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WebAsyst Photos Manual

WebAsyst Photos Manual

Table of Contents

WebAsyst Photos overview

WebAsyst Photos is a WebAsyst application designed for storing and publishing photos online. WebAsyst Photos allows to arrange image files in albums, assign multi-user access to them and nicely publish your photos on the Internet.

In the main screen of the WebAsyst Photos application the list of all available albums is displayed:

All images in WebAsyst Photos are arranged in albums.

First create an album and then upload photos into it (note that a photo cannot be stored outside an album).

There is no hierarchy in the album list: all you have is a plain list of albums. An album cannot be nested inside another one.

The sorting order of albums is defined in the albums management mode; you can switch to that mode by clicking on the "Manage albums" link in the top right corner of the WebAsyst Photos main screen. Drag and drop albums to make them appear in the necessary order.

Physically albums are located in separate server directories, in which uploaded photos are stored.

WebAsyst Photos consists of two main parts:

  • Administration interface (backend). This part of the application requires users to authorize to enter a WebAsyst account. It is what you see when you are logged in and click on the "Photos" in the WebAsyst main menu at the page top.

    The administration mode offers users all available photos management tools: uploading new photos, creating albums, publishing albums etc. Access rights to individual albums and photos management screens are assigned individually for each account user. More details on assignment of access rights and collaboration are provided below in section "Collaboration".

  • Publicly accessible interface (frontend). This is a part of the WebAsyst Photos application that does not require authorization and can be accessible by any Internet user.

    Example: http://demo.webasyst.net/photos/
    The frontend contains only albums marked as published. Read more about publishing photo albums in section "Publishing photos".

Uploading photos

In bulk or one by one

WebAsyst Photos allows uploading photos in two ways:

  • all in one go: you can select up to 500 image files and click on the "Upload" button, all files will be automatically uploaded one after another; for this feature to work correctly, you need to have Adobe Flash Player installed in your browser;
  • one by one: each file can be selected individually; the uploader works without Adobe Flash Player installed;

Thumbnails and full size photos

When photos are uploaded to WebAsyst Photos, their full size versions are saved in a server directory protected from external access. Such full size versions can only be accessed via special links generated in the backend if a user has access to the albums such photos are located in. The URLs of those links are virtually uncrackable (an attempt to crack them would make you "guess" a 32 character long hash code!).

After the upload (i.e. when the photo has been saved in a protected server directory) six thumbnails of different size are automatically generated for each photo:

  • 96*96 px (cropped),
  • 144*144 px (cropped),
  • 256*... px,
  • 512*... px,
  • 750*... px,
  • 970*... px.

Image size in the latter four cases is adjusted for the largest of the thumbnail dimensions to fit the specified limit (the 970 px limit was chosen so that the published albums could be correctly displayed on screens with the 1024*768 pixels resolution which may be used by your photo gallery visitors).

Thumbnails are used to display your photos in different modes: when you view a list of photos, publish them, send someone a link to your photo or export photos. Thumbnail files take up less server disc space than full size images and can therefore be much faster transferred over the Internet.

Thumbnail sizes are not adjustable, they are hardcoded in WebAsyst Photos and cannot be changed without modification of the PHP scripts.

The size of photos that can be uploaded to WebAsyst Photos is limited to 20 Mpx. If you purchase PHP scripts (as opposed to WebAsyst online service), the maximum photo size would only be limited by your server capabilities (first of all, the amount of memory available for PHP scripts).

Setting up thumbnails generation

Photo thumbnails are generated by means of one of the following PHP extensions: Imagick or GD. The extension that should be used can be chosen in WebAsyst Photos backend screen "Settings".

If your server supports Imagick, we recommend using this option as it allows to achieve better results: less memory is used, thumbnails are generated faster and have higher quality. Read a detailed answer to question "Which is better: GD or Imagick?" in the WebAsyst Photos FAQ section

Settings option "Sharpen thumbnails" allows to increase the quality of your photos thumbnails. Enabling it will automatically apply the sharpening filter when thumbnails are created. Enabling this option is a recommended setup.


Import from Flickr

WebAsyst Photos allows importing photos from a Flickr account.

