If you create sites for clients then you have probably used (or at least tried) NextGen gallery plugin for WordPress. It used to be my goto plugin for creating image galleries, but with recent updates, I started looking for a NextGen alternative. But finding an alternative was not that easy, and usually meant I had to fork out some cash. That has changed, cause there is now a NextGen alternative. It is called FooGallery!
Disclaimer: I am the developer of the FooGallery plugin so I may be biased in my opinions, but this is my blog, so I am entitled to that.
What Is Wrong With NextGen
Quite a few things, but to me the big showstoppers are:
- Too slow! NextGen slows down every site I install it on. I am not sure if it is the complicated POPE framework it uses under the hood, or just the shear amount of code, but I can’t get over how slow it is to do anything with NextGen. Which leads onto my next point…
- It’s bloated. The plugin does too much and most of the time I never use half of what it has to offer.
- It’s non WordPress standard. NextGen reinvents the wheel at every turn. Custom uploader, custom gallery management pages. To a client, it is extremely obvious that NextGen is not part of WordPress.
- It’s hard to extend. NextGen is hard to extend from a developer point of view. I write plugins for WordPress, so I have dived into the code. It is not as easy as it should be.
But Let’s Be Fair…
I also have to be fair and give credit where credit it due. NextGen is loved by millions, and it does a lot of stuff, so kudos to the team! It must be a very daunting task to release updates that you know will be received by millions of customers that rely on your plugin (some rely on it to run their businesses – think photographers).
Also, FooGallery does not do everything that NextGen does, but that is the point. I wanted to keep it lean and fast, but allow for it to be extended via the extensions framework.
FooGallery was created with 3 basic goals in mind:
- It had to be extremely easy and intuitive for site administrators to manage galleries and media.
- It had to look sexy out of the box for your website visitors.
- Developers had to be able to extend the hell out of it.
FooGallery For Site Admins
There is no other gallery plugin on the market that can match the awesomeness of FooGallery from a gallery management point of view. I know that statement is cocky and arrogant, but I have tried all of the other gallery plugins!
Gallery Management Features
- Creating a gallery is as simple as creating a post (possibly even easier).
- Add/upload images via the built-in media manager.
- Re-order images via drag and drop.
- Shortcode copy to clipboard awesomeness.
- Create a draft gallery page in a single click. (This creates a page with the same name as your gallery and inserts the shortcode into the page content).
- See which pages or posts the gallery is used on (with quick links to edit and view).
Visual Editor Features
- Insert a gallery onto the page or post using the gallery picker dialog.
- Gallery shortcodes are shown as visual gallery placeholders within the editor.
FooGallery For Site Visitors
FooGallery comes with 4 amazing gallery templates that should cater to most needs, and fit in with existing themes. Here is a FooGallery example:
- Default responsive gallery template. This is the default gallery template and comes with some awesome options for border and hover effects. You can also preview what your thumbs will look like in real time! Check out a demo.
- Masonry gallery template. Everyone loves masonry, so there is a masonry template. Demo.
- Simple portfolio gallery template. A great gallery template to show off your portfolio. Demo.
- Justified Grid Gallery Template. A gallery template that justifies the images to fill all the spaces! Demo.
FooGallery For WordPress Developers
My favorite part of FooGallery is how easy it is to extend and modify! At the heart of FooGallery is an extension framework. The idea behind this was to keep the core plugin lightweight, and make it easy for others to build on top of it.
The extension framework is also unique in the fact that extensions can be hosted in the WordPress.org repository, or on GitHub, or on BitBucket, or in your own Amazon bucket.
It must also be noted that FooGallery extensions are in essence WordPress plugins. So if you know how to write a normal WordPress plugin, then you already have all the skills you need to create your own extension.
FooGallery Extensions Marketplace
The extensions page lists all available extensions for FooGallery. The list of extensions is stored as a “feed” on Github. So the feed can be updated without the need for a plugin update. There is nothing worse than getting hundreds of plugin updates for a plugin!
I call it a marketplace, because both free and premium extensions are listed in the marketplace. And with a single click you can install an extension and then activate it.
Build Your Own FooGallery Extensions
There are dozens of actions and filters built into FooGallery. The default gallery templates themselves are a bundled extension, so half of the FooGallery plugin itself is using it’s own extension framework. And there is a boilerplate extension generator built in, so you can get up and running in seconds!
And for those with dozens of galleries already created in NextGen, have no fear, there is also a free NextGen importer extension to help you move over to FooGallery.