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Searchlight
Topic Author
Posts: 2
Joined: 12 Feb 2020, 09:27

Another Koken migration

13 Feb 2020, 19:09

Hi there

As many in this forum, I have migrated my site searchlight.zone rom the late Koken (RIP :-( ) to X3. First of all I have to admit that X3 is a very powerful tool and that it's DB-less design is very appealing.

What is my experience in this transition?

The good
  • Nice and clean layout
  • Good (and alive) support forum
  • Optimized for photo presentation
  • I like the map feature very much  :thumbsup:(that's why I purchased the pro license)
  • Seems faster than Koken (even when using behind Cloudflare CDN)
  • Works with PHP 7.4 (when applying the preiew-fix described in this forum)
  • Much better feedback while loading pictures than Koken
The "not so good"
  • When using the "use as intro" feature, I cannot size the picture(s) to stay below the navigation bar
  • Using the "use as intro" feature, I cannot use a whole subfolder structure as a source to display pictures
  • No Lightroom plugin (but I'm using Jeffrey  Friedls collection publisher and metadata wrangler which gives me almost the comfort of the LR plugin with much more control over the metadata
  • Due to license restrictions I'm not able to use my purchased license with full functionality on my local test environment (VM)
  • There is some sort of lacking features in presenting the GDPR dialog - it's only informative but the user cannot decide which cookies he agrees to allow and which ones he denies to use
The bad
  • What I'm deeply missing is the possibility to rate / like my pictures - with the payed plugin in Koken my audience hat the chance to express themselves which pictures they liked - and I got a feedback, what they liked or did not liked as much. There is no such feature in X3  :disappointed:
  • I cannot combine any view with a slideshow. With Koken (or Phoca running on Joomla) the user can click a picture in the grid and to open it in a "Lightbox" and start running a slideshow from this picture. In X3 I have to decide if I would present the pictures in grid view or as a slideshow - there seems no possibility to combine those two views - that's odd!
As a non professional user, X3 seems to be a good replacement for the (seems to be abandoned) Koken. I've also evaluated TTG but declined it because there is no way to check it out before purchase - so thanks to Karl that he is offering this to the X3 community.

So much from my end - what do you think about my page? Is there anything I should change or optimize? I know that my photos are quite large and take a bit of time to load - my intention is to present them at a proper resolution for 4K displays - I have greatly decreased the resolution in the last upload but I'm unaware if the resolution is still sufficent for high resolution displays.

Sorry for the long first post and @Karl keep on the great work!

Regards 
 
User avatar
mjau-mjau
X3 Wizard
Posts: 11904
Joined: 30 Sep 2006, 03:37

Re: Another Koken migration

14 Feb 2020, 05:21

Hi! Thanks for the all feedback, which is all taken into consideration. Up front, I would like to just emphasize that X3 wasn't specifically created to compete with Koken, which was probably initially made more for "photographers". X3's target was to be the best gallery-oriented presentation website, from the visitors perspective. We definitely do have a lot of photography-customers, and will definitely be listening to their requirements for future releases. Some quick comments:
Searchlight wrote:When using the "use as intro" feature, I cannot size the picture(s) to stay below the navigation bar
You mean "below" as in "starts from below the menu", as opposed to goes "under" the menu? And then fills the "rest of page"? X3 can definitely size pictures to stay under the menu, and cover the "rest" of screen (or however many % you want it to cover). If you mean something else, perhaps you have a link?
Searchlight wrote:Using the "use as intro" feature, I cannot use a whole subfolder structure as a source to display pictures
You mean you want to display images from MULTIPLE folders inside a single slideshow?
Searchlight wrote:No Lightroom plugin (but I'm using Jeffrey  Friedls collection publisher and metadata wrangler which gives me almost the comfort of the LR plugin with much more control over the metadata
Has been requested by many  :thumbsup:
Searchlight wrote:Due to license restrictions I'm not able to use my purchased license with full functionality on my local test environment (VM)
X3 licenses are domain based. You can send email or PM (to me) if you want additional local domains licensed at no further charge.
Searchlight wrote:There is some sort of lacking features in presenting the GDPR dialog - it's only informative but the user cannot decide which cookies he agrees to allow and which ones he denies to use
GDPR is a big black hole which is largely misunderstood in many website integrations, causing more harm to visitors than it should. X3 will not come with extensive native plugins for cookies which mostly 99% of users don't care about or don't understand ... not to mention the fact that X3 doesn't even use any cookies (except for login, but that's not for visitors). If you want in-depth cookie warning and management, you might consider the below link as a 3rd party service, which can easily be loaded into X3. Personally, I would avoid it if possible.
https://www.osano.com/cookieconsent
Searchlight wrote:What I'm deeply missing is the possibility to rate / like my pictures - with the payed plugin in Koken my audience hat the chance to express themselves which pictures they liked - and I got a feedback, what they liked or did not liked as much. There is no such feature in X3 
It's been asked before, and something we will consider. What I don't like, is that it means anyone can rate, and you don't know who rated. Also, for most websites, you would have zero or 1 rating per image. How to avoid spam ratings? Is the rating only for you to see or also visitors? I have problems envisioning this used productively. If you had a link to a Koken website using this, I'd be interested to check it out.

