I can’t tell you how excited I am to be releasing the beta of the groundbreaking 3.0 release of Gallery Server Pro. Two years in the making, it offers a beautiful user interface that is easy to use while giving administrators power and flexibility that no other digital asset management program offers.
See a demo of the beta here.
Be sure to add the Download Gallery Server Pro Binary Pack to get video/audio encoding, better thumbnail extraction, and more.
Here is a quick rundown of the features:
- UI completely rewritten using modern HTML5/CSS3
- Three-pane layout minimizes scrolling
- UI is rendered from customizable jsRender templates. Templates can target individual albums.
- Video now encoded to H.264 MP4 video by default, allowing video to render on iOS, Android, and Microsoft ecosystems
- Ability to tag media and albums, then create virtual albums matching those tags.
- Apply properties to media and albums (editable metadata)
- Full screen slide show
- Able to browse through search results as if they were an album
- Skinned user interface – ships with dark and light skins
- Rate media objects on a 5-star scale
- Flexible sorting
- Adaptive rendering for mobile devices and tablets
Under the hood, there are significant changes as well:
- New data provider model eliminates database-specific code and makes data upgrades significantly easier (EF Code First with Data Migrations)
- Removed ComponentArt dependency and replaced with jQuery widgets
- Removed dependence on MS Ajax library and ScriptManager
- Replaced ASMX web services with Web.API
- Simplified solution architecture to reduce number of projects from 11 to 6.
Over the next few weeks I will explore these features in additional blog posts, but you’ll find some good stuff in the posts where I announced the Public Preview of Gallery Server Pro 3.0 and the announcement of GSP 3.0.
Version 3 requires .NET 4.5 and ASP.NET on the server. This is a change from 2.6, which required .NET 4.0. By default it uses an internal SQL CE database, but you’ll get faster performance with SQL Server 2005 or higher, including the free Express versions.
Clients need only a web browser, with no dependencies on any plug-ins except where necessary to play certain media files (for example, playing MP4 on Chrome and Firefox requires Flash). Current versions of all major browsers have been tested and work well.
NOTE: This is pre-release software and does not include support for upgrading earlier versions of GSP, nor is there any guarantee you will be able to migrate to the release version. The final version will, however, support upgrading from 2.6.
Installation is improved from previous versions, which used an install wizard to guide you through database creation and admin account setup. I simplified it to the point where no install wizard was needed. Follow these steps:
- Extract the zip file to a directory. Configure the directory to run as an application in IIS under .NET 4.5. Make sure the IIS process identity has modify permissions to the App_Data and gs\mediaobjects directory.
- SQL Server only: To use SQL Server, open web.config and comment out the SQL CE connection string named GalleryDb. Add a connection string for your SQL Server – you can uncomment the sample SQL Server connection string in the file. Be sure it is named GalleryDb. If the specified database does not exist, the gallery will attempt to create it when the app starts.
- Open default.aspx in a web browser. The database will automatically be configured and seeded with default data. This step may take a minute or two, so be patient. The screen will look like this:
- Click the link to create an admin account. Enter a username and password and you are all set!
Running from Source Code
You can open the source code in Visual Studio 2012, including the free Visual Studio Express 2012 for Web. You should be able to compile and run the gallery without any additional dependencies.
Known Issues & Removed Features
These are the known issues:
- Album treeview and splitter panes do not work in IE 8 and earlier
- The light skin is not finished. In fact, it is exactly like the dark skin with only the page background color changed. This is a good opportunity for a volunteer to jump in – all you need to do is edit the colors in gallery.css and pick new icons for the gs\skins\light\images folder.
- No support for upgrading from earlier versions
- The backup/restore feature is not functional.
- Concurrency error sometimes occurs when multiple users request an album at the same time
The following features existed in 2.6 but were removed in 3.0:
- The start and end dates for albums no longer exist in the UI. These tended to cause confusion and were not used by many people. However, the API still supports them so it is possible to modify the UI template to add them back.
- There are a couple places on the gallery settings and user settings pages where all user accounts were displayed in a drop down. Those dropdowns now include only those users who are site or gallery admins.
- Cannot re-extract metadata during a sync. This feature has been replaced by the metadata rebuilding options in the site admin metadata page.
Final Release & Reporting Issues
I hope to release the final version within a couple months. It will be driven by the time it takes to put the last few things in place (that is, implementing an upgrade algorithm and fixing the issues).
Please report any issues on the beta forum or e-mail me at roger *at* techinfosystems *dot* com. Remember that I can only fix problems that I know about.
New License Option & DotNetNuke Version
I expect to continue providing a free GPL version of GSP, just like now. But I have heard from many of you that you would like a commercial license option, so I am looking into making that possible. A commercial license will free you of the GPL restrictions, such as having to publicly provide the source code for any changes you make. In addition, I may offer guaranteed support options.
Adding a commercial license option will help me continue to be able to focus on improving GSP instead of taking on paying contracts that distract me from this project. I cannot stress enough how important your donations are to keeping this project alive. I thank you for your support and humbly request that you provide a contribution to the best of your ability.
Once the final release is out, I will focus on merging the code with the DotNetNuke branch of GSP. Due to the substantial modifications, this will likely take several weeks and be pretty difficult. But I am committed to making it happen.