Dynamic Content Gallery version 4.0 beta ready for testing

Dynamic Content Gallery screenshot

I am pleased to announce that a beta of version 4.0 of the Dynamic Content Gallery plugin for WordPress is now available for download and testing.

Note that as the next version has a huge number of changes and improvements, the version numbering will jump from the existing 3.3.5 to 4.0.

All of the features discussed in my Dynamic Content Gallery Development plans article have made it through to beta, the most significant being that the “Auto” Image Management mode now uses Featured Images, rather than the first image attachment. This makes it mega easy to change the DCG image by just re-setting the Featured Image in relevant posts/Pages. Additionally, the DCG will create its own image sizes, based on the user’s Gallery width and height settings, so that correctly sized images are automatically created during the image upload process. Another added feature is the ability to override the Featured Image by entering an image URL in the in-post DCG Metabox.

Please refer to the Dynamic Content Gallery Development plans article for more info regarding image sizing and the improved DCG Metabox functionality.

I think many of you will find the using Featured Images a much better way of assigning images to the DCG – especially those who, until now, have preferred to use the Full or Partial image management options due to the relative inflexibility of the current “first image attachment” functionality of Auto mode. I expect (hope?) that many people will switch to using Featured Images as a result of this improvement.

Requirements

You must be running WP 3.3 beta 3 or Nightly Builds.

It is recommended that you use WP_DEBUG so that you can report PHP errors, if any, that are thrown by the plugin. (There shouldn’t be any, according to my testing, but just in case…)

With the new image sizing, any images uploaded after installation of 4.0 beta will automatically have DCG image sizes created during the “Crunching…” process. However, it will be necessary to use a plugin such as the excellent Regenerate Thumbnails to create the new DCG image sizes for images already in the Media Library.

This is a development version of the plugin and you should NOT run this on a live, production site. I take absolutely no responsibility if you choose to install this on a live site and experience a subsequent problem; I will simply say “I told you so”.

Download

You can download the beta from here (WordPress repository). Bear in mind that this is NOT a tagged release and therefore you will be running a trunk version of the DCG. This means that this “beta” is in constant development right up until the release of the tagged version 4.0 sometime in the next few weeks. As bugs are found and fixed, this development version will be updated. It is therefore recommended that you download fresh versions of the “beta” from time to time, to be able to test the latest version right up until final release.

Installation

As this is a development version you cannot install this via the WordPress plugin installer, you must do it manually via FTP.

Note if upgrading from an earlier build of 4.0 beta to a later build of 4.0 beta: simply delete the existing dynamic-content-gallery-plugin folder from your wp-content/plugins directory, and upload the new version via FTP (unzip it first on your local machine before uploading). To be sure that any new settings are handled correctly, go to the DCG Settings page and click Save Changes. This will ensure that the settings in your database are up to date.

Reporting bugs

The whole point of a beta release is to get feedback from users and identify any bugs that may be lurking within. Therefore, please do let me have your feedback – especially if you have problems – so that I can fix these before final release.

Please report bugs here. Thanks.

Please note: although I have done a lot of testing on my own WP Multisite test install, I will really appreciate feedback from those of you who are using Multisite. Thanks!

Release notes

As mentioned earlier, the most significant feature of the new version is that Auto mode now uses Featured Images. To get the best results from this, for images which have already been uploaded prior to installation of v4.0 beta, you need to install the Regenerate Thumbnails plugin so that you can generate the correct DCG-specific image sizes for these images. Images uploaded after installation of DCG v4.0 beta will automatically have the correct image sizes created during the upload “crunching…” process.

This is a beta and therefore there are some rough edges here and there, such as some of the admin screens and the new Admin Bar contextual help, which are not 100% finished in terms of CSS and content. They should still work, however.