To import photos from Flickr, create a new or open an existing album and click on "Import from Flickr" in the right panel. On the page that opens click on "Edit Flickr API settings" and read detailed instructions on what is required to import photos (i.e. how Flickr API parameters should be correctly set up).

Once Flickr API settings have been entered, click on "Import now" and choose the photo set to be imported. WebAsyst Photos can only import photos from sets, therefore, if you have no sets available, create them before importing.

IMPORTANT NOTE: WebAsyst Photos imports the largest versions of uploaded photos from a Flickr account that Flickr server offers for import. As a rule, those are 1024 pixel sized images, however, this may depend on your account settings and the actual image sizes.

Photos management mode

Managing photos inside an album


Inside an album two main photo management modes are available:

  • View mode: click on a photo to view it.
  • Manage and share mode: arrange photos in the necessary order by dragging and dropping them with a mouse (changes are applied automatically as soon as a photo is released), select several photos to generate links to them or code to be embedded into a forum (BBcode) or a web site (HTML) or to create a collection (a link or a widget);

Basic album properties:

  • album name (click on it to edit):


  • subtitle: any text that will be displayed in the frontend under the album name; it might be the album creation date or the name of the person who created it, or the place where it was created etc. You can leave this field empty. To edit the album subtitle, click on the "Edit album description" link in the right panel when inside the album;
     
  • album description is displayed in the frontend (photo gallery) under the album name and the subtitle; HTML tags are allowed in the description;
  • album key photo is a photo that is used as a cover of the album both in the backend and in the frontend (photo gallery). In order to use the desired photo as a cover for your album, make sure that you are in the photo View mode, click on the desired photo and then on link "Make this a key photo". WebAsyst Photos will automatically create 2 images from the selected photo that will be used as album covers in the backend and the publicly accessible photo gallery.

Photo viewing mode


In the single photo view mode the following tools are available to a user:

  1. Selection of the thumbnail size from the list of available sizes: 96*96, 144*144, 256, 512, 750, 970. When the thumbnail image size is changed, URLs of links to the photo and the corresponding BBcode and HTML code values are updated (see next paragraph).
    If the the chosen thumbnail does not fit into the browser window (e.g. if you have chosen thumbnail size 970 and the screen resolution is 1024*768 pixels), then the thumbnail will be scaled down by the browser so that a smaller version of the thumbnail appears.
  2. Exporting (embedding) photos into blogs or web sites (HTML) and forums (BBcode), generation of links to the photo that can be emailed or sent via an instant messenger. Copy the code and use it where necessary.
    Links to one or several photos are valid irrespective of the album publication status (read more about album statuses below in section "Albums publication statuses"). This means that the album may remain unpublished but you can still send links to individual photos to your friends or embed them into forums or web sites.
  3. Original: the link for downloading of the image full size (original) version is only accessible by account users who have access rights for that album.
  4. Photo editing tools: clockwise and counter-clockwise rotation, cropping tool (is used to crop a part of the original image; this tool is only available if the thumbnail size is over 144 pixels).
    IMPORTANT NOTE: when photo editing tools are used, the original photo is changed. It means that you cannot undo any cropping operation once it has been carried out. If you do not like the cropped image and would like to restore it, re-uploading it from your computer will be necessary.

    A click on the "Make this a key photo" link will update the album cover by changing it to the currently viewed image.

    A photo can be deleted upon a click on "Delete photo". A deleted photo cannot be restored.

  5. Details (EXIF). This section contains the image summary, e.g. camera model, exposure, diaphragm, ISO etc.

Publishing photos

Photos are published in the frontend of WebAsyst Photos application (also called gallery) located at a URL of the form http://YOUR_ACCOUNT.webasyst.net/photos/ (if you are an online service account user) or http://WEBASYST_INSTALLATION_URL/photos/ (if you have purchased scripts and installed them on a server).

The frontend page does not require authorization so any Internet user can view all published albums.

Note for scripts owners:

In WebAsyst Installer section "Settings -> Frontend Settings" there is a setup option which you can use to assign the URL for the photo gallery on your server: http://WEBASYST_URL/ or http://WEBASYST_URL/photos/.

