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Exhibeo - The Public Gallery

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6/12/2013 11:11:06 AM

Photographers looking to create striking online galleries for their work have never had it so good. WordPress arguably continues to set the standard, while 500px’s ‘Awesome’ accounts come with domain remapping, enabling photographers to host image galleries free of branding. Displaying images neatly within existing websites can be a different kettle of fish, though, and Exhibeo from Softpress, the maker of the Freeway web design app offers a tempting proposition: code-free, drag-and-drop, HTML5 galleries.

Exhibeo from Softpress, the maker of the Freeway web design app offers a tempting proposition: code-free, drag-and-drop, HTML5 galleries.

Exhibeo from Softpress, the maker of the Freeway web design app offers a tempting proposition: code-free, drag-and-drop, HTML5 galleries.

The concept is simple. Like a miniature Freeway, Exhibeo takes the design choices you make background color, and type and thumbnail styles and exports a tidy folder of JPGs, HTML and JavaScript for use on the web. The galleries Exhibeo creates aren’t self-contained that is, you can’t simply fire the entire folder at an FTP site and start directing people to it. Instead, the idea is you’ll copy and paste the code created by Exhibeo into an existing website. Off the bat, that makes it more useful for those who already have a website, and less for those who want to upload entirely self-contained, quick and dirty slideshows such as the ones you can create via Lightroom.

Indeed, the need for a proper website sets up a bit of dissonance between Exhibeo’s code-free interface and its (presumably) intended audience: this is a product for those with enough savvy to create and run their own site, but without the know how or perhaps the time - to make an image gallery.

Waiting in line - Control over slideshow appearance is done via dropdown boxes and slider controls in the right-hand panel

exhibeo’s interface is drag-and-drop, and image sizes, compression and file type are all handled automatically and invisibly. It also enables you to crop, rotate and scale images, so you don’t necessarily have to provide it with gallery-ready pictures. There’s also the option to add a title and a description to each, although Exhibeo misses a trick here by not pulling these automatically from an image’s I PTC metadata, so already-captioned images will need descriptions copying and pasting.

There are four gallery styles to choose from, each with its own graceful set of animations. For instance, the Slide gallery auto-plays through your images, while the appealing Bloxx gallery starts life as a single thumbnail with a stacked effect, then fans out to reveal a grid of images. The JavaScript animations work well and, helpfully, Exhibeo is iPad-compatible in a way that many slideshows aren’t, allowing users to swipe through galleries. This is particularly helpful when you consider that the navigational elements of many online image galleries remain hidden until the mouse pointer hovers over them, so you’ll never see them on a touchscreen device.

Can’t get through - Captions and titles can be appended to images via Exhibeo, but it’s ignorant of I PTC captions

Customising galleries is a mixed bag. On the one hand, most of the things you might want to do change font styles and sizes, adjust image borders and drop shadows are contained in the theme settings panel. On the other, there’s no way to create truly custom styles without manually editing the CSS file that Exhibeo creates.

For photographers, Exhibeo may have limited appeal, particularly with WordPress and its associated plug-ins offering a powerful set of image galleries for free. However, its appeal could be stronger for webmasters for whom image galleries are more incidental: if you’re a startup marketing a new product, say, Exhibeo’s slideshows are a high-quality, low-cost way to add a touch of high-end interactivity to a site.

As it is, Exhibeo won’t be all things to all users, and there are definitely elements that will annoy both web design Luddites and high-end code monkeys. But its elegant and functional galleries make it worth a look

Details

§  Price: $21.99

§  From: exhibeoapp.com

§  Pro: Simple gallery creation * HTML5 code * Straightforward interface

§  Con: Not all things to all people * Neither ‘instant’ nor fully flexible

 

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