Here’s a run down of the major new features:

  • Image Management: new option to use Featured Images. This replaces the previous “Auto” method.
  • Automatic image sizing: the plugin uses add_image_size() to create new sizes based on the Gallery dimensions set in the DCG Settings > Gallery CSS options. Bear in mind that you will need to re-run the Regenerate Thumbnails plugin each time you change the gallery dimensions.
  • DCG Metabox: a new feature is that if Image Management is set to Featured Images you can override the Featured Image by entering an image URL in the DCG Metabox. This can be useful if, for whatever reason, you don’t want to use the Featured Image in the DCG for a particular post or Page.
  • Slide Pane Description: you can now use the post Excerpt as the Slide pane description.
  • Settings page: improved presentation of options – hopefully a bit more user-friendly for new users!
  • Bug squashing: tidied up some bugs and reorganised a lot of code.

Hope you enjoy it!

Comments

  1. littlemerry says:

    Hi.. this comment is not related to beta 4.0 but its about the dynamic content gallery, recently, I have uninstalled the plug-in because it has some errors and when I installed it again..and copy the code to my home.php.. it doesn’t show up my theme is genesis.. so I wanna ask where I can put the code?.. Please..reply.. I need answer asap thanks.

  2. Will DCG pull featured images from custom post types?? I’m hoping this will be included in the v4.0 since most advanced and commercial themes now use Custom Posts instead of the default Blog posts

  3. At last! Populating the slider with featured image has been on my wishlist for a long time. Have installed the slider 4 on client site and is working perfectly. Hope you will get this accepted into WP repository soon. Nice job!

    • Thanks for the feedback, Don!

      As soon as I’m happy that I’ve ironed out any remaining bugs, it will be live on the repository. :-)

  4. Here’s an error: everytime i change anything in the Dynamic Content Gallery Configuration i get a new page with this:

    Dynamic Content Gallery Message #99: An error has occurred. Go back and try again.
    Error with option: defaultTransition
    Value:

    The changes are saved, but always with this message error. Hope it helps.

    Keep up the good work.

    • Hi,

      Thanks for the feedback. Are you using mootools or jQuery?

      Also, was this a fresh install, or did you install over an earlier version. If the latter, which version of the DCG did you upgrade from?

      Thanks!

  5. Ade,

    I got the same error as Marco when upgrading from 3.3.5 to the latest 4.0 beta build. It happens with jQuery selected and also with mootools. My wordpress version is 3.3.1.

    When loading the homepage, it spits out an error saying that it failed to output.

    I deleted 4.0, re-uploaded 3.3.5 and it asked me to upgrade the database, which I did. After that completed it is all working correctly again.

    On a side note, THANK YOU for this plugin. It does pretty much exactly what I’ve been needing to do. You’re doing a great job with it!

    -Shane

    • Thanks for the feedback, Shane.

      I’ll look into this again. I think I know why, but need to do some more testing my end.

    • Can you try again using the latest beta version, available here?

      • Still getting same error when trying to change any settings. To move from 3.3.5 I deactivated the plugin, deleted the entire dynamic-content-gallery-plugin folder in plugins, uploaded the newest version from the link you just posted, and then activated the plugin. I then went to settings and hit “save changes”.

        I get an error page loading this url:
        http://www.insidehiltonheadsc.com/wp-admin/options.php

        This is the error:
        Dynamic Content Gallery Message #99: An error has occurred. Go back and try again.
        Error with option: defaultTransition
        Value:

        On the actual website where the gallery usually appears, it says:
        http://www.insidehiltonheadsc.com/

        In the view source, it says:

        Dynamic Content Gallery Error: View page source for details.



        Here’s the url I am testing it on…I left the newest 4.0 gallery on it:
        http://www.insidehiltonheadsc.com/

        Hope that helps…

        • well that comment got messed up when I added the code….hopefully you can tell what I was trying to say.

          • *UPDATE*

            After going to settings and choosing “Reset all options to the Default settings” it was then able to save. I had to manually edit all of my settings back, but it works now…both mootools and jquery versions.

            I know that doesn’t really solve the issue at hand (upgrading from 3.3.5 to 4.0), but at least it’s a workaround for now.

          • Thanks for the feedback, Shane.

            I can’t reproduce this on my test server. I’m going to try to replicate yoiur setup exactly, so can you tell me what settings you have for Javascript Options > Transition Type?

            Also, please confirm whether or not your 3.3.5 settings are using mootools.

            I really would like to track this down. Thanks!

