If you are looking for a free web photo/image gallery software for your site then ZenPhoto may be the solution you are looking for (we have reviewed Coppermine photo gallery in the past and it’s one of the competitors of ZenPhoto).
It got a Web 2.0 SEOMoz honorable mention for 2006 and it’s still one of the simplest web photo gallery software out there. Despite its simplicity it does its job quite well: displaying photos online.
Simple doesn’t mean it’s not powerful and here are some features:
- Plugin system (if you heard about WordPress then you know what that means)
- Multi-lingual titles and descriptions
- Upload images, albums (folders) or even zip-archives
- Automatically generated thumbnails, custom crops possible!, and sized-down images
- Upload via FTP or via the admin interface
- Move/copy/rename images and albums without loosing any data
- Video support for Flash Video (.flv), MPEG4 (.mp4), Quicktime (.mov) and 3GP (.3gp)
- Audio support for MP3 and MP4
- Comments on images and albums with powerful spam filters
- AJAX-powered edit-while-you-browse
- Sub albums; interface for moving/renaming images and albums.
- Password protection for gallery and albums
- EXIF and IPTC support
- Image and album rating
- Dynamic albums: Generate albums from searches!
- Watermarks for images
- Powerful search with boolean expressions
- Tags: Categorize you images with tags
- Highly customizable theme engine
- rss for gallery, albums and comments
- Multiple administrative users with varying rights
- Cruft free, search engine friendly URLs with mod_rewrite
ZenPhoto web photo gallery software is built on PHP/MySQL and it’s open source.
The new ZenPhoto gallery, version 1.2.4, has these added features:
* Passwords for protected images
* Setup improvements: File/folder permissions security
* Gallery statistics extended for tags and Zenpage items
* Mixed field/tag searches in boolean expressions
* Media RSS improvements, RSS for latest albums
* A little admin design modernization
* filter for comment posting
o New: Flowplayer 3
o Zenpage now included as official plugin
+ Performance improvements
+ More internal restructuring and integration with Zenphoto
+ Content scheduling and expiration
+ Some pure theme related plugin options moved to theme options
+ Zenpage setup integrated with main Zenphoto setup
+ Zenpage default theme
# Homepage option to choose any unpublished page
# Thickbox theme option
o paged_thumbs_nav: search mode support
o contact_form: multilingual support
o flvplayer: Now incorporates the former flv_playlist plugin
* other minor bugfixes and improvements
Movable Type, the well-known blog software company, just launched “Motion“, which integrates activity streams, microblogging, and portable identities into a software package that can be installed into the company’s hosted publishing platform, Movable Type Pro.
You can use it to create a public Twitter-like microblog for your existing community, or you can use it as an internal instrument to monitor and track activities in social networks from around the web.
To use this free piece of software you will need an appropriate Movable Type Pro license (see here). The team can help getting you started.
What this software does (according to Movable Type):
* Create a private, custom action aggregator to track sentiment and glean intelligence from conversations around the web through action streams.
* Provide a private microblog community for simple internal employee or team collaboration.
* Publish a public microblog to nurture and grow your community while increasing your page views.
* Create a public social network to connect to your community across the web instead of competing against other social networks.
These are the features of Motion:
* Action Streams
Collect and share actions from across the web, from dozens of supported services including Flickr, YouTube, Twitter, Delicious, Digg and more.
* Rich Microblogging
It’s easy to post text, links, images, audio or embedded video with just a click.
* Powerful Profiles
Motion profiles show their actions from across the web for all your registered users. Site members can follow each other, and easily upload profile pictures.
* Sign in with any web account
Your community members can authenticate with their existing account from Google, Yahoo, Facebook, AOL, or any OpenID provider. Now half a billion web users can comment or vote on your content without hitting a registration barrier.
Watch a demo below or read their Frequently Asked Questions.
If you want to have the content management system Joomla + extensions and tools in one package now you have it.
The name is Seedling and it makes your life easier when it comes to build or manage your website.
The software installation on your host/server is quickly and easily (2-3 minutes), featuring a customizable template and demo content which you can edit or replace to create your website.