On a related note, we do have a "lightbox" plugin scheduled, where visitors would be able to STAR images. Images are then added to a "cart" (similar to e-commerce), and the visitors can then "send" to owner. This is not really rating, but it's a flexible system for visitors to send a list of pictures they like, to the photograhper/owner.
Searchlight wrote:I cannot combine any view with a slideshow. With Koken (or Phoca running on Joomla) the user can click a picture in the grid and to open it in a "Lightbox" and start running a slideshow from this picture. In X3 I have to decide if I would present the pictures in grid view or as a slideshow - there seems no possibility to combine those two views - that's odd!
I'm not quite sure what you mean. When you go to any X3 page (for example this), you are presented with a layout (in this case rows-GRID), and when visitor clicks the image, it will open in a visitor-optimized popup (what you are referring to as "lightbox"). From your perspective, this is not a "slideshow", just because it doesn't have an actual "autoplay" button?

I have tested koken's lightbox from a human visitors perspective, and I don't find it very functional.

FYI, if you are referring to "autoplay" feature, which allows the visitor to click a "PLAY" button so that the slideshow will navigate through images at a set interval, that will be available in a soon-to-come X3 release.
Searchlight wrote:I've also evaluated TTG but declined it because there is no way to check it out before purchase
TTG? Got a link?
Searchlight wrote:So much from my end - what do you think about my page?
Looks good. Great photos! In my opinion, the blue color is a bit dark/vague and could be replaced with something lighter and better contrast with the dark background. Also, your intro images don't seem optimized for all screens? I am checking from macbook pro 13" screen, and the intro images don't even cover the height of the logo, and look somewhat incomplete.
Searchlight wrote:Is there anything I should change or optimize? I know that my photos are quite large and take a bit of time to load - my intention is to present them at a proper resolution for 4K displays - I have greatly decreased the resolution in the last upload but I'm unaware if the resolution is still sufficent for high resolution displays.
I personally didn't notice, and it's likely 95% (or more) of your visitors are viewing from high-speed internet connections. I would consider higher compression on high-res images (3000+ px images) for several reasons: for 95% of your visitors, the images will scale down to fit smaller screens, and the compression becomes near-invisible. Also, for retina (high density screens), for example 3840 (which would typically display at size 1920), compression is also much less visible because of the high-density. There are lots of articles about this on the internet, but you would have to compare yourself.
Searchlight wrote:Sorry for the long first post and @Karl keep on the great work!
Nothing better than reading posts from users that are passionate about their work and their website. Thanks!
 
Searchlight
Topic Author
Posts: 2
Joined: 12 Feb 2020, 09:27

Re: Another Koken migration

Yesterday, 18:25

Hi Karl

thank you for your answers. I will try to get some explanation and clarify things.
You mean "below" as in "starts from below the menu", as opposed to goes "under" the menu? And then fills the "rest of page"? X3 can definitely size pictures to stay under the menu, and cover the "rest" of screen (or however many % you want it to cover). If you mean something else, perhaps you have a link?
Yes, it should not get "under" the menu but should not use the whole page - just as I'm using the Intro but leaving the menu bar alone so that it is clearly visible no matter which picture is presented - the image could start right below the menu but could also act as a (animated) banner.
You mean you want to display images from MULTIPLE folders inside a single slideshow?
Yes. E.g. on my site there is a folder called "Schottland" containing several subfolders. The top folder does only contains the subfolders which contains the images. I have now two options for using the intro - option one is to copy some images from the subfolders to a third (hidden) folder and use this folder as source of the slideshow or option two I'm choosing one of the subfolders for using as a slideshow. What would be great is that I could tell X3 to use any image below the current folder for the slideshow in the intro - including the subfolders.
Has been requested by many  Image
With Jefrey Friedel's plugins, it is not a top of the list feature to me. The JF tools (donnationware) are replacing the dedicated plugin for my usage almost entirely. I have to add that I've only used the plugin for publishing images. 

