• Todd Dominey
  • Brad Daily
  • Lauren Smith

Koken's built-in slideshow player - "Pulse" - now has the ability to scroll through content when swiped on smartphones and tablets. Simply touch a slideshow and swipe left or right to move the slideshow forward or backward. We think you'll agree it provides a more natural browsing experience that feels like a native app. View the front page our free Axis theme on your mobile device to see it in action.

Swiping is automatically turned-on for slideshows in most templates as well as all slideshows embedded in essays and pages. This applies to both new and existing slideshows on your site, and there's nothing for you to configure or change. Enable swiping today by signing-in to your Koken installation and upgrading to the latest release (0.16).

Also in this release we've optimized our responsive image publishing so replacement images are only requested if an element's size increases. The existing (larger) image is now re-used and downscaled if a parent element's size decreases instead of requesting a separate, smaller image. This saves bandwidth and avoids unnecessary image requests.

We've also added a setting that allows you to change your image processing software. This was added for users who install Koken on servers where multiple image processing software options are available and would rather use a different processor than the one Koken automatically selects at installation. You can find this new setting in Settings > Image Publishing.

This release also includes the usual round of bug fixes and optimizations, which you can read about in our release notes.

We've released an update for our Lightroom Publish Service plugin that addresses a few problems users have reported recently. Specifically, it resolves a bug that caused a recordPublishedPhotoUrl: must be called after recordPublishedPhotoId error to be shown inside of Lightroom. Also, we've improved how images that are members of more than one album are handled.

Head over to the Koken Store to download the update.

Categories: Updates, Plugins

In publishing and in life, telling half a story is usually better. Koken's new "read more" links (now available in version 0.15) allow you to breakup essays into previews and full posts. Simply press return anywhere in an essay, click, then select the ellipsis.

Inserting read more link

When published your site's essays index and archive pages display everything up to your break point. Readers may then click a "read more" link to read the full post.

Read more link in essay

The more link's label is editable and contextual with each essay, so your call-to-action can reflect your own tone, voice and personality.

Start using 'read more' links today by updating your Koken installation to 0.15. Then if you're using one our themes, click on Store inside Koken and hit the updates page to bring your theme up-to-date. If using your own theme, here's the new template tag you'll need to support this.

Categories: Updates

Our premium Regale 2 theme has been updated to include a new cover image option for albums, sets, essays and pages. Here's a preview of what it looks like.

Cover image and title for an album

When enabled for albums or sets the collection's primary cover image is used for a background that scales to fill the browser's viewport. The collection's title, description, topics, categories, tags and social media share links are layered on-top. Site visitors may then view a collection's content by scrolling down manually or automatically by clicking the collection's title or down arrow.

When enabled for essays or pages the article's featured image is displayed along with similar text and links (title, excerpt, etc). If an essay or page doesn't have a featured image a cover isn't displayed.

Titles

The title of the collection, essay or page that appears on top of the image automatically downscales and upscales to point sizes that are appropriate for mobile devices, tablets and desktops. Regale's settings includes sliders (see below) that control the title's minimum and maximum point size should you want to make changes.

Minimum and maximum point size sliders for cover title

Background color

Another bit of creative control Regale offers is a background layer that sits between the cover image and text. The layer is completely transparent by default, but may be modified to use a color and custom alpha value for semi-opaque background images.

Configurable background color and transparency

Responsive scaling

Covers automatically scale to the height of the browser's viewport across all screen sizes from the largest desktop to the smallest mobile device. Like every other image on your site, Koken provides smaller cover background images that are optimized for smaller screen sizes. Need to adjust the cover image's crop? You can do so easily by assigning a focal point in the Library.

Summary

Covers are included in the latest version of Regale 2, which existing users may download through the integrated Store. Cover images are turned off for backwards compatibility but may be turned on through the Template area of the theme settings panel.