One thing the Seedling folks don’t mention explicitly is what exactly is in the package beside Joomla (which is also not the official release of Joomla Project but a customized version). They just mention “article commenting, advanced image handling, embedded video and more“.
This package is not free though. Seedling + basic support is $49 and Seedling + professonal support is $349 (1 year).
Seedling is built by the people from Design Guru, a Toronto, Canada based company with 5 years experience in using Joomla content management system.
They also maintain a pro-Joomla blog found called Why Joomla where they have more details about Seedling.
Watch a tutorial about using Seedling below
OpenX, famous for the free ad server management software, recently launched a WordPress plugin named Advertising Manager. With this plugin you are able to manage the advertising from Google Adsense and other networks.
The plugin allows you to easily place the ads either within your WordPress blog posts, or within your WordPress theme (manage the ad networks ads inside the WordPress admin console, without the need for consistently modifying HTML, or managing a separate application, when you need to change those ads).
The plugin is in public beta phase now and, of course, it’s free (like everything which comes from OpenX).
This Java based content management system is at version 4.0 now (don’t confuse this web software with Ma.gnolia.com – the social bookmarking web service).
Magnolia CMS it’s, maybe, not well known to the large audience but it is powering many of the government websites as well as Fortune 500 enterprises.
This new version introduces production-ready content delivery templates that provide a large set of out-of-the-box functionality. Content delivery is search-engine optimized, follows accessibility guidelines and introduces support for mobile devices.
The new Templating Kit allows designers and programmers to quickly and easily build best-practice web site designs and to control the complete layouting life-cycle (part of “Supersonic Templating” bundle). There are ready made templates for Magnolia 4.0 to create custom designs that dynamically adapt content delivery to various devices, including the iPhone. The standard templates are search engine optimized (SEO) and follow W3C accessibility guidelines. Multiple Web site designs for front- and back-ends can be managed from within Magnolia’s browser-based administration interface.
These are, in short, the new features of Magnolia content management system, version 4.0:
* New Standard Templating Kit
* Enhanced email module
* New templates management module
* New Multi-Site module (Enterprise Edition)
* Incorporates Search Engine Optimization (SEO) best practice
* Access control, workflows, automated backups for design elements
* Follows Web content accessibility guidelines (WCAG2 and Germany’s BITV)
* New web forms module
* XHTML-conformant page templates with table-less CSS layout
* Smart view-port detection to provide optimal browsing experience on any device, including mobile devices such as the iPhone
* Supports FreeMarker Templating language in addition to Java Server Pages (JSP)
Magnolia CMS 4.0 can be downloaded immediately because it’s free (open-source). I am talking about its variant called the Community edition because Magnolia has also an enterprise variant which is not free (it offers more enterprise functionalities).
The support for the enterprise edition is provided by Magnolia International LTD. and starts at $12,000 (doesn’t seem cheap but it is for big enterprises and government after all (not for small businesses).
Download Magnolia Community Edition here.
If you want to build an online community which would have the characteristics of YouTube (video sharing), MySpace (social networking), Facebook (social networking), Odeo (audio-video search engine), Flickr (online photo sharing) and Match (online dating) then you will need a web software like Boonex Dolphin.
Dolphin incorporates all the features which above sites have but at a fraction of the cost: free.
And now Boonex just launched an alpha version (public preview) of the latest Dolphin 7 – called also Hookie (the stable version is Dolphin 6.1). The version will be the last which supports their current engine. The next Dolphin, version 8 will be based on a new engine called Poseidon (which is BoonEx proprietary software engine and development framework).
More details about Dolphin 7a preview release you cand find on Boonex blog .
Dolphin 7 community software is (will be) 100% open-source (including Flash Apps, Adobe Air App, iPhone App and Android App).
The Drupal security team released security fixes and some bug fixes for Drupal, version 6.x and 5.x.
One of the security release is critical and it is recommended you upgrade ASAP.
The upgrade instructions can be found here.
Drupal is a very powerful open-source content management system built in PHP/MySQL/PostgreSQL (other database are supported too).
It runs best in an Unix/Linux/Apache environment and it has implemented a caching mecahnism which makes it quite scalable.
