ChristianBlog.Com is happy to announce that a long-planned update of our "Gallery" system has just been finished.
We last released a major update of our gallery system back on December 15th of 2006 and except for a few changes over the years it has remained pretty much how it was when we released it.
WE have known for quite some time that it was getting out-dated and over the last year it has been very much in need of a complete redesign.
After months of planning and five (5) solid days of development, we have now finished our (yours) latest update of the gallery/photograph section of the ChristianBlog.Com website.
We have made some pretty major changes with this update, including:
Some Specific Details:
Below are some of the specific details of a number of the above listed changes.
In regards to the change of what we call it. What it basically came down to is that the term "Photo Album" is more commonly recognized around the world as a place to store photographs, than the term "Gallery" is globally recognized. As ChristianBlog.Com continues to expand into more and more nations (this year we have had individuals from 203 countries/territories access the ChristianBlog.Com website) we have to think on a more global-scale of what terminology we use. We have also changed the website to use http://www.christianblog.com/photos/ instead of using the previous "Gallery" link. All links to the previous "gallery" will remain active for archival purposes for an undisclosed period of time.
In regards to the size of photographs that can be uploaded: In order to allow our members the ability to upload larger photographs (such as what modern cameras capture) we have had to reduce the size of the "large" photograph that is created when you upload a photograph. Previously when large photographs were uploaded we resized them to 1024-pixels in width. We have now decreased the "large" photograph size to 800-pixels. While this decrease should not be to drastic (ChristianBlog.Com is not a photograph hosting service after all) what it has done is allow us to increase our photograph file size from a max of ~1-meg to a max of ~6-megs. Most modern digital cameras capture photographs that are an average of 4-megs in file size, so this should work out very well.
Perhaps the most exciting new feature is the ability to create "Albums" which can be used to categorize your photographs into sections. We have created a very powerful and easy-to-use system for the creation and management of your Albums. Albums can be assigned just about any name you can think of, and you can optionally include a description and/or location for each Album you create. Members with free accounts can create three Albums. Pledge Partners can create twelve Albums and Gold Members can create twenty-one Albums.
Perhaps the second most exciting new feature is the ability to add comments to individual photographs! We use to offer this feature many years ago but it was removed over time. We have decided to bring it back and it works exactly like the rest of the websites commenting system. At this time we have decided to not include "replies" to individual comments. We highly doubt we will be adding 'replies' to the commenting system at any time in the future. As indicated above we have also integrated the Account Alerts into the commenting system, so each time you participate in a photographs comments, and somebody else also participates by adding a comment, you will receive our standard Account Alert.
One other nice bit of news is that we have increased the amount of photographs that our non-free members can upload. Free members will actually be reduced to having a maximum of three photographs that they can upload. Pledge Partners will now be able to upload 100 photographs and Gold Members will be able to upload 200 photographs.
One of the new features that have come about, as a result of the Photo Albums, is having a "cover picture" for each Photo Album. The way that this works is that the most recent photograph uploaded to the individual Photo Album is the picture that will be used for the Photo Album Cover art. There is no way to define or select an image to be used as the Photo Album Cover art. If you move a photograph from one Album to another Album it will not effect the Cover art either. Only the most recent photograph uploaded is what will affect the decision on what photograph is used.
Unlike in our previous "Gallery" members were never really able to edit the details of the photograph once they had been uploaded. We have now drastically changed that inability. Members are now able to edit every detail of their individual photographs, including the title of the photograph, the description and location, the Album that it is displayed within and whether it is a 'hidden' photograph or not.
We put a lot of thought into the privacy aspects of our members Photo Albums and individual photographs.
What we decided to do was to utilize the identical methods that we use for our members profile page and blog pages.
However we have also gone one-step further in that we will now deny all access to viewing Photo Albums and individual Photographs to individuals who are not a member of ChristianBlog.Com and who are not logged into the ChristianBlog.Com website. While this does decrease the availability of your Photographs being viewed by the entire world, we feel that this is a better step in the course of providing the levels of privacy that our members have come to expect from the ChristianBlog.Com Services.
