Simplifying Omni Gallery

Read the pages ahead to see the awesome power and flexibility of Omni Gallery. That gallery power and flexibility comes at a price, the many settings of Omni Gallery can appear complicated involving many tabs of settings and plugin widget dialogues.

A first contact with Omni Galley can be overwhelming. Most sites don't need all those options. What they need is a small subset of those options - but perhaps a different subset to that used by others!

Here are some strategies to simplify Omni Gallery for site editors.

Most editors don't need to know much

On this site you can see many examples of galleries and sliders. As you may have already read in Getting Started, you can pick an example from these pages, click the View settings button, copy the settings JSON then Import the copied settings to an Omni Gallery block on your site and simply configure the image selection to the fileset or folder you want to show in a gallery or slider.

More details of this system are provided at Plugin System, which includes a video about copying settings for Universal Content Puller. The mechanism for Omni Gallery is the same.

You don't need to come back here every time

Lets consider the big picture:

  • Most sites have just one, or maybe a few, gallery and slider formats. 
  • Most sites have their files organized in a way that suits the site. They don't need N ways to pick images for a gallery or slider. They just want to use the same way to pick images for all their gallery and slider uses. It may be from filesets, folders, individual image picking or from page attributes, but the way used is consistent across the site.
  • Again, for information overlays, a site will be organized consistently to use a specific image or page attribute to provide overlay information.
  • If a site uses image lightbox overlays, all lightboxes will all have the same consistent styling.

What this boils down to is that for any specific site, most of the many options in an Omni Gallery block edit dialogue remain constant across the site. It is only one or two settings that actually change between instances of Omni Gallery.

Lets make use of that...

Global Settings

If you have not already found it, have a look at Dashboard > Stacks & Blocks > Omni Gallery > Omni Gallery Global Settings.

This is a repeat of the Omni Gallery block edit dialogue, but rather than setting up an individual gallery block, it sets up the global default values for all Omni Gallery blocks. 

When a new Omni Gallery block is added to a page, it is pre-populated with the default values configured in the global settings.

You can get an Omni Gallery block configured for a typical use on your site, then visit the Support tab of the block edit dialogue and Export the settings as JSON. Then visit the Omni Gallery Global Settings dashboard page and Import those settings to the global settings.

Any time you then need to add a new Omni Gallery block to a page, it will have your own defaults already populated. 

Most sites will be using a fileset or folder as a gallery source. So the only option that now needs to be changed in the edit dialogue will be to pick the desired fileset or folder as an image source.

Page Attributes

One of the Omni Gallery options for an Image Source is a specific page. Or more correctly an attribute of a specific page. That page defaults to the current page.

Rather than edit any Omni Gallery options at all, you could set up the Omni Gallery Global Settings to Selected Page Dynamic and pick a page attribute to populate the gallery.

Now all you need to do is add an Omni Gallery block to a page, save the block without editing any options in the block dialogue, and then edit the page attribute to select the images shown by the Omni Gallery.

You don't have to use page attributes. But if it suits your way of working, that is just one way you can make setting image galleries or sliders a trivial operation. Configure Omni gallery once and use that configuration everywhere.

Export and Import

The Omni Gallery Global Settings are great if you only have one gallery or slider format across your site, but what happens when you have a few formats? Perhaps one format for a hero slider, one format for an in-page slider and one format for an in-page gallery. You can't use the global settings for all three of those at the same time.

By now, you should already be familiar with the Export and Import buttons we keep referring back to. These buttons in the Support tab of the edit dialogue can be used in many ways to simplify managing a suite of gallery and slider formats.

The principle here is to create a single instance of each of these few gallery or slider formats, Export the settings and save them to a text file, then whenever you need a similar gallery or slider you can Import the settings from that text file.

Within a site you don't even need to keep a file for the JSON settings. One of the Export options is to Save to Store. A store is like a bookmark for a complete set of Omni Gallery settings that you can attach a name to. Having saved settings to a store, the Import menu will now list that store as a source to import from. You can even use the Stored Settings Manager to help curate your library of Omni Gallery settings

So to continue our example, you can use Export to create a store for each of Hero Slider, In-page Slider and In-page Gallery. Then when you add an Omni Gallery block to a page, go straight to the Support tab and Import the applicable settings. 

From here on the process is the same as we described for using the global settings. Having used Import for the applicable settings, you only need to visit the Image Selection tab and pick the fileset or folder for that specific gallery. All the other edit dialogue settings are already populated.

If you prefer to use attributes, this can be combined with the Page Attributes trick we discussed above.

More details of this system are provided at Plugin System, which includes a video about copying settings for Universal Content Puller. The mechanism for Omni Gallery is the same.

A Palette of Galleries and Sliders

Rather than using named settings or uploading JSON files, you can set up a page on your site, visible to editors only, with an example of each of your galleries and sliders. 

Think of it as your own mini adaptation of the View settings buttons you see across this support site. You can even write some notes to yourself and editors about copying and using each of your examples.

Concrete Clipboard

Of course, you don't have to use these capabilities of Omni gallery. You could simply keep examples of your Omni Gallery blocks on the Concrete Clipboard.

Its a matter of preferece. Maybe you and your site editors feel happiest with the clipboard. Or maybe you want something a little more formalised with a named setting in the settings store and to import from that for a new gallery.

Across Multiple Sites

You have already seen this to some extent with the the View settings button on this site. If you maintain multiple sites, you can use Export and Import to copy and re-use settings between sites. Between a development site and a live site, or between many sites with similar gallery or slider requirements.

You can even set up a development system or some private pages with examples of your galleries and sliders, enable the View settings button for each, then make that the source for future imports.

More details of this system are provided at Plugin System, which includes a video about copying settings for Universal Content Puller. The mechanism for Omni Gallery is the same.

What do I use?

This is my rhetorical question. What do I (JohntheFish) use to quickly set up galleries and sliders? My starting point is usually copying settings from this site - as well as being examples for everyone else, it also serves as my own palette of pre-configured galley and slider settings!

When I configure a vastly different application of Omni Gallery, I like to create a corresponding example in these pages to help others with a similar application.

Within a site I use a mixture of the above. Global settings, Import and Export, named Settings in the Store and the Concrete Clipboard.

But even as the creator of Omni Gallery, it is extremely rare that I set up an Omni Gallery block from scratch. Why would I need to? I already have many different gallery and slider configurations that I can copy from an existing use into a new use and just change the list of images it is showing. Most project sites have a very limited variation within the site.