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ProPhoto 6.18.0

Today we’re pushing out a pretty major free feature update to ProPhoto, version 6.18.0. This feature release includes:

  • New “Carousel” gallery style
  • Video backgrounds for blocks
  • Responsive video embed widget
  • Built-in ProPhoto page cache
  • Customizable max-widths for form field elements
  • Performance/speed improvements
  • Bugfixes

Carousel Galleries

New in this release is an entirely new variation of ProPhoto galleries: Carousel. This functionality has long been requested and is the subject of one of our most up-voted GitHub issues.

Carousel galleries constrain images to a single height and line images up side-by-side, allowing more than one image to be seen at once. The current image is always in the center of the carousel, but one or more images to the left and right can be seen, depending on the viewport size and height settings. Here’s an example of what it might look like:

Carousel images are pretty flexible, and support most all of the existing gallery controls and customizations, including fullwindow/fullscreen, dot and thumbnail navigation, and more. The height and some other settings of your carousel galleries are also configurable at responsive breakpoints, to help you dial in the appearance of these galleries at all screen sizes.

Video backgrounds

In your ProPhoto customizer, blocks have a new background option: Video.

Video backgrounds are supported in two formats: videos uploaded to your WordPress Media Library, and embedded from YouTube or Vimeo. Video backgrounds can be used to create effects similar to that from the design Resurrection from our design store, but without any advanced know-how.

With .mp4 files that you upload, ProPhoto has the most control — we can emulate the “cover” behavior of background images with your video, ensuring that your background videos are sized to cover the block no matter the size. With YouTube and Vimeo, we can do almost as good. If your block is set to “window height” ProPhoto is able to keep the video sized just large enough to always cover the full-size of the block, showing as much of the video as possible. If you’re using YouTube or Vimeo and have your block height set to “auto”, the sizing of the video will be an approximation — for these scenarios sometimes uploading the video as an .mp4 is required for best results.

Video Widget

Also new in the video arena is a new video widget type.

We added this widget type as a convenience for embedding videos from services like YouTube and Vimeo responsively — that is, that adapts to look good at all screensizes. By default, the “embed” codes you get from YouTube and Vimeo aren’t suited for responsive websites. So, we’ve been pointing our users to a simple website service called Embed Responsively, which adds some wrapping markup and css to make video embeds responsive. This trick works pretty well, but is a bit of a hassle and generates HTML that is technically invalid, so it’s not 100% ideal. Our new video widget makes this unnecessary, handling all of that for you behind the scenes. Just add a URL from YouTube or Vimeo, and ProPhoto will take care of embedding it in a way that is responsive.

Built-in Page Cache

Another feature we’re really excited about is a built-in ProPhoto page cache. Enabling this new feature should give you some pretty impressive speed gains for your ProPhoto site, especially if you’re on a slow or overburdened shared server that is not performing well.

Page cache works by writing to files on disk copies of the HTML generated by your ProPhoto/WordPress pages. Then, on subsequent visits to your site, ProPhoto checks if it has a static file page cache for that same page, and if it does, it can serve it from cache, skipping vast amounts of work that WordPress and ProPhoto usually have to do to assemble your page from all of your customizations.

To enable page cache, go to “ProPhoto” > “Settings” > “Site Settings” > “Misc”, and choose “enabled” from the ProPhoto Page cache area.

Once it’s enabled, after 1 or sometimes 2 requests to a given page of your site, ProPhoto will start serving cached content, and you should notice a discernable increase in page load speeds.

If you want to double check that your pages are being served from cache, you can view the page source in your favorite browser, or use a tool like Chrome’s developer tools to examine the response headers sent by ProPhoto. When your page is being served from cache, there will be a comment in the HTML markup, and (if you know where to look) you’ll see a ‘X-ProPhoto-Cache: HIT’ header.

Form field widths

Also new in 6.18.0 is the ability to set custom max-width pixel values for individual ProPhoto form elements:

This allows an extra layer of customizability to ProPhoto forms, and is the first of several more form customization features we have in the works.

More Performance Improvements

This release also includes two other significant performance improvements for P6. First we changed our PHP autoload strategy to a more efficient one, which should have a very small but worthwhile effect on the page load speed of nearly every request.

Second, we trimmed out some files that were never being used by producction customer sites which should allow auto-updates to process faster and be less prone to failure.

What’s Next

As always, there’s more gory details including several bugfixes detailed in our changelog.

In addition to all that is in this update, we’re already well on our way to releasing more new features right around the corner — likely within 2 weeks. The next feature release will include most of what’s left in the Sebastian milestone on our Roadmap, including Viewport visibility animation, Leveraging featured images, Copy/paste blocks/rows/columns (hopefully), and more.