Categories: Updates, Themes

Visibility allows you to control the appearance of images, videos, albums and sets on your Koken site. It's a feature that's been around since the beginning of the beta, but we decided it needed a bit more polish to help clarify its purpose and make it easier to use.

How does visibility work?

In a nutshell, every image, video, album and set in Koken's library includes an editable visibility property.

Public (default) content can be seen on your public web site by anyone, including search engines.

Unlisted content is not visible to the general public or search engines and can only be viewed on your site through a secret URL.

Private (images/videos only) content is not published anywhere on your site and visible only to you inside the library.

Redesigned Library interface

The left column in Koken's Library has been updated with new options (and icons by our good friend Jon Hicks) to help differentiate which content is public, unlisted and private.

Content displays all your published images and videos. These are items with Public visibility. Images/videos are (now) published in the same order (Date Published) as the calendar-based templates on your site.

Unlisted displays all images and videos with Unlisted visibility. You can drag-and-drop images and videos here to immediately change their visibility to Unlisted.

Private displays all images and videos with Private visibility. Like Unlisted you can drag-and-drop items here too.

Importing new images/videos

One of the biggest improvements in this release is how newly imported images/videos are handled. Import an image or video directly to an unlisted album and the content's visibility matches its parent album (Unlisted).

We've also added a global visibility setting for newly created albums and sets so you may choose whether collections are created as Public or Unlisted.

Together, these additions allow albums of unlisted content to be created and published together at the same time, which should prove especially useful for those using our Lightroom publish service plugin.

Album visibility improvements

We've also improved how content is handled when changing an album from Public to Unlisted or vice versa. Change an album to Unlisted and Koken will ask if you'd also like to change all content to Unlisted as well. The same happens in reverse when changing an album to Public.

This change will make site publishing faster and easier so you may publish an entire collection of unlisted content quickly.

Summary

We hope these changes make publishing unlisted collections of content easier and more intuitive. As usual, thank you to all our beta testers who provided feedback and suggestions concerning visibility. Your contribution helped us develop a better, more well-rounded solution for all.

Categories: Updates

Jumpstarter.io is a new provider that takes a different approach to website hosting and publishing. You sign-up for a free or paid account, create a project, pick which content management system you'd like to use, and go. And starting today, Koken is available for any Jumpstarter project.

Their pricing is comparatively higher, but Jumpstarter's service is all about convenience. They setup your server, database, and all the other important bits for you. Pick Koken for your project, enter the database details they provide, and you're up and running quickly without ever touching an FTP client. 

One of the nice features they offer is a free plan (with limited page views) so anyone can setup Koken (or any other CMS) and have a look around at no cost with relatively little hassle.

Jumpstarter isn't of course your only option. Koken can be self-installed at most web hosting providers, of which we've had great results with InMotion, MediaTemple, Dreamhost and GoDaddy. All are comparatively less with more disk space, but setup is your responsibility.

No matter where you choose to setup Koken and publish a site there are plenty of options to choose from!

About a week ago we published proposed changes to unlisted content to improve usability. We asked for feedback, and in the days that followed received a lot of great suggestions and real-world examples of how our proposed changes would help (and in some cases hurt) workflow. So we went back to the drawing board.

Here's our new plan:

Continue to allow public content in unlisted albums

Nothing would change here. You would still be able to mix public and unlisted content together in an unlisted album. You'll also be able to continue mixing public and unlisted content in public albums as well (which we weren't planning on changing).

Public images/videos will become unlisted when added to unlisted albums only if they are new

If an image or video is imported directly to an unlisted album through either your browser or the Lightroom plugin, that image / video will be assigned unlisted visibility to match its parent album. You may then change the image/video visibility to public thereafter, should you choose to do so, and the image/video will stay in the album.

If one or more (already imported) public images/videos are added to an unlisted album, Koken will ask if you'd like to change their visibility to match. If not, the images/videos will be added. If yes, the images/videos will be added and changed to unlisted.