            Another thought: did you delete the old version of v4.0 before reinstalling 3.3.5? In other words, did you delete v4.0 via the Plugins screen?

          • For info, to properly test the upgrade process the following steps should be performed:

            1. Go to Dashboard > Plugins and Deactivate the DCG
            2. Then, still in the Plugins page, “Delete” the DCG. This will remove all the files and – most importantly – clear out the DCG’s settings from the database.
            3. Now install DCG v3.3.5 using the usual Add Plugin method
            4. Set up the DCG’s settings however you wish and make sure it’s working properly
            5. Now, using FTP, delete the dynamic-content-gallery-plugin folder from wp-content/plugins folder
            6. Upload the dev version of the DCG via FTP
            7. Go to the DCG Settings page and click Save Changes

            An added step to assist with this troubleshooting issue – after step 4 but before step 5 – is to use phpMyAdmin to browse the DCG’s settings stored in the wp_options table. Look for the entry called dfcg_plugin_settings in the wp_options table and see what value is shown for the “defaultTransition” option. If you are not used to working with serialised data, you can just paste the entire dfcg_plugin_settings stuff here instead.

  6. After step 4, the defaultTransition was fade.

    After doing those steps exactly, it worked perfectly…well, almost. It added a [more] link to my slide descriptions…on the 1st slide the [more] link went to the correct URL, but on the 2nd slide the [more] link did not change…it still had the url of the first slide.

    I just removed the [more] from my settings.

    Thanks for the fast updates and bug fixes! Hopefully this gets you a step closer to launching it.

    Nice job!

    • Hi Shane,

      Thanks again for bearing with me on this.

      What were your Descriptions settings when 3.3.5 was installed, ie before you upgraded to v4.0 beta?

      Thanks.

      • manual. I manually added descriptions for the features.

        When I upgraded, it added the [more] link after the description and that’s where the issue popped up with the [more] link pointing to the correct url on the first slide and then not changing on the second slide.

        Btw, I’m using the mootools version.

      • Also, it looks like when jquery is selected and using the ID method for the gallery, it uses the url (what the feature links to) from the first slide for the second. I added a 3rd feature and the url was /Array for that one.

        I switched the gallery method to multi option and one category…those both worked fine and the urls updated on each slide as expected.

        The urls work fine and update on each slide when using mootools with ID Method…so it’s a jquery thing.

      • Thanks again, Shane.

        I can now recreate both errors!

        The Error #99 / defaultTransition issue I’ve now tracked down and can fix. The [more] link issue is proving a little trickier – but I’ll find it.

        I haven’t updated v4.0 beta yet and will post back when I’ve done so.

      • I’ve just updated the ZIP file. Both errors should now be fixed.

        • Bingo! Confirmed the url now updates properly when going past slide 1. Nice!

          One small thing I just noticed is that when “manual” is selected in the Descriptions tab, unchecking the Append “Read More” link to manual descriptions box doesn’t really remove the [more] link…to get it removed, you have to clear out the field in the “auto” section for “Text for ‘more’ link added to Auto description.” Seems to be that way with both jquery and mootools.

          Getting closer!

        • Great!

          Good catch re the “Append More link to Manual Descriptions” checkbox being ignored. I’ve now fixed this and updated the ZIP file accordingly.

          Thanks again for all your help tracking down these issues. Much appreciated!

  7. Just installed the latest beta and indeed the checkbox now works!

    I think you mentioned this somewhere else already, but is it possible to get the whole slide (including the title and description) to be clickable in the jquery version? The whole thing can be clicked in the mootools version but not jquery.

    As far as bugs in 4.0 go, I think you squashed everything I could find. Looks great to me!

    • Great! Thanks for the feedback – and all your help in assisting me to track them down!

      Regarding the clickable area, they are the same size in both jQuery amd Mootools versions. The slidepane area isn’t clickable in either, nor is a narrow strip equivalent to the height of the Featured Articles label. The next and prev links each take up a strip 25% of the gallery width. These two strips of 25% can be reduced in size via the CSS. Apart from that, there’s not much that can be done without reworking some of the javascript.

