Monday, December 16, 2013

Save time editing media properties with multiple select

This is a great trick that lets you spend less time managing your gallery and more time sharing it with others. You probably already know you can easily edit the property of an album or media object using the right pane. For example, here I’m tagging a photo with the word ‘Bird’:


Notice as I type I get a drop down showing tags that have been applied to other gallery objects. This makes it easy to reuse tags and prevent misspellings.

We can also tag media objects from the album thumbnail view by selecting the media object and applying the tag:


TIP: When selecting the thumbnail, be sure to click in the border area outside the image. If you click the image, the gallery takes you to a page showing the full size version of the media object.

Okay, updating one media object at a time is easy enough. But what if you want to apply a tag to a bunch of items at once? For example, what if you want to tag every photo in an album with the word ‘Bird’? The answer lies in the multi-select feature built into Gallery Server Pro. Select the desired items and then update the property. When you exit the field, your changes are applied to all selected items.

There are two ways to select thumbnails: drag-select and control-click. Drag-select means using the mouse to drag a rectangle around the desired thumbnails. Control-click involves holding the Ctrl key down and left-clicking thumbnails. When a tag has been applied to more than one item, it displays the quantity in parentheses. Here I’ve drag-selected the thumbnails and applied the ‘Bird’ tag to all 25 photos in the album:


Deleting tags from multiple items is just as easy. Select the thumbnails and then click the ‘X’ on the tag you want to delete.

This trick works for any of the properties in the right pane. For example, you can change the title of all items and then edit individual ones as desired. Or control-click your favorites and give them a five-star rating with a single click.

Note that some properties are not editable by default. For example, the width and height of images are read only. To make them editable, go to the Media Objects – Metadata page in the Site Admin area and select the Editable attribute for the desired properties.

Editing the properties of multiple items at once is a big time-saver. Enjoy your gallery!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Gallery Server Pro 3.1 API Documentation Released

Today we released the Gallery Server Pro API Documentation, freshly updated for 3.1. This is primarily a resource for developers who want to better understand  the namespaces and classes used in Gallery Server Pro.

This documentation can be accessed any time from the support page.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Gallery Server Pro Binary Pack Updated

Today we released an updated version of the Gallery Server Pro Binary Pack. It contains the latest versions of three open source utilities that give you advanced gallery functionality such as audio/video transcoding and video, PDF, TIF and EPS image generation. They are ImageMagick 6.8.7, FFmpeg 2.1.1, and GhostScript 9.10.

To update your gallery, download the Binary Pack, extract the contents from the zip file, and copy convert.exe and ffmpeg.exe over the existing files in the bin directory of your web application. GhostScript is updated by copying gs910w32.exe in the GhostScript directory to your web server and then running it. If you are using a web hosting company, you likely aren’t allowed to run executables on the server. In this case, the best you can do is create a support ticket to ask them to do it.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Beware the ultra cheap web host

There are a ton of hosting companies out there with a wide variety of prices and service levels. I work with many of them when installing Gallery Server Pro, and I thought I should share a few things I’ve learned.

You’ve seen the ads—they’re everywhere and they offer some of the lowest prices available. However, I spent several hours yesterday working with a customer and we were ultimately unsuccessful in getting GSP working. He has since moved to Arvixe where things are running smoothly. There were two main issues:

CREATE DATABASE permission denied in database 'master'. When you modify the connection string in web.config to point to an existing SQL Server database, Entity Framework Code First Migrations (triggered from GSP startup code) is supposed to detect the existing database and ensure its tables are updated to the current version. In our case, EF didn’t think the database existed and tried to create it. Since wisely prevents code from creating databases, we get the error.

EF should have detected the existing database, and I still don’t know whether it’s a bug in EF or some kind of configuration issue with I also don’t know whether this is limited to a particular web server at or whether they all behave this way. I found a forum thread where the same issue is happening with a couple other web hosting companies.

Web.API calls failing. GSP uses AJAX callbacks to provide a responsive user experience, and these are done using the Web.API library. These calls were also failing at with a 404 File Not Found. For example, when I tried to sync, I saw this error:


This issue can sometimes be fixed by adding runAllManagedModulesForAllRequests="true" to the modules element in web.config, but at best that is a performance-sapping fix and at worst doesn’t even work. In our case, it didn’t work. Ultimately, this is caused by some kind of server configuration that I haven’t yet figured out. As with the create database error, I don’t know if the issue applies to all servers or just particular ones.

Finally, I found the control panel to be slow, counter-intuitive, and limited in terms of features. Because of these issues, I cannot recommend this company.


This is another 800 pound gorilla in the web hosting space, and I know of several galleries successfully being hosted there, although I’m not sure any of them are running 3.0 or higher. I am a little concerned about them because the forum thread I previously mentioned called out GoDaddy as also causing the create database error, but I haven’t confirmed it for myself.

I have found their web tools to be difficult to use and limited, but they get the job done. I don’t have an official recommendation on whether or not to use GoDaddy, but it’s fair to say I like others better.

If you are successfully using GoDaddy with SQL Server and GSP 3.0 or higher, let us know so we at least know it’s an option.


Arvixe is a large and fast growing company that offers a range of plans starting as low as $5/month. In my experience, they offer an excellent balance of low prices and good service, so I do recommend them as an option. A few years ago, I teamed up with them to create a referral relationship, so take my advice with the proper skepticism and do your own research.

There are a few important things to note about Arvixe:

  • Their cheapest plan is best for small galleries. The PersonalClass ASP plan, at $5/month, is limited to 250 MB of shared RAM. Any time the app goes over this, it recycles. This is a frequent cause of synchronization failures in GSP, as the process of iterating through media files and building thumbnail and optimized images eats up a lot of memory very quickly. If you only have a few thousand items in your gallery and your images are fairly small (<5MB each), you are probably OK. Anything else and you should consider a BusinessClass plan or higher.
  • Must disable 32-bit application pool compatibility. By default Arvixe configures the application pool so that the option “Enable 32-Bit Applications” is set to true. When you install the GSP Binary Pack, FFmpeg is used to create web-optimized versions of video and audio files. However, the 32-bit setting causes the transcoding process to intermittently fail after a few seconds, creating corrupted files. The solution is to create a support ticket and ask that this option be disabled (set to false) for the website.
  • GhostScript support. GhostScript is one of the utilities included in the Binary Pack that provides support for EPS and PDF thumbnail generation, but it can only be installed by running the setup program on the server. Many web hosting companies won’t let you do this or refuse to do it for you when asked, but Arvixe will do it if you ask them. So, if you discover that you don’t get thumbnail images from your PDF or EPS files, even after you’ve installed the Binary Pack in your gallery, you probably don’t have GhostScript installed on the server. Create a support ticket and ask them to install the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of GhostScript. Yes, both. Even though the servers are all 64-bit, in some cases the 32-bit version is required. If they give you any pushback, search for GhostScript in their forums and point them to those discussions where it’s been done before.