Changing an album from public to unlisted

Koken will check to see if the album contains public images/videos. If it does, Koken will ask if you'd like to assign unlisted visibility to all content in the album as well. If not, that's okay. The album will change to unlisted and the images/videos inside will be left alone.

New "Unlisted" view in the Library

Collections have this already, but not content. We're going to add an "Unlisted" view to the Library's left column that -- when selected -- displays all unlisted images/videos. This will also allow us to change the default sort of "All content" to "Date published" (instead of "Date captured") so that what you see in the Library matches the "Date published" order of your site's contents (aka photostream) page and timeline.

Extend global visibility setting to albums

Inside Settings > Importing is a setting that controls default visibility. This setting (currently) applies to imported images/videos only. As part of this update we're going to extend this setting to cover albums as well. That way, if a publisher changed this setting to unlisted and published a new album of images from Lightroom, the album and all the images contained therein would be unlisted from the get-go.

Summary

We feel this approach still accomplishes the goals we set out originally, but does so in a manner that doesn't conflict with anyone's current workflow and maintains Koken's flexibility in regard to content management in the library. If you have any feedback or questions feel free to get in touch. Our plan is for these changes to be rolled into Koken 0.14, our next console update.


Categories: Updates

Instagram Import, our premium plugin for importing and publishing Instagram images, has been updated with an entirely new interface and authentication procedure. The plugin now connects directly with Instagram's API and displays a list of all your Instagram images inside the library. Simply scroll, select, and press Import. Instagram Import retrieves your images as well as their titles and hashtags.

Instagram Import 1.5 also adds a new Instagram site template. This uses your theme's existing contents.lens template and displays all your imported Instagram images sorted by recency. You can find the template option in the Add Links sheet in Site (shown below).

This update is free for everyone who's already purchased the plugin. For everyone else, we're running a special 50% off promotion through this Friday, April 25th. Pick it up for $10 today through the Koken Store.

Koken offers the unique ability to designate albums, sets, images and videos as unlisted. This allows you to publish content to your site that can't be seen by general visitors or search engines. Unlisted content can only be viewed using secret urls.

In general it works great, but there's always room for improvement. One of the things we've learned from the past year is that the relationship between unlisted images/videos and albums can be confusing. We're planning on improving unlisted content in our next major update (0.14), but before committing pen to paper, we thought we'd share our proposed changes to hear your thoughts and feedback.

Here's where people typically get confused. Time and time again we've seen users create unlisted albums, then add images/videos to those albums and expect the images/videos to be unlisted as well. This doesn't happen because images, videos, albums and sets all have their own visibility setting. So you'd have to first create an unlisted album, add the images/videos you want, then edit the visibility of all images/videos inside the album to unlisted to publish a truly unlisted collection of content. In other words, it's a pain.

Here's our plan for fixing this.

Unlisted albums may only include unlisted images/videos

Public images/videos will no longer be allowed inside unlisted albums. In order for them to be added they must have unlisted visibility. Which leads to our next change...

Public images/videos will become unlisted when added to unlisted albums

If you drag/drop one or more public images/videos into an unlisted album, or import images/videos directly to an unlisted album, Koken will automatically set their visibility to unlisted.

Changing an album from public to unlisted

Let's say you have a public album containing public images and/or videos. If you try to change the album's visibility to unlisted, Koken will ask permission: "Unlisted albums may not contain public content. All public content in this album will change to Unlisted if applied. That okay?" Click okay and the album and all its images/videos will change to unlisted and be no longer accessible through your public site. 

Summary

That's our plan. We believe it will make editing and publishing unlisted content clearer and easier to control. If you have any thoughts, feedback or questions, please contact us directly or post a question publicly. 

Categories: Updates

Koken 0.13.2 released

Koken 0.13.2 is out the door and now available for download. This release includes a couple of notable improvements and updates:

Global preference for date published / captured

Our last update added batch date editing and shifting, with an additional option to copy captured dates to published dates so images appear in contents and timeline pages using the date they were actually taken, not the date they were uploaded and published by Koken. We've expanded this with a new global preference for those who'd prefer their images to always be published by their captured date. Check it out in Settings > Importing.