      Talking of the javascript, the next job on my to do list is to introduce a Responsive jQuery script. But let me get v4.0 out of the door first. :-)

      • Hmmm…when I select Mootools it makes the whole feature clickable including the slidepanel with title and description. (undocumented feature? haha) But when I select jquerysmooth, just the image above the slidepanel is clickable….the title and description cannot be clicked on. That’s what was throwing me off.

        Anyway, yeah, everything looks good to me to get 4.0 released!

        • Shane,

          Could be a browser difference. The behaviour I was describing is observed on my default browser, Firefox / Mac.

          • Yeah, I tested it in firefox 10.0.2 on Mac, Chrome on Mac, Safari on Mac, I even tested in IE9, 8, and 7 on Windows 7 and XP….all of them have the slidepanel clickable when using mootools but not jquerysmooth.

            Check out http://www.insidehiltonheadsc.com/ and see if the slidepanel is clickable for you.

          • Our configurations were slightly different. You have disabled the carousel and the navigation arrows, and this combination results in the behaviour you reported. Slidepane isn’t clickable if the nav arrows are enabled. (Which is something even I didn’t know until today, lol.)

            I will have to look at the script to see what’s going on.

          • haha, like I said – undocumented feature!

            You think you’ll tweak it any more or is it good to launch 4.0 now?

          • :-)

            It’s basically good to launch now. There are a couple of minor tweaks to do to deal with upgrading from very old versions (prior to 3.2), but nothing that will affect an up and running install.

  8. I love the DCG! The one feature I’ve been hoping for is something to make ordering the images/posts easier. Right now I use the ID method since I want my most recent post to be the first image that comes up in the slide show. I like to display a mix of current posts with 1 or two oldies showing at the end of the slide show.
    In order to have the images display in the order I prefer, each time I write a new post, I have to go back and renumber all the posts again. I’ve kind of created a work around by numbering the post I wish to show last, a large number and going back from there.
    What I’d love to see is the ability to order the posts according to the way I have them listed under the “ID Method Settings” box. Then I could just add the latest post at the front of the list of posts numbers in the “Page/post ID numbers” box. Right now if I uncheck “Use Custom Image Order” it reverts to showing them in numerical order, placing my most recent post at the end of the slider display, which is the opposite of what I need.
    Am I missing something?

  9. Thanks for a great plug-in!Looking forward to using this update with the “featured image”.

    One question: any chance this will allow us to set content target to “blank” so it will open in a new window? Oh please oh please oh please oh please???

  10. Carlos del Río says:

    It’s still in beta? When the first release?

  11. Hi!

    FIrst, what a fantastic plugin and I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to make it and maintain it.

    The only thing that would make me even happier is the Featured Images update, so I’ve been waiting with bated breath for the past 6 months for version 4.0 to hit the wordpress repository :) Do we have an ETA on the new release yet? It’s still showing there as v3.3.5.

    Thanks!

    Jane

  12. Is there any further development of this program? Since November ’11…DCG was getting ready to release 4.0, and now with the 3.5 WordPress Upgrade, DCG 3.3.5 is no longer functioning properly on many of my sites.

    • Don,

      Yes there is further development and a release date is “soon”. Unfortunately, inconvenient things (like having to earn a living) have seriously delayed things.

      However, the DCG is not dead and I’m currently re-tweaking it for WP3.5 compatibility.

  13. Tamara says:

    Hi

    the dynamic content gallery is cutting off my images at the bottom and top. Is there a way to position them is the css so that they do not get cut off.

    also when is there going to be a working version of DCG 4?

    • Hi Tamara,

      Please post support questions here.

      DCG v4 beta should work fine. Please report any bugs here in these Comments.

      Production version of v4 is in progress, as mentioned in my reply to Don, above.

  14. Hi!

    First of all, 4.0 is a big improvement management-wise.

    Unfortunately, there seems to be a bug where the slider refuses to pull in the right image size. It always uses the full-size image, even though thumbnails that match the slider size have clearly been generated (verified via FTP). I’ve tried checking and unchecking ‘hard crop’ (and regenerating thumbnails in the mean time), but no love.

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