ProPhoto 6.17.0

Today we’re pushing out another free auto-update with new features for ProPhoto 6. Included in this update is:

  • Create ProPhoto galleries from post/page editor
  • Collapse blocks in customizer screen
  • Set image alt attribute for image widgets
  • Prevent drag/drop of protected images

Create Galleries from Post Page

To simplify a common workflow, in this release we’ve made it really easy to create a ProPhoto gallery while you’re creating a blog post or WordPress page. Any time you’re working in the WordPress media modal screen, you can now select a group of images and create a ProPhoto gallery:

Galleries that are created will have a title based on the post/page title you’re working on, and will embed in the default template-specific embed style :

 

You can click from the placeholder to further edit the gallery or it’s title, and you can also edit the embed to use any different gallery style, just like any other gallery placeholder.

We also added a new button allowing you to get straight to creating a gallery from the black ProPhoto media dropdown menu:

This will greatly simplify a common workflow of uploading a group of images for a blog post that you want to display as a gallery.  You can do it all from the screen where you are creating your blog post now.

Collapsible Blocks in the Customizer Screen

Also new in this release is the ability to collapse, or minimize blocks in the customizer admin screen.  To collapse a block, click the icon shown here:

The block will then move into collapsed mode, as shown here:

ProPhoto will remember which blocks you have customized, between templates, and sessions — so this should be pretty useful getting blocks out of your way that you rarely edit, so that you can focus on the parts you’re working on, as shown here:

Image Widget Alt Attributes

Also in 6.17.0, you can now specify image alt attribute text for image widgets:

And More…

Also, we included in this release the prevention of drag-drop saving images for most browsers. This new feature will automatically be enabled if you have ProPhoto’s image protection set to either “disable left and right clicks” or “disable clicks and add watermark”, as shown here:

As always, there’s more details and links to Github issues on our changelog, so head over there if you want more details.

Also, we updated our roadmap with a more precise view of the next pile of things we’re working on, so if you haven’t checked that out yet, it’s definitely worth a quick perusal.

ProPhoto 6.16.0

Today we’re pushing out pretty big free feature update to ProPhoto, version 6.16.0. This feature release was driven in great part by our reviewing the most up-voted issues on our public issue and feature request tracker. This release includes:

  • WooCommerce support
  • Revised & improved free designs
  • Constraining of gallery height
  • Inserting galleries as fullsize images
  • Facebook blog posts page preview image
  • Facebook preview meta override
  • Several significant gallery performance optimizations
  • Bugfixes

WooCommerce Support

ProPhoto 6 now supports the popular e-commerce plugin WooCommerce. WooCommerce is built on WordPress custom post types, which ProPhoto 6 supports natively for template assignments and overrides. This means that you can easily create custom ProPhoto templates for the various parts of your WooCommerce store, cart, checkout, and even individual products. We think ProPhoto 6 might be one of the most flexible themes to support WooCommerce for those looking to truly customize and tailor their e-commerce experience without being a programmer. We’re excited to hear what you think of the new integration.

Updated Included Designs

Two of our free designs, Sunny and Square, got some significant love in this release also, adding new templates, leveraging more recently released features, adding usability enhancements, and updating the look and feel. Checkout the demos here and here. Big thanks to Matt Hudson from La Lune for the updates!

Gallery Height Constraint

Another feature in this release is the ability to constrain the max height of a ProPhoto gallery to a percentage of the full window height. Lots of you have asked for this ability, so we’re really pleased to make this a possibility.

You can find the new controls in the gallery style editor in the Customizer screen, as shown below:

Insert Galleries as Fullsize Images

We added a new feature for galleries in this release as well. Now, if you want to insert a gallery into a post or page, you have a new option. Besides the normal option of embedding a gallery using any one of your ProPhoto gallery styles, you can also insert the gallery as full-size images, as shown here:

Inserting this way adds a normal placeholder into your post or page, indicating that the gallery will be displayed as fullsize images:

When the post or page is rendered, all of the gallery’s images will be displayed in a group, as if you had inserted them all individually. Then, if you ever update, re-order, add or delete images from that gallery, the post where you embedded the images in this way will automatically stay up to date with the source gallery.

Facebook Preview Controls

This release adds a new upload area in your ProPhoto Settings screen allowing you to designate a default preview image used by Facebook when you or anyone else shares a link specifically to your blog posts page on Facebook. ProPhoto 6 has always supported designated preview images for individual posts and pages.

It also adds a control to completely disable ProPhoto’s Facebook preview meta tags. Check this if you want to use a plugin to handle your Facebook sharing settings. This will prevent ProPhoto and your plugin from clashing and adding duplicate meta information, causing Facebook errors.

And more…

We also spent quite a bit of time working on performance and animation improvements for our galleries in this release. Plus, there are a load of small enhancements and bugfixes included as well. If you’re interested in all the details, as always, you can head over to the changelog.

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