Themergency fooplugins

A NextGen Alternative : FooGallery


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.

Introducing FooGallery

FooGallery was created with 3 basic goals in mind:

  1. It had to be extremely easy and intuitive for site administrators to manage galleries and media.
  2. It had to look sexy out of the box for your website visitors.
  3. 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 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!

NextGen Importer

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.

Give FooGallery A Try

  • Visit the FooGallery homepage.
  • Download it from the plugin repo.
  • Follow the development on Github.
  • Check out the FooGallery showcase site.

R.I.P. Old Plugins


Today, I got an auto-generated mail from to update my plugins to be compatible with WordPress 3.9. I am so glad they have started sending out these notifications, because it got me thinking about all my plugins (15 and counting now):

Update old plugins


I Can No Longer Maintain Them All

It comes down to the simple fact : I cannot maintain this many free plugins going forward. And to make it worse, some do not even work anymore! And some have not been updated in over 2 years and have this message when I view them on the repo:

Plugin Not Updated In Ages!


It is not fair to the community and it is also not fair to myself. I kept telling myself that I will update them and get them working again, but the reality is I just do not have time to maintain them any longer.  So enough is enough! As of today, I am retiring some of these plugins:

Post Admin Shortcuts

Description: This plugin allows you to easily ‘pin’ posts, pages and custom post types. When you pin a post a shortcut link appears in the post menu.

Downloads: 1,114.

Last Updated: Dec 2010!

I still love the idea of this plugin, but I think the name was confusing to most would-be users. That is why I renamed it and rewrote it from the ground up as Admin Bookmarks.

Show Hidden Custom Fields

Description: Makes hidden custom fields visible when editing a post.

Downloads: 1,709.

Last Updated: Sep 2010!

This was a little plugin that was born out of necessity at the time. I needed to view hidden custom fields on a post. I have not used it in over 4 years and it no longer even works. There is a replacement plugin that does exactly the same thing except that one works : Show Hidden Post Meta. So going forward I will use that if I need to.

Google Pac-Man

Description: Embed a Pac-Man mini game into your blog post with the shortcode [pacman].

Downloads: 3,457.

Last Updated: Sep 2010!

This was just a fun plugin to insert a little pac-man game into your site. It was ripped off from a Google homepage doodle when Pac-Man celebrated it’s 30th anniversary a few years back. Fun, but useless plugin. Goodbye!

Twitter Blackbird Pie

Description: Add awesome looking embedded HTML representations of actual tweets in your blog posts just by adding simple shortcodes.

Downloads: 51,721.

Last Updated: Jan 2012!

This was very hard for me to retire. This plugin started my WordPress career and is the reason why I got into WordPress plugin development. But I need to look past the nostalgia and face reality. Tweet oEmbeds (which is now built into WordPress core) makes this plugin redundant. Oh yes, and it does not even work anymore! Ever since Twitter updated their API to require oAuth to authenticate, Twitter Blackbird Pie could no longer embed new tweets. So this begs the question: how come people are still downloading it? 8 downloads from yesterday alone!? Another reason why I need to take this plugin down - it’s misleading users.

There is nothing worse then finding a plugin on the repo, installing it, only to find out it does not work as expected. That makes me rage! So why put other WordPress users through the same thing with my plugins? When I finally realized this fact, I knew it was time to kill these off.

May their old, outdated code rest in peace!

FooBox on Plugin Repository


fooplugins turned 1 year old this past week, and to celebrate, we decided to give something back to the WordPress community:

We released a free version of FooBox on the plugin repository!

Now available on the <a href="" target="_blank"> repo</a>


The free version only works with WordPress galleries and attachment images and does not come with the social sharing and a bunch of other features, but it is still the best lightbox out there in my opinion (although I am biased) and it does an awesome job of opening and viewing gallery images.

Read the blog post on fooplugins or Check out the plugin on the repo!