In What’s he building I wrote about how to use iView and the new Adobe Media Gallery. It wasn’t a tutorial, just something for those who can fumble their way around iView scripting, and I’ve now wrapped everything up together in a zip file which contains:

  • The AMG template (open source) which contains the Flash movie, related scripts, skeleton folders. Copy this folder to the desktop.
  • iView Convert Images settings – add these to the user’s Plug Ins Option Sets folder.
  • My Adobe_gallery_maker.vbs script. Run it in iView and point it to the Desktop folder so it will generate the images and populate the XML that powers the movie.

So why post this again? Well, partly I wanted to emphasize the point that you can use iView or other programs to drive the Adobe Media Gallery. But I also wanted to be able to say “I knew all that”? when I post this link to Bluefire Blog‘s description of how to customize Lightroom’s Flash gallery. OK – “I knew all that”? – but what’s really interesting about their posts is what they and others might do next – such as market alternative templates.

There’s good and bad in the way Adobe have implemented Lightroom’s web gallery module. I like the way a web browser component is built into Lightroom, so you see the gallery you’re generating within the application and see the effect of changes in real time. Now, this browser component could equally render output from token-based HTML-style templates, as used in various ways by Bridge CS2, iView, Portfolio, Breezebrowser, Aperture etc. Instead Lightroom’s template architecture relies on XML and especially on XSLT – and that’s at least another league of difficulty up from hacking HTML and CSS. It’s like Manchester United versus Chorley.

For a few years many photographers have been happily rolling their own HTML. Token-based web templates allow all options – tweaking their way up the DIY learning curve as and when time allows, a holiday distraction for your geeky nephew, or paying a web designer to ponce around for weeks on his or her Mac. Nothing at all against the Bluefire guys – posting those notes isn’t too venal, if at all – but are Lightroom’s Web templates going to force photographers into paying developers to create or modify templates? And is that what we really want?