jAlbum Web Gallery Software
Engaging your audience with media
It has been proven by independent studies that images are over 70% more effective at engaging audience as compared to text. This simply points to one thing- for getting more users, creating more engaging websites and driving traffic, one needs to make the most of graphics. However, just having a bunch of images is not the answer here. Knowing how to utilize them is a big part of the puzzle- and this is where JAlbum comes in.
In all its simplicity, jAlbum is a software that can be used for creating online photo streams and albums. This works with existing websites, no matter what platform they are built on. For those who do not have a website, sharing images is made possible via the jAlbum.net website-, which is a platform for doing a lot more with images than just sharing them with your friends and social circle.
As they describe it, jAlbum is a software to make online albums using your own videos and audio. It comes complete with a range of themes and skins that make all this media more presentable. In addition to that, users also have the option to customize and create their own skins for a website or blog.
It is compatible with all Windows versions 7 and above, for both 32 and 64 bit versions. For Mac users, OS X 10.8.3 or later is required. For those Mac users who wish to use jAlbum with Max OS X 10.6 or 10.7, an older version of this tool can be downloaded. It works with all Linux operating systems, as well as other Unix platforms as well. All users need Java for jAlbum to work.
UI and Ease of Access
The first thing to talk about is installation. Depending on the operating system, the installation may vary. However, jAlbum is not that hard to setup- and the average user will have it up and running in just a few minutes. The UI of this tool is not that complicated, with the startup screens showing a list of all the media files in the default media location along with a number of other options.
You can drag and drop files into the jAlbum explorer to work on them. It allows you to divide different files into folders and subfolders for better organization of your media. To aid in accessibility, the context menu can be accessed by right clicking on a file, which gives access to the frequently used tasks such as rotating the image, sorting, selecting a thumbnail for the folder and so on. Captions can also be added under thumbnails as a sort of note for the specific file.
Once you are done playing around with your media, jAlbum lets you upload it to any blog, website or webpage that you own. It will even let you share an entire album from your collection. For those who do not have their own website, jalbum.net is a place to get started on sharing, storing and bringing their albums to the public in a great way. With its basic purpose served, let’s now see how good jAlbum actually is.
While it does not take a professional photographer to learn how to use jAlbum, the UI is still a little cluttered. For someone who is using such a tool for the 1st time, it may take a while to find the required option from the numerous ones on the list. However, despite that minor hitch, jAlbum is a very easy tool to use and make the most out of. You can find what you are looking for with a little bit of effort. All your media files can be organized in the preferred manner to make working easy for you.
Why should you prefer jAlbum?
One of the biggest reasons for using jAlbum is the fact that it allows you to work with large volumes of images in a very organized and efficient manner. Right from 100 to 100,000 images can be worked upon and processed using jAlbum. While it claims to be very fast at processing all of these- how efficiently will it work depends on the machine as well as the internet connection that you are using jAlbum on. The UI comes really helpful here- you can organize all your media in a way that allows you to streamline your work. Further, you can add images to your jAlbum by a custom email ID. You can attach such email IDs to your projects, and any images that are mailed to them are automatically updated in the linked album/project. The contributors are further notified of all the relevant updates too.
The in-built file organizer in jAlbum is one of the best things about it, especially for those who work with large volumes of images. It creates trees of the files based on their camera date (further broken down into year, month and so on), the place (GPS based) and the name. It also handles duplicates on its own. The tool allows you to redo/undo at multiple levels to make playing around with images easier.
As mentioned earlier, jAlbum works with Mac, Windows as well as Linux systems. Being a cross platform software, it does not make too much use of cloud services, making use of your present folder structure along with Adobe’s standard to handle the metadata. All of this allows you to integrate jAlbum along with Lightroom, Photoshop as well as Bridge. The metadata of images is kept intact no matter what you may do with them.
