can access the data. We also used zentools to display images with captions.

In the last few months I have been looking at Seblod, following a discussion with the developers at the UK Joomla Day. It seems to work really well with core Joomla and would do all you wanted in terms of controlling images, their location and adding caption. I have also played with adding functionality to zentools, which is relative easy, Anthony has documented it in part. I have not used it yet on a live client site which will be the real test. My aim would be to use Seblod to make task really focused within Joomla, by taking away the stuff that most user don't need. At the moment it can answer most of the niggles I have been finding with Joomla and allows us to build both similar website and more complex applications for sites. If you are happy at the more geek end of things it may be worth a look, it does take a bit of time and is a steep learning curve until it clicks. If you are finding joomla restricting then Seblod may interest you and keeps you within the Joomla eco system rather than looking elsewhere.

The other options is to custom code a component/plugin, with a little knowledge it is not that daunting for simple stuff. Some good books and tutorials around for this if you have the time or client budget.

Just some more thoughts to explore. Of course Anthony may come up with a real simple solution within zentools in the meantime.

Regards Ian
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Hi Ian,

Thanks again. It's been a couple of years since I looked at Seblod. We did a joint venture with someone who was really keen on it. In most cases we have got K2 to do what we wanted, even to export the data it captured, but, as you say, making it easy for the user is really the key here, so that sounds well worth a look.

We have created customer specific modules and plugins previously and, yes, we could do this, but for something which ought to be so straightforward as image galleries and display, it seems overkill.

Maybe it will be what we have to come back to.

Obviously I will give a vote up for Anthony to create it instead. :)

Thanks again for taking an interest. Much appreciated.

Best wishes


Richard
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Hi Richard,

Just thinking about how you could go about this. And some of what I type will depend on whether each user will have multiple galleries.

If they don't then you could do this:

- Use JCE to limit image uploads to a folder
- In your template or page add a reference to {loadposition username}
- Then make an edit to Zentools that rather than using a specific folder as specified in the module you could create a new helper that references the folder for that particular user. So you set defaults for the module that make sense and then the module would automatically render the kind of display you want for your user.

I'd be happy to look at doing the custom helper as some custom work. The big thing hinges on how many galleries the user has.

Even then though you could specify another keyword variable to grab the sub folder.

eg on the workshop page reference images from username/workshop folder.

Hope that helps.
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