Update button

We've also updated Settings > Console so it displays the version number of your installation, plus an update button that appears when new versions of Koken are made available. This makes it easier to check whether your installation is up to date or download updates if you ignored an earlier alert.

Categories: Updates

Editing the published, uploaded and captured dates for individual images has always been possible with Koken, but not with multiple images at a time. For those uploading large amounts of archival content it was an issue that could easily lead to an arduous editing process.

Not anymore. Koken 0.13 not only allows you to assign new dates to multiple images at once, but shift existing dates forward and backward in time. Here's how it works.

Assign new date and time

Select two or more images, then edit Date Published. The default option is Assign new date and time. Select a date and time from the calendar widget and each selected image receives the same date and time.

Shift each date and time

Select Shift each date and time and a series of rows appear to increment or decrement the date and time currently assigned to each image. This will be super useful in situations where a sequence of images are in the correct date order but need to be shifted forward or backward in time together without affecting their original order.

Assign date captured

Edit Date Published for one or more images and you'll notice an extra option: Assign date captured. This copies the captured date from each image (which comes from the image's EXIF metadata). We included this option because images on the timeline and contents (aka photostream) pages are ordered by date published, which is usually the same date an image was uploaded to Koken. By copying date captured the image appears to have been published at the time it was captured so it's inline with related images.

If this is your first Koken upgrade, learn more about how upgrades work.

Categories: Updates

We've learned a lot since releasing our first public beta a year ago. Throughout the year we fixed bugs, improved features and expanded the platform with new functionality. More often than not, that transpired all at once in the form of overstuffed updates.

Sometimes in development there's no way to avoid big updates when features overlap one another, but all too often we found ourselves with new features and improvements sitting on the sidelines waiting for other tickets to close. On top of that, big updates create huge spikes and valleys in development cycles which can overheat and exhaust the engines of everyone involved.

So, we're retooling our release cycle for the rest of the year. The plan? Shorter sprints comprised of one or two new features per update, then pulling the trigger. This will not only allow us to release improvements faster (every few weeks, we estimate) but also help you keep on top of what's new without having to sift through a giant bullet point list every couple of months.

We'll still be including bug fixes and other tweaks, so nothing will change there. But anything that's new or notable will have its own dedicated milestone and release.

Already that effort is paying off. Our next point update -- 0.13 -- is nearly finished. It will incorporate the ability to assign time-shifted dates to multiple selections in the Library. This will be enormously helpful when you need to adjust the published, uploaded, or captured date for a range of images and videos. Expect more info on that soon.

Thanks everyone for your continued support and feedback. Our to-do list is long, but we're super excited to start tackling each and every new feature in the year ahead.

Categories: Updates

Updates in your inbox

We know, you're busy. You don't always have time to sign-in to your Koken installation, follow this blog or peruse our social media outbursts to check for updates. We're going to fix that.

Starting today a new email is available for you to subscribe to. When enabled, we'll check (once a week) the installations, themes and plugins in your Koken Store account. If anything is out of date we'll email a summary of what we found. Here's an example email:

Important: This email is opt-in, so if you have a Koken Store account and would like to receive it, sign-in to your account and check this:

If you don't have a Koken Store account, sign-in to your Koken installation, click the Store link in the main navigation, then Account in the left column.

Expect to receive your first email the next time an installation, theme or plugin in your account receives an update. Happy downloading!

Categories: Store, Updates

Just released a 0.12.5 update to resolve some quirky things we found since our most recent release. See what all is fixed in our release notes.

We've also fixed up our side-scrolling Boulevard theme so it works better with imported Vimeo videos and resolves slow-scroll problems on the Windows flavor of Firefox. We've also resolved an occasional (and rather annoying, to us anyway) content flickering problem where images would sometimes appear underneath the strip. If you're using Boulevard, first update your installation to 0.12.5, then go to Store > Updates to get the Boulevard update. After updating your live site will use the new theme update.