Three album publication statuses

A photo album in WebAsyst Photos can have one of the three publication statuses:

  1. Not published: the album is only accessible from within the administration backend by users who have appropriate access rights to the album (read, write or full access); read more about collaboration with WebAsyst Photos in section "Collaboration";
  2. Published: the album is accessible in the photo gallery for all visitors, it is displayed in the list of published albums;
  3. Published privately: the album is publicly accessible only via a special link. The album is not displayed in the list of published albums,but you can send the link to it to your friends or colleagues.

Private publication is very handy if you need to publish an album for a limited number of visitors. Privately published albums do not appear in the list of published albums and can only be accessed by persons who know its URL. Authorization with a login name and a password is not required to view a privately published album.

Three photo view options


For each published album you can choose photo list presentation options:

  • option 1: display photos with their descriptions one under another (good choice if your photos have extensive descriptions);
  • option 2: selected photo on the left with thumbnails of all other photos on the right (suits well for publishing albums containing a large number of photos which have either very short descriptions or no descriptions at all);
  • option 3: small photo thumbnails that can be expanded to enlarged versions upon a click on a thumbnail (good option for large albums where photos have no descriptions).

With options 1 and 2 photo descriptions are displayed as they are including all the HTML code if there is any. With option 3 selected a description is only displayed when a photo is enlarged, HTML tags are not taken into account, though.

View options 1 and 2 also offer the "Can view and download original images from public gallery" parameter. If this option is enabled, a "download original photo" link appears if you place the mouse cursor over an image which can be clicked on to download the original full size version of the published photo.

Collections

Photo collections are another way to publish photos. A collection offers an opportunity to combine several photos inside an album into a group.

To create a collection from all photos inside an album, open that album and click on "Create a collection". If you need the collection to contain only selected photos, switch to the "Organize and share" mode inside the album and click on "Create a collection".

Collections can be of different types:

  • Link: a direct link to photos that can be emailed or sent via an instant messenger; after a collection of this kind has been created, you can select the presentation mode for the photo list (size of thumbnail, whether descriptions must be displayed);
  • Gallery widget: HTML code for embedding a photo list into web sites or blogs; it contains an IFRAME tag with a table inside it which is used to display photos with their descriptions (enlarged photo versions are displayed if a thumbnail is clicked on);
  • Slideshow widget: HTML code for embedding into web sites or blogs; it contains an IFRAME tag with special code inside it that displays images of the collection with the slideshow effect.

Design

Screen "Design" offers an opportunity of editing CSS styles that are applied to the publicly accessible frontend and collections of type "Link". The file that contains CSS style rules and is actually edited by means of the CSS editor in screen "Design" is included into the web pages of the photo gallery and collections. Collections of type "Widget" do not use those styles.

Collaboration

Access rights in WebAsyst Photos

In WebAsyst Photos user access rights can be assigned to individual albums. Three levels of access to photo albums are available for choice:

  • Read (R): user (or user group) is allowed to view photos inside the album, view a slideshow or obtain links to photos;
  • Write (W): user (or user group) is allowed to both view photos (has Read access) and to upload new images to the album and edit their descriptions;
  • Full (F): user (or user group) has Write access to the album and may change its publication status.

If personal and group access rights are assigned to a user, their combination will be applied so that the maximum of the assigned values is effective. Example:

Personal rights

Group rights

Resulting rights

-

R

R

RW

RW

RW

RWF

R

RWF

Access rights can be set up in account section WebAsyst Users (you need to have access to that section to be able to manage users' access rights to WebAsyst Photos).

Several additional access rights setup options are available in WebAsyst Photos that allow limiting users' access to certain functions or screens:

  • Can create albums;
  • Can manage albums (and see the list of all albums): this option defines access to the albums management mode and the albums deletion function;
  • Can create and manage collections: defines access to screen "Collections" and the photo collection creation function;
  • Can modify public gallery design: defines access to screens "Design" and "Settings".

Access rights to newly created albums

When you create a new album, it automatically becomes accessible by its owner only (the user of the WebAsyst account who has created it).

If you would like other users to automatically receive access to all albums that you may create in the future, you can specify in WebAsyst Photos section "Settings" which user groups may have such access. Once you have set up access rights to newly created albums, they will be automatically applied to all albums that you will create.