For the ones who like to perform some extra modification, jAlbum stores the configuration files in XML and plain text. In addition to that, a large majority of the skins that are present in the tool are open source, thus giving you the choice to modify them as desired. Around 10 skins are bundled along with jAlbum, and a lot more are available in the skins section for you to use.
Talking about customization, the skins of jAlbum are what make it such a customizable tool. There are many skins that come with advanced functionalities, such as integration with Google Maps, shopping carts and video playback. All of this makes it possible to use jAlbum with any kind of website that you may be working on. However, unless you have used with such tools before- you will probably need a bit of learning to make the most of these, or the advice of a professional.
jAlbum works with videos as efficiently as it does with image files. It can be used for converting more than 160 different file formats into MP4 videos- and all that takes is a drag and drop. While this is not the best video converters out there, it is still an added feature that gets the job done for most of the projects.
How good is jAlbum in its core task?
The core functionality of jAlbum- editing images, is not really its strong suite. The edit mode of jAlbum allows you to view the images in a larger resolution, make use of filters and also add/edit captions. The other tools that form a part of this toolkit include Straighten, Crop, Gamma and many others. However, there are still a few crucial features that are not included, and the editing is not as good as it is with actually image editors. You can even add watermarks to all your images, which is what makes this a great tool for photographers.
The one good thing about the jAlbum image editor is that it does not work with the original file. Only the downscaled version that is present in the album is used for this, keeping the real image intact. A wise thing to do here is to make use of jAlbum only for basic to medium level editing features, and use professional editing tools for the rest.
For those who wish to setup a professional site for selling images, jAlbum comes across as an effective solution. This is ideal for ecommerce sites as well, for the images can be used to display the products for selling. There are many skins on jAlbum that have a shopping cart capability. Integration is available with Google Checkout, PayPal as well as Fotomoto (it can be used to handle printing and delivery). Most of the skins with shopping cart are highly stable and can be used without too much hassle.
Further, if you have images that you want to sell or are copyrighted, then watermarking or adding your logo to them is what you need. jAlbum can help you with that, as well as in adding copyright notices to the image metadata. Taking this a step further, jAlbum has a few skins that scales images down to ‘suitable for web’ sizes, and disables use of the right mouse click for saving them.
With all these great features, jAlbum is also capable of making an entire website for you. You can even create pages including those for contact and about us, add shopping cart, map support and integrate it with your social media channels. jAlbum can create a complete website for you, but there are still a couple of features that are missing in it- such as advanced editing for webpages, adding special effects and so on. However, the fact that such a tool still lets you create an impressive website is great in itself.
Pricing, Plans and the Verdict
Depending on what you plan to use jAlbum for and other specifications, the pricing can vary. There is a 30-day free trial that you can take to get a feel of what all jAlbum offers, and if that works for you. Post the free trial, there are two categories of license that you can go for. The simple license option, which includes a standard and pro license, is for those who have their own website. These are priced at US$ 44 and 99 respectively, with the Pro License having support for shopping cart as well as commercial usage.
However, if you require hosting from jAlbum as well, then you can chose from the Premium or Power Accounts. The Premium Account gives you 10GB of album storage for 12 months, along with free updates and support for the entire duration. The Power Account comes with 100GB of storage, and in addition to all other features, also provides you support for commercial usage as well as shopping cart. The Premium Account costs US$29, while the Power Account is priced at US$69. In addition to this, in case you want a skin that has been developed by a 3rd-party, then the license cost for that will be separate.
If your project requires you to work with a large quantity of images, then jAlbum is definitely an affordable solution to the same. What it lacks in functionality, it makes up for in its efficiency and ease of use. While the $69 plan may seem expensive at first, the extra support for shopping cart & commercial use surely makes it worth the price.
- It can be used with large volumes of images
- Easy to setup and configure on any operating system
- Works with shopping carts and ecommerce sites
- A large number of customizable skins
- Can be used to edit, upload and do much more with images
- Websites can be created with large volumes of images
- Storage is less is jAlbum hosting
- The editing UI is a little complicated for new users