NextGEN Gallery
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Photocrati Media

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Version:
1.9.5
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Summary

NextGEN Gallery is the most popular photo gallery plugin for WordPress, and one of the most popular WordPress plugins of any kind, with over 5 million downloads. It has some advanced features, like the image uploader, the watermark and the cropped thumbnails.

Full Review of NextGEN Gallery

NextGEN Gallery, with more than 5 million downloads, is one of the most popular WordPress plugins of all time. It was recently acquired by Photocrati Media and great things are coming with the merge.

The plugin makes it easier to manage and organize your photos in Galleries and Albums. You can create thumbnails, galleries, slideshows or watermarks in no time.

Installation


NextGEN Gallery is a free plugin and can be downloaded from WordPress Plugins Repository. The plugin can be installed like any other plugin, form Plugins -> Add New.
After the installation, in the sidebar you will see the Gallery Menu.

The menu contains:

  • Overview – a quick overview to the number of images, galleries and albums that you have created with the plugin. You can also quick add more photos from here.
  • Add Gallery/Images – here you can create a new Gallery and populate it with images.
  • Manage Gallery – each Gallery that you will create can be updated form here.
  • Album – an interactive interface which allows you to create a new album and drag and drop another one in it or drag an d drop a gallery.
  • Tags – each existent tag can be renamed, deleted or edited.
  • Options – a settings page where you can set almost everything: thumbnails, images, effects and more.
  • Style – you may edit the plugin’s CSS file and customize it by your own tastes.
  • Roles – here you can change the roles and capabilities.
  • About – a list with the people we have to thank for this great plugin.
  • Reset/Uninstall – you can reset the settings and options that you have made and also uninstall the plugin from here.

Making the Settings

Here the settings are called Options and are divided in General Options, Thumbnails, Images, Gallery, Effects, Watermark and Slideshow. Set each of them or only the ones that you need.

General Options

In General Options you can set change the Gallery Path, Delete image files – when you delete a gallery from the database, Activate permalinks, Enable Ajax, Activate Media RSS feed, etc. and also you will find settings for Tags and Categories like Activate related images, the Maximum number of images or to Match with Categories or Tags.

Thumbnails Settings

Set the thumbnails Width and Height, their quality and set fix dimension.

Images

Here you can change the images dimensions, image quality, and backup the original image – to be sure you won’t get it lost. You also can automatically resize an image when it’s uploaded or clear cache folder.

Gallery

Here you can make a bunch of settings, gallery related. The Gallery is of two types: Slideshow or Thumbnail. You can make some appearance settings – the number of images/page, the number of columns, integrate slideshow, sort thumbnails by: image ID, file name, alt/title text, date/time and sort direction: ascending or descending.

Effects

Here you can make use of AJAX effects – Tickbox, Lightbox, Highslide, Shutter or Custom without writing any line of code.

Watermark

NextGEN Gallery also offers you the possibility to watermark your images. You can add an image URL if you want to use image as watermark or you can use text as watermark and for that you must select the font, the size, the color, the opacity and the text that you want to be watermarked. You can also choose the position and the offset for that. You can anytime preview what you have accomplish.

Slideshow

The last but not the least, this setting allows you to set the default slideshow size, choose one from the 8 transition/fade effect. Here you can also make Settings for the JW Image Rotator. Here you can make settings for: enable flash slideshow, shuffle mode, background/texts/rollover/active and screen color.
Also a nice feature is that you can add music to the background.

Let the show begin!

Now that you have finished the customization, you can start creating galleries, albums and add photos.

Add Gallery/Images

You can add a Gallery by simple enter its name. In order to see the gallery, you must assign an existent page, or create a new one by yourself. Depending on what you have set earlier for your galleries, a shortcode will be displayed automatically in page content.
The uploader built inside NextGEN is one of the best feature. It allows you to upload a single photo, a group of photos, a .zip archive or import a folder of images from a server. All the photos go into your chosen gallery.

Manage Gallery

Here you will find the list of galleries. You can edit a gallery by clicking on it and you will see all the images that the gallery contains – you can change the title, add a description, add tags and even more – image options: you can view image, its meta data, edit thumbnail, rotate, publish (if it’s not), delete it or exclude it from gallery.
Also, you can sort gallery – rearrange the pictures from the gallery by clicking and drag them.

Let`s take a closer look at the edit thumbnail feature.

As you can see above, you can click and drag to make to redraw or edit the image thumbnail. You can preview it in the right side.

Album

The difference between galleries and albums? While a gallery contains photos, an album contains one or more galleries.

So, here you can create albums and drag-and-drop galleries in it.

Tags

Here you will manage the created image tags – you can rename a tag, delete it or edit its slug.

Roles/ Capabilities

This is also a nice feature – it allows you to select the lowest role for: Main NextGEN Gallery overview, Use TinyMCE Button / Upload tab, Add gallery / Upload images, Manage gallery, Manage others gallery, Manage tags, Edit Album, Change style, Change options.

A Shortcode Story

As I’ve said earlier, in order to show a gallery, you must first create a new page and a shortcode will be displayed automatically, according to your settings. Well, there’s more from where that’s coming.
NextGEN Gallery has many shortcodes that you can manually add to your page. A list of them you can see below:

  • Use Image Tags to Create Galleries/Albums: [nggtags album=WordPress,Cologne,Ireland].
  • Display Captions in Thumbnail Galleries: [nggallery id=1 template=caption].
  • Basic Filmstrip Galleries: [nggallery id=2 template=carousel images=7].
  • Sort Images by Tags: [nggtags gallery=cologne,wordpress,..].
  • Integration with Third Party Plugins: [monoslideshow id=1 w=450 h=350], [media id=6 width=320 height=240 plugins=revolt-1], [nggallery id=1 template=galleryview images=0].
  • Add Tag Clouds: [tagcloud].
  • Single Pic Options: [singlepic id=x w=width h=height mode=web20|watermark float=left|right].

Widgets

NextGEN Gallery Plugin comes with 3 widgets: Gallery – which shows your gallery as a widget, Slideshow – a slideshow of images from your galleries and Media RSS – a widget which adds Media RSS link and Media RSS icon.

Extra functionality

For enhancing this plugin have been created many other plugins – provided by third parties: NextGEN TinyMce Description – add native tinymce to picture description, NextGEN Gallery Voting, NextGEN Public Uploader – which allows frontend image uploading for your users and many others.

Support

A support forum is available on WordPress and as far as we could see, it’s a very active one.
Also you can read more about the plugin from the plugin site – a features presentation, a demo, a blog where you can read the latest news and articles and a F.A.Q. page.

Conclusions

  • Being considered one of the most popular plugins, it gives you many choices and control options.
  • Very intuitive, the NextGEN Gallery has some great features: image uploader, watermark, thumbnail cropping.
  • The great functionality comes with a minus – the overall performance. It seems that the plugin slows down the site more than normal.
  • Another minus comes with its architecture: NextGEN Gallery still uses custom SQL tables, so a major update for the future is desired: the usage of custom post type, custom taxonomies, etc.