It has lots of features including multilanguage support, templating, caching, blogging, administration, community features and it is used by sites like Warner Bros, The New York Observer, Fast Company, Amnesty International, SpreadFirefox.
Many hosting companies offers this software as an easy instalable package so you can start right away. Drupal site is also rich in informations and tutorials. It has an active forum too where you can find support and even developers if you need them, not to mention books written about it (Amazon.com is a good place to start looking for those).
Another open source content management system which is a strong contender to Drupal and is widely used too is Joomla.
We will review Drupal soon and give you our opinions.
If Zimplit was one of the simplest content management systems (see the next post below) around and it’s open-source PHP based, AxCMS.net isn’t among the simplest and is not open-source based.
But is has one thing in common with Zimplit: it’s free.
AxCMS.net is Microsoft .NET technology based and you would expect to cost some money. Well, it’s not.
Since 2001 it had 8 major releases and now it’s at the version 8.5, Axinom being the developer and providing also the funding.
This version has many improvements (like any new software release):
# Multilanguage: new languages can be easily added by the editor
# Multilanguage: improved user interface for translations
# Export and import of page contents, categories and user profiles in XML
# New and improved interactive controls with Microsoft Silverlight and Adobe Flash
# Newsletter service: bounce-management, attachments, parallel HTML- and „Plain Text“
# Tracking / reporting: track (user-)individual links specifically to evaluate click rates.
# Extended and improved online documentation: http://en.help.axcms.net
# AxCMS.net service for implementing Asynchronous Business Processes
# Custom logging: trace any actions with contextual meta-information
# Search and indexing is now possible in “custom fields”
# Lists can now be adapted to meet individual needs (filters, columns, “bulk operations”)
According to Axinom, AxCMS.net web content management system is a high end solution, for websites in a price range of 5.000 to 500.000 USD…which, basically, rules out the part time web developer used to built websites in WordPress.
Axinom, the company, has offices in UK, Germany (the headquarter), Estonia (the developers playground), Switzerland (the money vault) and, of course, USA.
It has a worldwide network of partners (plannig to have over 200 this year) and it is Microsoft Gold Certified Partner and International Microsoft Vendor.
You can signup for a demo acount on their website.
Zimplit isn’t only the easiest content management system so far (we are still in the process of testing it) but now the company who built it has another offer: a fully rebrandable solution for companies and organizations who want to provide easily editable webpages for their customers. Rebrandable means that the entire software interface will be modified to suit customers own branding (Zimplit name is never mentioned). To make starting a website business easier, they will also provide manuals, demos, templates and even monthly newsletters. All this will carry customers brand so “Zimplit CMS” will become “Your Company CMS“.
They will also modify the toolbar as you wish, from a very spartan one (one button) to a rich one (having all the modules and widgets). Not only that but the company behind Zimplit will offer ready made templates or custom ones integrating your brand as well. The company will allow you sell this content management software having your brand on it. Or offer it for free to your customers, your choice.
The potential beneficiaries of Zimplit offer are school and universities, hosting companies and designers.
Of course, there is a price for this service and you can find out more here (the standard version, non-rebrandable, is free).
Zimplit is the easiest Open Source CMS (Content Management System). We keep repeating that because what we have tested so far looks like it’s indeed the easiest to use. It is extremely lightweight, simple and customizable. It’s easy to install, and easy to use via a simple web interface.
Zimplit doesn’t need a database and it consists of only a one core engine file. It is built for PHP 4.3 or higher and GD library (which is optional). Zimplit is created by Krabi & Mask, one of the oldest design agencies in Estonia. Since 1998, Krabi & Mask has been offering web solutions, print design, and digital media solutions for European businesses.
Yes, our website MyTestbox.com was down for several days starting with the last weekend and lasting until day before yesterday.
As you have already seen, we went through a major overhaul of our site design. We got many reviews of our last design that it was nice and elegant but too dark for long reading.
Well, we listened to the reviews and changed for the better.
