The Turning Gate
January 27, 2020

Hi Friend,

Hindsight is 20/20, or so the idiom goes.

Now the year is 2020, so what better time than now, in our first newsletter of the new year, for a look back at how far we've come.

Update: Backlight 2.0.13

Earlier in January, we released the 2.0.13 updates, including new versions of Backlight 2, and it's Cart, Client Response and WP Theme add-ons.

This update added support for the recently released PHP 7.4, ensuring site compatibility for those whose servers are being upgraded from older PHP versions.

This update also included expanded GDPR features. Backlight's cookies notice now covers Wordpress themes created with the WP Theme Add-on, and we've added privacy policy acceptance checkboxes to the Cart and Client Response forms.

These notices are customizable from Backlight’s "Languages" screen, and we recommend that you set up a Privacy/Terms pages somewhere on the site that you can link to from within those notices. It's a pain, but GDPR impacts everyone, even those outside of the UK.

Read the GDPR guidelines for crafting your privacy policy.

How-to: Installing Updates in Backlight 2

And in keeping with the spirit of this update, we have an ...

Updated Privacy Policy

The Turning Gate has always taken efforts to respect our customers' privacy, and to be good stewards of what little data we retain on our customers and audience. Our privacy policy has been updated, and may be read on our website.

Read The Turning Gate's Privacy Policy.

A Look Back at Backlight 2

I often get asked what's new in Backlight 2. The blog has all of that info laid out over time, but we haven't kept a single, consolidated list. So let's make one now!

Like stew in a crock pot, or a fine wine, Backlight 2 has only gotten better over time. It launched min-2018 with some game-changing improvements over the original Backlight, and has since continued to evolve, with new features and major improvements to existing features. At this point, whether on the first Backlight, or continuing to kick the CE plugins further down the road, upgrading to Backlight 2 should be a no-brainer.

Here's a roundup of major additions so far in Backlight 2.

Automated Install and Updates
In olden times, updates were difficult, requiring FTP, and folder swaps, and file replacements, and caution. With Backlight 2, updates are fully automated at the press of a button. Updating is incredibly easy, takes only a moment, and ensures there is just no reason to ever be running yesterday's version of Backlight.
Lazy-loading Thumbnails in Albums
Thumbnails in albums, and images in other areas of your site now lazy-load as they scroll into the viewport, ensuring faster page loads, and improved site performance and ranking. Lazy-loading also eliminates the need to break your albums into multiple pages.
Web-based Publisher
No Lightroom? No problem! Backlight 2 introduced the web-based publisher, allowing you to upload images, and create albums and album sets directly within Backlight itself. This allows you to use Capture One Pro, Luminar, ON1 Photo Raw, or whatever other software you like, while still managing your website with Backlight. Of course, the Lightroom plugin is still supported for those contentedly Lightrooming into the future.
Drag-and-drop Image Reordering
In Backlight's publisher, you can drag images into your preferred sequence. A big quality-of-life improvement for those not using Lightroom.
Improved Image Downloads on Mobile Devices
Because the latest Safari on iOS has a file-system!
Easy HTTPS Setup
An option to automatically redirect incoming traffic to the HTTPS version of your URL, after you've enabled SSL for your website. A small but significant feature, given the growing importance and impact of using secure protocols for your website.
GDPR Support and Privacy Features
New in Backlight 2, with ongoing improvements over time, we've added cookies and privacy notices, acceptance checkboxes, and messaging options to ensure compliance with the EU's GDPR regulations.
Multi-language Support
Backlight takes an organic and intuitive approach to creating multi-lingual content, simplifying the task of delivering your website in as many languages as you please.
New and Improved Admin
The admin was completely overhauled for Backlight 2, making it prettier and more intuitive to navigate and use.
Centralized Client Management
Client access control is no longer restricted to the Client Response add-on, and is now a part of Backlight’s core. Designate any typeof gallery as private, then allow access by assigning it to specific clients.
Contact Inboxing
Messages sent through your website are viewable in Backlight's admin, as well as being delivered to your email address, ensuring that even if an email fails to arrive or lands in spam, the message is not lost. Also works for client response feedback!
Improved Backlight Admin Security
Google Authenticator two-factor authentication, password reset, and stronger password encryption.
Improved class-based PHPlugins
PHPlugins have expanded significantly in Backlight 2, with access to albums, photos, and other types of internal data. If you code, you can essentially create your own image presentations now.
Support for customizing IMG alt attribute in albums
An under-the-hood type thing that allows you greater control for SEO tuning your albums.
Cart Invoice Improvements
Making invoices more informative for better recordkeeping and tax compliance.
Supports the latest PHP 7.4
Ensuring your website runs smoothly into the future.

That's a long list of total hotness! And still, there's more, including various and numerous improvements to album slideshows and single-image HTML pages, improvements to slideshows and image presentation in WordPress themes, functional improvements and referrer handling when embedding galleries into pages, improvements to site and image search, a new "Panorama" presentation in the Theater Add-on, and still there's more ...

Plus, the community continues to be strong and supportive, the documentation has been improving, the PHPlugins examples are more numerous and robust, and the whole of using Backlight 2 is getting better all the time.

Like that crock pot stew, Backlight 2 has gotten beefy! And like that wine, Backlight 2 has gotten deeper and richer in substance. Because it just keeps improving, there's never been a better time to start using Backlight 2. So, upgrade now to Backlight 2! And if you're already on Backlight 2, then you already know what I'm talking about, and rest assured your future is bright.

Stuff & Things

Our currated list of recent, suggested listening, reading and viewing.

What Facial Recognition Steals from Us
Equal parts fascinating and disturbing, this episode of Open Sourced from Recode by Vox, expores the state and ramifications of facial recognition, having much to do with putting photography online.
How the Fisheye Lens Took Over Music
Also from Vox, but more fun than the above, this is a celebration of the fish-eye lens. There's even a little bit of Bowie in there; what more could you want? Some Prince, I guess.
Film Isn't Vegan
While I had never considered whether photographic film contains animal-based products, it really should come as no surprise. It's made by humans, after all. Regardless how you may feel about it, this FStoppers article is a fascinating peak into what's in film. Spoilers: it's gelatin that's the issue. I wonder whether anyone has every tried to make film using agar? That's my preferred gelatin substitute.
I recently discovered the Instagram feed of UK street photography Josh K. Jackson, and I love it. Go see.
Music Pick: "Someday", Weval
Ben found this one. Chill tune, and the video is mesmerizing, perhaps dizzying, packing an incredible amount of still photography into it's brief 4:30 runtime.
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