Categories: Updates

Koken 0.12, the first release to incorporate the Koken Store, is now available for download. We've talked about the Store already, so this post will focus on the other improvements you will see after updating your installation.

Theme and plugin updates

All your installed themes and plugins are now updated through a dedicated Updates page. Themes and plugins were updatable before, but now everything is organized together on a single page with release notes, version information, plus an Update All button that downloads and installs everything with one click.

The screen is accessed through the Koken Store. You will be notified anytime an update is available with an orange alert bubble (shown above) over the Store link reflecting the total number of available items.

Uploading

You may be wondering, hey, where'd the Upload link go!? Yes, it's true, the main navigation no longer includes an Upload link. We redesigned and improved uploading in Koken 0.12 to not only import videos from Vimeo and images from Instagram but also make desktop uploading easier and more convenient.

Dragging an image into an empty album

Now you don't have to go to a separate screen to upload content from your desktop. You simply drag-and-drop images or videos into the Library's middle column and the items begin uploading immediately. For bonus points, if an album is currently selected, the images are automatically added to the selected album after import. Same goes for Favorites and Featured content - imported content is automatically favorited and/or featured for you.

On top of all that we've also added an option for importing images from anywhere online using their URL, which you can read more about in our new Import content help article.

Lightbox

Another item on our agenda was improving Koken's built-in lightbox viewer. We redesigned the links and icons to be brighter so they stand-out more above images and also added a new social media share menu which contains links for Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr and Google+ so site visitors can easily share lightbox content with their followers.

We've also improved how the lightbox loads. Before, the lightbox was treated as a separate page, which meant after exiting the lightbox you would sometimes lose your place when navigating back to where you were. Now the lightbox is spawned as an inline iframe above the page you're currently viewing, so on index pages with long lists of content (like mosaic grid layouts in Madison and Regale) entering and exiting the lightbox no longer takes you out of the parent page.

Summary

Those are the feature highlights of Koken 0.12. There are a few other smaller things in this release, which you may check out in our release notes. Also don't forget to visit the new Koken Store, which includes entirely new versions of our popular Madison and Regale themes plus four new premium plugins: Image WatermarksVimeo ImportInstagram Import and Image Protector.

Several people wrote in concerning a recent development where sites are loading without text when viewed in the latest release of Google Chrome (v33). We've been researching the issue and it appears a recent "fix", as noted in this post from Typekit, is now causing this separate but related issue. From what we gather the issue has been resolved in their latest Canary builds (beta versions of the browser), so a fix for the standard version of the browser should be released soon. The only way to avoid this bug currently is to change the typefaces your site is using from a webfont to a system-based font like Helvetica, Lucida Grande, Arial, etc, which may be selected through your theme's settings. We'll update this post when we hear anything more or see an update released.

Koken Store sneak preview

Providing a storefront to download themes, plugins and other items has been part of our development plan for Koken since the beginning, for we believe a great publishing platform isn't defined by the core application alone but the variety of ways the application can be extended and enhanced to meet the needs of all types of users.

We will soon be taking our first steps toward realizing that goal by launching the Koken Store, a marketplace that will serve as an important backbone for all our future expansion efforts. The store will launch with new and existing items developed by us, but will expand later this year to include items created by third parties as well.

Store features

We could have developed your average e-commerce site and called it a day, but you deserve better. Koken Store will include these key features:

Built into Koken - The store will be accessible through all installations of Koken. Click "Store" in the main navigation and an entirely new section will appear for you to browse all the themes, plugins and add-ons the store offers.

Koken - Store

Themes and plugins install automatically - Put down that FTP client! Store themes and plugins will automatically download and install to your Koken installation. No mess, no fuss.

