BACKLIGHT 1.1 Available Now!

BACKLIGHT 1.1 is now available! This is a milestone release for Backlight, effecting the vast majority of changes and improvements having accumulated in our to-do list these past months.

To acquire the update, look for update notifications to arrive via email; these messages will include download links. Else, you may recover your downloads here.

Leading the features list, Backlight 1.1 now supports importing and exporting designer templates, copy editing for top-level album sets, templated and configurable “Error 404” pages, extensibility improvements for PHPlugins and custom styling, and improved caching and performance for sites.

Below, the full list of changes in 1.1, followed by additional details and upgrade instructions. There’s important information here, so please read in full, and keep this page at hand when updating your site.


New in Backlight 1.1

  • Adds Export and Import of templates for sharing and backing up
  • Adds support for Tray 2 copy in Publisher’s Album settings
  • Adds support for managing page, tray 1 and tray 2 copy under Backlight > Publisher > Top-level Galleries
  • Adds setting to not show the Top-level Gallery breadcrumb for child albums
  • Adds templated 404 pages with configurable template and page content
  • Adds album and page titles into the web page’s <title> field. Adds support for configuring <title> format.
  • Adds extra classes to the <body> tag for targeting template type, slug, and generation of Backlight
  • Adds localization support for Designer (previously managed within template designs)
  • Adds new phplugins functions: ttg_main_top, ttg_main_bottom, ttg_copy_top, ttg_copy_bottom, ttg_single_top, ttg_single_bottom, ttg_tray01_top, ttg_tray01_bottom, ttg_tray02_top, ttg_tray02_bottom, ttg_gallery_top, ttg_gallery_bottom
  • Adds PASSWORD_ENABLED and LOGGED_IN constants for use in phplugins
  • Adds support for save-on-enter when focus is on color picker
  • Changes menu handling to honor the sorting setting per Album Set rather than fixed alphabetically by title
  • Centralizes the location of resource loading, to improve caching
  • Sets og_image_url and other metadata for embedded albums within Pages
  • Adds check for non-empty Fotomoto Store ID before adding ‘add to cart’ icons
  • Improves layout of color picker
  • Adds miscellaneous interface improvements to Backlight admin pages
  • Removes space produced by phplugins.php file
  • Fixes support for COMPANY_NAME and PAGE_TITLE in page title for all metadata fields
  • Fixes issue with single URL format in previous/next links not detecting working .htaccess correctly
  • Fixes support for HTML content in copy sections of Designer, especially </textarea>, which caused issues previously
  • Updates Font Awesome to 4.7.0

Importing and Exporting Designer Templates

By now, you should be well familiar with Backlight’s Designer, which allows you to customize the appearance and behavior of your website, with your customizations saved as templates. New in version 1.1, you may export your templates for backup or portability. On export, your template settings get dumped into a TXT file for download; this TXT file may then be re-imported at a later time, or sent to another Backlight user.

There are some things to note about this process.

  • Templates typically include some dynamic settings, such as favicon, custom stylesheet, PHPlugins, etc. These settings are only relevant when exporting a template, and later re-importing that template to the same site. On export, you will have the option to enable or disable the export of organization name and site URL. The exported information serves two purposes: to provide details of the source of a template when sharing to others, and to provide a method during import to recognise that a template originated from the same server that you are importing to. If the site URL matches, then the dynamic settings will be imported. If not, they will be ignored.
  • Exporting bundles parent (page) and child (album, theater, etc.) templates. On import, these templates will be created and linked, so that your imported album template will reference the imported page template.
  • On import, clashing titles will be appended with numbers. Importing “My Template”, the imported template will be renamed as “My Template 1” if a template already exists with the name “My Template”.
  • Importing templates includes a large number of verification checks, including any alternation of the template file. This should be robust, but hopefully not so robust that valid templates cannot be imported. Let us know if the import fails for any reason.