We have tightly integrated the Account Privacy to define exactly who can access your Albums/Photos. It is important to understand that the "Anybody" option is non-applicable in this situation - for reasons explained above (of denying access to non-members). So if you are somebody who has chosen to only allow "Your Friends" to access your Profile/Blogs, you can rest assured that only your Friends will be able to view your Albums/Photographs as well.
We have also integrated the Minor-Access-Protection feature. This prohibits anybody from viewing the Albums/Photographs of a minor unless the person attempting to view the Album/Photograph is a "Friend" of the minor. This is the same as how the minors profile and blogs work.
And, we have of course integrated the Ignore List into the new Photos system as well. This keeps anybody who have do not want viewing your Albums/Photos from being able to do so.
So, in other words, every single level of privacy protection that ChristianBlog.Com offers is tightly integrated into the new Photos section that we have developed. It was a hard decision for us to make, but we know that the vast majority of our members highly value their privacy, so it was the right decision to make.
Additionally on the "privacy" side of the new system is the ability to define whether an individual photograph is displayed or not within your public Albums. Those familiar with the old Gallery system may remember that we had a feature that allowed you to hide a photograph from being displayed - for those times when you needed to upload a photograph to use within a blog, but not something you would want displayed within your Gallery. We have migrated this feature over into our new Photos system. It is called "Hidden" and you can define whether an individual photograph is "hidden" or not when you go to the individual photographs "edit" page - which you can access when you are viewing your individual photograph.
See It For Yourself:
You can now access your own new Photo Album system by clicking on the "Photos" (Under "Additional Navigation" at the top of the website) or by going directly to http://www.christianblog.com/photos/.
If you would like to see how it looks in all of its glory you can visit the new photo albums of the owner of the website at: http://www.christianblog.com/photos/?un=abelajohnb (you will need to be logged into ChristianBlog.Com in order to view it) - he has created a number of Photo Albums, and added a number of photographs into many of his albums, so everybody can see how the new system works.
Importing Your Old Gallery Content:
We thought long-and-hard about whether we should automatically migrate all of our 14,000 members existing "Gallery" data into our new "Photos" system. In the end we decided to not automatically import this information.
The reason for this is two-fold:
First, we know from looking at our numbers that over 95% of our members did not maintain an active Gallery, so doing an import would do nothing but 'litter' our brand new system with very unnecessary information.
Secondly, because we tend to think that the vast majority of our members are going to want to "start fresh". We realize that many of you are probably going to use our Photograph feature for the very first time in the next day or two, and that our members who have been around a very long time would probably just rather have a fresh and new Photo Album to start working with.
This explained, we have not decided to leave those who you who would like to import/migrate your old Gallery into the new Photo Albums, high-and-dry without any option to do so.
What we have done is put together an "import/migration tool" that will allow you to import/migrate all of your existing Gallery photographs into your new Photo Album. When you run the tool it will copy all of the data from your previous Gallery and move it into new Album that will be named "Imported". From there you can create new Albums and move them from the "Imported" Album into any of your newly created Albums. All "hidden/display" privacy factors will be respected during this import/migration.
The import tool can be run by clicking on this website link. Please be aware that as soon as you click on that link the import/migration will take place. There is no further warning.
In The Days/Weeks Ahead:
Over the next few days we will begin to slowly turn-off all of the features of our previous "Gallery" system. We are going to leave it as-is for the next few days to give our members a chance to make any changes they might want to do - if they desire to use the "import/migration" tool provided above.
Once we turn off all of the previous Gallery tools they will be gone for good. Having been over four years since they were created it will be nice to wave good-bye to them and look towards the next few years of service that our new photo album system can provide.
We have one last major feature that will be announced in the coming weeks - a feature that will be very awesome and very very helpful for our members. It is so exciting that we really want to share with everybody what it is, but we really don't want to share what it is because it will just be that much more exciting for us when we do get it finished and get to announce what it is. We have already began work on getting it prepared for development and it is really going to make this brand new Photo Albums system top-notch!
Thank You & Many Blessings,
Thank you and God bless you! I have just used the "photos" option and its so easy and fast! the pics uploaded in no time at all! thank you again for the improvments.
God bless you,
Just have to say I love the new way of doing the photos. I followed the instructions and found my old photos. I deleted many of the older ones and organized them into albums of related photos. I think it looks so much nicer this way. All my cats are in one place.