I for my part would not spend too much time to develop specific tools for Lightroom (now renamed to "classic") because in the long term I'm afraid that the days of lightroom classic are over and that in a near future there will only survive the "new" cloud based Lightroom which does not support any plugins. Sad but that's what I'm afraid of and what could drive me away from Adobe.
GDPR is a big black hole which is largely misunderstood in many website integrations, causing more harm to visitors than it should. 
I'm completely with you at this point. Right now you have to spend more time to choose which cookies you would allow and which you wouldn't than you need to read the content of the page - horrible. A good example for laws with a good intention that turn themselves against the intention. There are lawyers in europe which have nothing better to do than look for the smallest possible offense against the law and send are informing you that they think that you have violated the law and you have to pay them that they do not go to court with the case - because this will cost you much more than what they are asking for, you have not much option than paying and change your website - those methods were known as protection money in earlier times...

It's been asked before, and something we will consider. What I don't like, is that it means anyone can rate, and you don't know who rated. Also, for most websites, you would have zero or 1 rating per image. How to avoid spam ratings? Is the rating only for you to see or also visitors? I have problems envisioning this used productively. If you had a link to a Koken website using this, I'd be interested to check it out.
 I'm sorry, no link here because I've just migrated my site from Koken to a product named X3 - I could send you a link to this great product  :wink:.
You're right, It was open to anyone to use the rating feature and I had not information who rated the image. Spam can clearly happen. The function just gave me an indication, which images visitors liked and therefore pressed the heart symbol. The total of the hearts were visible below the images and also - that's Koken specific - in the backend, where they were displayed right on the pictures. Because X3 does not have an adequate backend (which I don't miss at all) - this portion cannot be implemented but anyway, in the gallery I could see what is popular and what is not.
On a related note, we do have a "lightbox" plugin scheduled, where visitors would be able to STAR images. Images are then added to a "cart" (similar to e-commerce), and the visitors can then "send" to owner. This is not really rating, but it's a flexible system for visitors to send a list of pictures they like, to the photograhper/owner.
The star feature would be an adequate solution - the cart part is irrelevant for my purpose, just the possibility to vote with stars which are counted and displayed below the pictures.
From your perspective, this is not a "slideshow", just because it doesn't have an actual "autoplay" button?
Exactly - I have been told by visitors that they like the "play" button to get a slideshow from the currently selected picture. With this feature, you are able to watch the pictures without having to click every time you would see another picture. I'm looking forward for such a feature in an upcoming version of X3.
TTG? Got a link?
It is "the turning gate" . I don't know the product in-depth because there is no demo version and no money back option - you have to purchase the product just to find out that it does not meet your purpose - that's odd.
Great photos! In my opinion, the blue color is a bit dark/vague and could be replaced with something lighter and better contrast with the dark background. Also, your intro images don't seem optimized for all screens? I am checking from macbook pro 13" screen, and the intro images don't even cover the height of the logo, and look somewhat incomplete.
Thanks for your feedback. Contrast wise it would be better to choose a lighter color but then I would also have to choose the same lighter color for the control items and I like more the dark colors. Maybe I will change it to a lighter color sometimes but I have to first get familiar with lighter colors  :slight_smile:. Because of the sizes you are absolutely right - on my 32" screen it looked ok but with smaller displays there were issues with the intro images. I have now changed the ration and re--checked it with an iPad - it now looks better. Thanks again!
I personally didn't notice, and it's likely 95% (or more) of your visitors are viewing from high-speed internet connections. I would consider higher compression on high-res images (3000+ px images) for several reasons: for 95% of your visitors, the images will scale down to fit smaller screens, and the compression becomes near-invisible. Also, for retina (high density screens), for example 3840 (which would typically display at size 1920), compression is also much less visible because of the high-density. 
You're probably right. I could try to increase the compression - most of the users will probably not zoom into details of the pictures so I don't have to keep much pixels in reserve and should rather optimize the loading time. I have searched a lot of articles but most focus full HD and not 4K so I was unsure about that.

Thank you for your detailed reply and again - X3 is one of the few tools that are well suitable to present photos!