Using the Publish Services Plugin

The Publish Services plugin in Backlight 1.1 retains compatibility with our older CE4 plugins, but will appear differently when used with Backlight vs. CE4. For example, when used with Backlight, you will have copy inputs for page copy, tray 1 and tray 2. When using the same view with CE4, the copy inputs will be for page and sidebar only.

Controlling page copy in Top-level Galleries

The page copy of top-level galleries can now be controlled via the Backlight Admin interface. To set the copy, visit the menu Backlight => Publisher => Top-level Galleries, then click on Edit for the entry you wish to change. This provides the same copy and placement fields as available to Albums and Album Sets within Publisher.

Error 404 Page Setup

To access content settings for the “Error 404” page, in Backlight’s menu, go to Backlight => Settings; scroll to the “Website Settings” section.

To assign a different page template to be used by the “Error 404” page, go to Designer => Templates => Assign Templates.

Support for templated 404 pages under galleries/ etc. requires an update to the .htaccess setting under Backlight => Settings => Advanced Settings. To have 404s work under a top-level album set, edit the setting for .htaccess, uncomment these three lines near the end by removing the leading “#” on each:


#RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f 
#RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d 
#RewriteRule ^(.*)$ %{ENV:BASE}index.php?%{ENV:QS}&page=$1 [QSA,L]

After making this change, go to Backlight => Publisher. On this page, click the “Update Album Files” link to effect the updates.

New “Page Setup” Options for Page Templates

When designing your page template, you will find a new “Page Setup” control group. Here you may customize the display of page titles, as displayed in the browser’s title bar or tabs.

There are also new options for language, text-direction and character set. In most cases, these settings are best left at default unless you have good reason for changing them.

Extensibility Features

Backlight 1.1 includes a large number of new PHPlugins locations, and the new constants PASSWORD_ENABLED and LOGGED_IN, allowing you to control security states for your added content. For specific information and demo code, pull the updated /backlight/custom/phplugins/phplugins-sample.php file from the downloaded ZIP package.

We have also added new, dynamic body classes to our pages. The new body classes include:

  • Type designation, such as “type-album”, etc.
  • Page slug, such as “slug-[the page’s slug]”
  • Password-protected albums have the classes “private-album”, and either “logged-in” or “logged-out” as relevant to the visitor.

You may utilize this classes to provide custom styling conditional to page type, slug or security state.

Performing the Update

To update an existing installation to Backlight 1.1:

IMPORTANT: Do NOT replace the entire backlight directory! Doing so will remove ALL data and settings!

1. Remove and re-upload the following files and directories:

  • backlight/admin/
  • backlight/designer/
  • backlight/framework/
  • backlight/publisher/
  • backlight/modules/module-pages/
  • backlight/modules/okapi-core/
  • backlight/modules/standard-album/
  • backlight/modules/standard-album-set/
  • backlight/modules/standard-page/
  • TTG-Publisher.lrplugin

2. Clear the Designer Template Cache by visiting Backlight => Designer => Templates => Clear Template Cache.

3. Visit each of the Backlight, Designer and Publisher admin sections to allow Backlight to run any necessary database updates.


Looking Ahead

Version 1.1 marks a turning point for Backlight’s development. Up to this point, CE4 has been a guidepost for our work, and we have in many ways been reinterpreting our past legacy into a new future, unbound by Lightroom’s Web module. From here, backward glancing becomes largely unnecessary as we set waypoints ahead of us.

For the near future, some quality-of-life updates should carry us through the rest of 2016, beginning with the Theater and WordPress add-ons. We’ll then be working toward further feature updates to come in the new year.

2 thoughts on “BACKLIGHT 1.1 Available Now!”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Lightroom Plugins

We are entirely focused on developing and supporting Backlight, but our older plugins for Lightroom’s Web Module remain available. Get them here.

Friends & Affiliates

LightroomQueen - Lightroom, the missing FAQ

Check out Sendy, a self hosted newsletter web app that lets you send emails 100x cheaper via Amazon SES.