Koken - Store

Convenient updates - You're busy enough. Last thing you need is to keep track of when an update for a theme or plugin is available. Koken Store will provide a dedicated Updates screen displaying convenient upgrade links for anything your installation is using.

Themes

For new installations of Koken, Elementary (one of our current themes) will now be the default theme. All other themes will be available separately through the Koken Store. Existing installations of Koken will retain all themes currently installed.

At launch, Koken Store will include completely rebuilt, 2.0 versions of two of our most popular themes: Regale and Madison. Both of these themes will be separate paid themes, so you may continue using their current free versions or upgrade if interested. The current versions of all other themes — Axis, Boulevard, Chastain, Observatory and Repertoire — will remain free.

Madison 2

Madison has been completely redesigned from top-to-bottom. It will still have its classic fixed side column and scrollable main area, but will now incorporate a fluid layout for larger photos, optional mosaic grid content layout, side column right alignment, albums index page, splash page, lightbox overlays, plus far more customization options than before.

Madison 2

Regale 2

Regale will also be updated along similar lines to include more customization controls, a completely revamped, hand-built mosaic grid layout engine (codenamed "Pillar"), lightbox overlays (instead of individual photo pages, if you want that), customizable image loading animations and more.

Plugins

Koken Store will incorporate all of the free plugins currently available for download at our Help Center plus a handful of new premium plugins:

Vimeo Import

Vimeo Import will make it possible for videos published at Vimeo to be imported to the Koken Library. You'll be able to browse, select and import videos from your Vimeo account, group them into collections, and manage them like any other Library asset. The videos are then published to your Koken site using Vimeo's HTML5 video player. Speaking of Vimeo's player, you'll also be able to modify the player's color, text, and other standard embed options.

Koken - Store

Instagram Import

Operating in similar fashion to the Vimeo plugin will be a new Instagram Import plugin. This plugin will...you guessed it...import your images from Instagram. You simply copy/paste the page url of the image you'd like to import and Koken will retrieve the image, copy its title and (optionally) create tags from the #hashtags in its title.

Image Protector

Image Protector will provide obfuscation and blocking to help prevent image copying. This will prevent browser drag-and-drop and replace the browser's right-click menu with a configurable copyright message. You'll also have the option of preventing images at or above a particular dimension from being indexed by Google Images, Bing, and Yahoo. Pinterest pinning will be configurable as well.

Image Watermarks

Another security related plugin will be Image Watermarks. This plugin will apply watermarks to all site images or only images above a particular dimension (so thumbnails aren't affected). Watermarks will scale in proportion to their target images so they'll always be the same relative size. Placement, opacity, scale, offset, and tiling will also be editable.

Koken - Store

Launching soon!

We're super excited about Koken Store and expect to be launching it and all the items above very soon.

Also, we should mention that it was exactly one year ago today we made the first Koken public beta available for download. We think Koken has grown and improved a great deal since, but there's always more to do. Expect to see plenty of Koken improvements and new features all year long.

Koken 0.11.3 released

Today we've released a quick console update (0.11.3) to address an issue that affected the most recent version of Google Chrome. If you were affected by it you'd know it, for Chrome would suddenly display its infamous "Aw, Snap" blue screen of death when accessing the Library. Upgrade to 0.11.3 and the snapping should cease.

This fix also resolves a responsive sizing problem with YouTube videos embedded in essays/pages. They should now scale to the full width of their container as expected.

First time upgrader? Check out these instructions.

Categories: Updates

Now available for download is an updated version of our Lightroom Publish Service plugin. Version 1.2.0 features the following improvements:

  • Improved set management to avoid collection structure issues in the Library.
  • Smarter asset tracking to prevent duplicate images from being created in the Library.
  • "Go to published photo" link in Lightroom now goes to the image's public URL on your site.
  • Tags are no longer sent with uploaded images if the metadata export option is set to anything other than "All metadata."
Check out the plugin's upgrade instructions if you need help getting your installed copy up-to-date.

Categories: Plugins