However, this change wasn’t without pain… And this “thanks” is to our webhosting company, Bluehost.com. I have chosen Bluehost (it was my responsibility – I didn’t know I was going to regret that) after researching offers and reviews for several hosting providers. Our site is not that big in terms of storage and traffic demands (at least, for now) so I wanted to get a good offer with a fair price (we were looking, basically, for a shared account for now). From among hundreds of companies in this field I have selected a few (of course, I have researched all of them). Goddady, Dreamhost, Lunarpages, Hostway, Hostgator were among the frontrunners but in the end I settled down for Bluehost.com.
Good offering, good price and, as I read and then experienced, good customer service.
One big drawback though: from among many reviews almost nobody mentioned about their backup policy. Thinking it’s pretty solid I went with them and signed for one year (on their features page they say “Courtesy Site Backups” but they don’t tell how often they are doing this “courtesy”).
For several months all went fine. Site was up, handled traffic quite well. Then all the hell broke loose: the site could not connect to the database (we use MySQL database for the backend, the front end being the well-known web software WordPress).
I found out the Bluehost’s database server was down. I called them and they, curteously, explained that they had a problem with their database system and they have to reset it, which means restoring from a backup.
1-2 weeks old backups??
But guess what? Their backup happened to be one week old! And thus I lost several posts. Ok, I wrote them back (one thing I dislike the most is repeating the efforts of what has already been done). I just finshed those articles (took me 2-3 days because I have other things to do too) and guess what? Bluehost’s database went cuckoo again. So I lost AGAIN what I have just wrote! No wonder, they had, yet AGAIN, a backup one week old. Yes, I know, I should have my backup too. I understand that. But not always you can have the latest nor have time to have the latest. So I learned my lesson and I installed a backup plugin for the WordPress database which does a daily backup and it’s kept on the server and I download it from time to time on my computer.
Now, other months went by…and we decided to change the site’s design. Last week we did that and then we started to put back stuff we had before also upgrading WordPress (and configuring). Again, we just finished and this time the Bluehost’s web server went to meet its Creator. In other words, it died. And because we did work directly on the server (yeah, silly again) no backups were made.
When it was time to recover the files Bluehost said “We are sorry, the backup we have is two weeks old…“. Their apologies didn’t help me much. We had to re-do ALL what we have done previously. Which meant another week lost.
Now, I asked them and I ask you too: is it normal that a web hosting company over 10 years old to have this one or two weeks backup policy??
I mean there are many other companies which have daily backups (but not better offers) and even we had to pay we would had paid to recover our files. They didn’t even have that (a paid backup policy).
“We do a courtesy backup for our clients…” they said. Courtesy backup?? Paying customers are relying on the hosting company to take care of their site, aren’t they? Especially when the things are going awry. They would be happy to pay 2-3 dollars more just to have peace of mind. In today’s world sites are not static anymore like they were 10 years ago. The content is changing quite often and that needs to be backed up often. I guess they are still stuck in yesterday’s era with their backup policy. I understand backing up so many files on a server takes some time. But other companies do it — they can do it too (doesn’t hurt to ask others.)
Godaddy to the rescue
So, after hours of mumblings we switched to Godaddy (I have the domain with Godaddy and I didn’t want to have all the eggs in the same basket – but it seems now I do). Goddady is based in the same city I am, so at least they are local (not to mention they are the world’s biggest domain reseller).
Godaddy had a good offer of their version of just introduced cloud hosting called “Grid Hosting” which resembles somehow with Amazon S3, MediaTemple, Mosso or Joyent offers.
So far we are happy, the site seems to respond faster than on Bluehost…but it’s to early to tell more. Hopefully, they’ll do better and yes, they have a daily backup policy (thank you very much!).
One goal of MyTestBox is to present reviews and opinions about hosting companies too (they are hosting many of the web software we are or will review) besides web software reviews and news from the industry.
If you want to tell us your opinions/feedback about other web hosting companies you are welcome to write articles as guest authors and send them to us.
Soon we can give access to people to register and post articles in our activity field.
It seems the CEO of Bluehost, Matt Heaton, found a method to make the backups more faster (and thus more often) by “dumping the name of any file that was created/modified (any bytes written) at the time the file was modified and use that as a list of files to back up“.
Hopefully, they will implement this ASAP because what happened to me did happen to others too and that is a “blue” spot on the company’s cheek.