I should write more of these because people might like to see what's going on. Some of this stuff is too cool not to share. So here's a preview of some of the stuff that's already in the Exhibit 2.0 source code. (No, you still can't download it because I'm still writing it.)
By the way, for the uninitiated: What is Exhibit? Exhibit is an extensive image management plugin for WordPress. I think it kicks butt, but I wrote it, so I would think that.
But what's new in 2.0? The incessant reloading during common operations is over. Check out this screencam:
Let me explain a little about what is happening here. I have selected a subdirectory in the server's file system which contains a single photo, h_parade18.jpg. Just this week I rewrote the file system routines to better isolate them. The local file system is now handled by a separate WordPress plugin that links into the main Exhibit plugin. Additional plugins could let you, for example, browse and select images from your Flickr account, or search for images in stock photo libraries. -- I digress.
In the h_parade18.jpg image, you see Abby in her Halloween costume. I click the Rotate Left button and - here's the important and slightly indistinguishable bit - the thumbnail changes without reloading the Media Browser. In fact, without reloading the Media Browser, all of the relevant photos (thumbnail, medium-, and full-sized) have been rotated accordingly on the server.
After that, I rotate the image back to its original orientation, and choose the Set Thumbnail button. The (possibly) familiar cropper appears, and I set a new crop area. Only the thumbnail is cropped, the other sizes show the full image.
On the Settings panel (this is a new thing) I'm provided with several options for inserting the image into the page content. This lets you do things that were difficult before, like inserting a column-width photo (that's what the preset "medium" size is for) that links to the full-size. There are a couple of behaviors that I need to add to the dropdown yet. One behavior is the ability for the inserted image, when clicked, to exchange another photo on the page for the clicked one. Another is to link to the post gallery page for that post. These are highly-anticipated features, I'm sure.
That's just the screencam. There are some other things that are "working".
The gallery system for Exhibit is coming along. The gallery is theme-driven. You can create themes just like for your pages in WordPress 1.5 - even in the same theme directories - that display your galleries. A complete set of template tags is available for gallery display, and Exhibit 2.0 will be packed with a Kubrick-compatible theme template that displays Exhibit galleries.
From a technical point of view, each post has its own gallery that is specially-marked in the database. When you create custom galleries, these are the same as what is attached to a post. If you wanted to, you could easily list all of the posts galleries along with the custom galleries on the gallery index.
Gallery themes consist of three pages: The gallery index (a list of galleries), the gallery page (a list of images in the gallery), and the gallery image page (showing one image and its comments). You should be able to set an option that links a post with its associated gallery page, if that's the way you want to display your photos.
As usual, the combinations of Exhibit features make it difficult to explain everything that you can do. It's often difficult for me to describe these things without making it sound like there is no other way to do it. The gallery themes should make your gallery integration experience too easy. I should really make it harder to create photo galleries because you'll all be spoiled.
Maybe you're not wondering why I only keep showing you the same piece of the interface. Well, if you are, here's a screenshot that shows it in relation to the posting interface.
Keep in mind - You basically drop this plugin in, activate it, and all of this just works. That's the plan under WordPress 1.5.1, anyway. Yeah, 1.5 is already right out - minor bugs keep some Exhibit functionality from working, and I'm not interested in writing workarounds for things that are already fixed in the WP pre-release code.
You'll see on the Post Images side of the page that there are options under there, too. I'm not showing them now because they're unfinished. The CSS has them looking all funky. The options on this side tell Exhibit how to display the images inside the post.
In Exhibit 1.1, you would insert comments into the post content to tell Exhibit what to do. In Exhibit 2.0, you use this area. All of the options here will (but don't yet) have default settings on the Options page, so you won't have to change them every time, but you can use this interface to change it on a per-post basis.
Don't panic - I'm going to include a tool to move all of your old post content comments into this interface.
As far as adding photos to a post gallery is concerned, you just click the filename and it moves into the Post Images frame. Controls in that pane will let you manipulate the order, description, and copyright of the image, just like in Exhibit 1.1. Adding photos to a post gallery in Exhibit 2.0 will not reset the position of the Media Browser like it did in Exhibit 1.1.
Another thing I haven't shown is the directory dropdown in the Media Browser. There are buttons in there. One of them is "Add photos from this directory", which adds all of the photos from this directory into the current post's gallery. This makes it really easy to upload a bunch of images via FTP, and them dump them all into a post.
Anyway, just trying to keep you informed here. I'm still taking suggestions, which you can attach to this post in comments. Even if you don't have suggestions, what do you think of it? Do you like my word "widdershins"? (Ya gotta love vocabulary. See OSA for a good example of the use of the word "verisimilitude".)
Before you ask-- no, I don't know when this will be available for testing or release. Certainly not before I tell you it's already in use on this site; The dog food we eat here is produced here. But do keep an eye out in the future on the WordPress forums for a subtle beta-tester recruitment request.