Regards
 
User avatar
mjau-mjau
X3 Wizard
Posts: 11904
Joined: 30 Sep 2006, 03:37

Re: Another Koken migration

Yesterday, 22:53

A few comments below. The ones I don't comment, are fully noted and agreed :star: :thumbsup:
Searchlight wrote:Yes, it should not get "under" the menu but should not use the whole page - just as I'm using the Intro but leaving the menu bar alone so that it is clearly visible no matter which picture is presented - the image could start right below the menu but could also act as a (animated) banner.
The challenge here, is that there is no way to set an elements height to "rest of the page". The only way to do that, is by using javascript, which would always be a bit hacky. Also, the topbar area does not have a fixed height, and will depend on the logo, font and margins. On a small mobile devices, the topbar area might in some cases cover up to 50% of the screen height, in which case the intro below would look quite squashed ... Keep in mind, we also need to consider the "ratio" of the image in the intro-area, compared to the available space. There might be a few websites who have something like this implemented by a designer with control of the content, but I'm struggling to see it added to a CMS. Anyway, noted!
Searchlight wrote:Yes. E.g. on my site there is a folder called "Schottland" containing several subfolders. The top folder does only contains the subfolders which contains the images. I have now two options for using the intro - option one is to copy some images from the subfolders to a third (hidden) folder and use this folder as source of the slideshow or option two I'm choosing one of the subfolders for using as a slideshow. What would be great is that I could tell X3 to use any image below the current folder for the slideshow in the intro - including the subfolders.
I guess you mean show ALL images from ALL subfolders of "Schottland"? I can see this could be a nice feature, and have noted it for future reference. For now, this is off-scope, because X3 is "folder" based and accepts "one" gallery per page (from itself, or from one other folder). Loading and searching images from multiple directories will be slower, and requires a smart integration, also for the panel. Should it load images for sub-sub-directories also? Or only check immediate child directories? Many questions.
Searchlight wrote:With Jefrey Friedel's plugins, it is not a top of the list feature to me.
Thanks for the useful info. On a related note, I am working on new X3 panel 2.0, and you can see an early beta here:
https://files.photo.gallery/demo/
Searchlight wrote:There are lawyers in europe which have nothing better to do than look for the smallest possible offense against the law and send are informing you that they think that you have violated the law and you have to pay them that they do not go to court with the case - because this will cost you much more than what they are asking for, you have not much option than paying and change your website - those methods were known as protection money in earlier times...
Never heard of that. Who would pay for the expensive court case I wonder? And where would the lawyer get any money if he even won the case? Also wondering what court would even bother with a court case for a private website, especially considering it's likely they did not break any laws. Until evidence comes out that small websites are in fact being target by the actual law with actual fines, X3 will have a passive approach, and recommend using plugins like osano cookieconsent for those who require full custom control.

The entire point of GDPR law, is to protect EU citizens from greedy corporations (FB, Google, Ad networks) from collecting private data, across websites, usually for economic gain in some way or other.
Searchlight wrote:The star feature would be an adequate solution
:thumbsup: May I ask how this would be used productively though? Let's be realistic, and since your website is not a public forum, it's likely you will have extremely few "ratings" on each image (often zero or one). Then, these ratings, which you don't know WHO rated (could be spam, or a random guy in Bangladesh), would be visible ONLY to you? Or for all visitors? For you, viewing these ratings (from the panel), with such few anonymous ratings, I can't quite see the value. You would AT LEAST need ratings + ratings-amount to get any value from it. If the ratings should be public, I can't quite see what value this gives to the visitor. If I see a gallery with ratings (some unrated, some 5-star), what am I supposed to make of that? Who rated? How many ratings? How would ratings affect the visitors experience? Seems useless for visitors to be able to view ratings.
Searchlight wrote:Exactly - I have been told by visitors that they like the "play" button to get a slideshow from the currently selected picture. With this feature, you are able to watch the pictures without having to click every time you would see another picture.
:thumbsup: This will be available in next major X3 release. I already implemented this feature in a new app I am working on, which will also become panel 2.0. Click an image, and click the "play" button:
https://files.photo.gallery/demo/
Searchlight wrote:You're probably right. I could try to increase the compression - most of the users will probably not zoom into details of the pictures so I don't have to keep much pixels in reserve and should rather optimize the loading time. I have searched a lot of articles but most focus full HD and not 4K so I was unsure about that.
I would recommend checking filesize vs dimensions vs compression/quality of the images in my new files app. Most images are large 2400 px, with high compression (75%), with file sizes at only 100-500kb. Since the images are relatively large and scaled down on most screens, you will find that the visual quality is excellent. Even on large/4K screens, when the image is not scaled down, quality is "acceptable", because the image is large and large images handle high compression better. Of course, a good JPG compression-tool (like imageoptim) is recommended.
https://files.photo.gallery/demo/