I needed to have a go at installing a plugin so I could see how it would fit into the back-end of wordpress, and learn how they are managed and maintained. I looked again for 3rd party Gallery Software via the wordpress.org ‘extend’ link. This time I wasn’t too picky about the appearance of the gallery, it was more for the technical benefit. At this point a few of my class-mates had installed a few plugins and I was able to draw on their experiences, for example I knew that ‘Cincopa’ looked good, but actually it seemed to crash a lot due to problems with bandwidth. The gallery plugin which seemed most reliable and had a reputation for being stable, was Alex Rabe’s NextGen Gallery.
So I went ahead and installed this – very simple, all done by the ‘plugins’ tool from the wp dashboard. NextGen then has its own tool on the dashboard from which you can manage the plugin. I uploaded some photos from a recent project, simply locating the folder on my computer, and then creating an ‘album’ for them in the NextGen gallery. The next step was to sort the photos, name them if desired, and move them into a ‘gallery’. Which means that as a set they are now ready to display in a post or on a page. I created a new page for the gallery – ‘Artist’ and am using this as one of my display examples for photo sets.
The NextGen Gallery works very well, it has shown to me how straightforward using a plugin can be. But I still dislike the appearance and functionality of it – the fade of the rest of the screen, chasing those little arrows around to try to see the next image etc. But now that I’m feeling a bit more plugin savvy, I can now look to finding something more suitable.