While working on some great new stuff for Koken (we'll be sharing that with you when the time is right), we're also keeping a close eye on bugs reported by our ever-growing throng of beta users. We've just published a new maintenance release that resolves many of the issues you've brought to our attention over the last few weeks. Thanks again for your diligent testing and feedback.
A new maintenance release for Koken is now available that resolves several issues reported by our fine beta testers. The main fix is a rather annoying upload issue that would cause the file browsing window to reopen several times in some cases when trying to upload.
One of the interesting bits of user feedback we received about the timeline in Koken 0.10 concerned published timestamps for Library content. As developed initially, uploaded images/videos appeared as timeline events the day they were uploaded. Or in the case of albums and sets, the day they were created. This wasn't an issue when uploading, creating and publishing content all on the same day, but some users temporarily set their Library content's visibility to Unlisted or Private to make edits before taking them live. This would cause old timestamps to be used when their Library content was published.
So in Koken 0.10.3 (out today) we've added an editable "Published" date to all Library items (albums, sets, images and videos). This date captures the day/time the selected item appeared on your public web site. Unlisted and Private content aren't public, and thus display "Not published" instead of a timestamp. Change an item's visibility from Unlisted/Private to Public at any time and the Published date reflects the current day/time.
The net result? All Library content now display accurate timestamps when appearing as timeline events.
One more timeline related change while we have your attention. We've also tweaked our timeline event filtering to be a bit smarter when it comes to images/videos added to albums. There were certain situations where uploaded images/videos would still appear as individual content events, but Koken 0.10.3 resolves this by ensuring that any image/video that is part of an album never appears as its own event. Only uploaded images/videos that aren't part of any album now appear.
New in Koken 0.10 is an "Expand" option for Pulse (our configurable slideshow component). This option allows Pulse slideshows to automatically expand and contract their height to display every image at their native aspect ratio without shrinkage.
Here's how Pulse slideshows are typically sized. By selecting 3:2 (the default), a slideshow scales 100% wide to fill its container, then assigns a height equal to the opposing ratio size. In the screenshot below, the slideshow's column is 600px wide, which creates a slideshow 600px wide by 400px high. When a 3:2 image is loaded it fills the entire area of the slideshow. Load a portrait image and the image is the same height as the landscape, but contains fewer pixels comparatively with a width of 267px and height of 400px.
Now we'll change the size to "Expand". When the portrait image loads, the slideshow expands down to display it at a height that matches the width of the initial 3:2 image. This displays the portrait image 150% larger than it was before for a new dimension of 400 x 600px.
This option can be turned on with any Pulse slideshow, but we only recommend using it on pages where the slideshow is the main feature as opposed to essays, for the expansion and contraction of the slideshow's container will cause content underneath to move downward and upward.
Photos by Mike Monaghan. Creative Commons.
The recently released Koken 0.10 includes an update to our popular Regale theme that incorporates a new full screen slideshow template. Designed to be used for site splash pages, the slideshow loads featured content from the Library and cycles through images when clicked. Here's a screenshot.
The slideshow uses our Pulse slideshow component so you can adjust its speed, duration and other properties. Simply click the slideshow's options button in Site to open its edit panel.
Speaking of settings, we created a separate set of header and footer color settings just for the splash page. That way you can change the text colors to a style that's most appropriate for your photography without affecting the rest of your site.
How to add the template
If you're a Regale user, follow these steps to make the template the front of your web site.
- Add images to "Featured content" in the Library. Arrange in whatever order you'd like.
- Click on "Add links" in the left column of Site.
- Click on the "Add" button next to the "Full screen splash page" template.
- Name the page whatever you'd like, then click "Add link".
- Hover over the new splash page link in the left column of Site, then click its options (gear) button. Select "Assign as front page".
- To then remove the page from your navigation, hover over the link again and click its options button. Select "Hide Link".
- Click the "Publish changes" button at the bottom right of Site.
If you then need to adjust the colors of the text or apply a background color to the top/bottom, open the theme's settings, click on "Template", then modify any of the settings you see in "Splash".
There you go! A new splash page of your featured content you can update anytime in the Library to update your live site.
Photo by Luis Hernandez. Creative Commons.
Koken 0.10 includes some fundamental changes to how site content is paginated and viewed when using tags and categories. Here's an overview detailing what's changed.
Let's begin with an example. The content.lens template has always served as the permalink page for individual images and videos. Its baseline url looks like this:
Include the image/video in an album and it can then be viewed with a url like this:
If the theme you are using includes the necessary template tags, content.lens would note that the image/video is being viewed in the context of an album and provide the necessary pagination to view sibling images/videos in the same album.
But what about tags and categories? In Koken 0.9 and earlier if you were viewing a content archive page (archive.content.lens) and clicked on an image/video, the baseline url (displayed above) was used. This caused context to be lost, so if you clicked on pagination links (eg, "Previous", "Next") in content.lens you'd no longer be viewing images/videos within the tag or category that originally brought you there.
Koken 0.10 rectifies this by ensuring that all individual assets don't lose their context. So now instead of the baseline content url, navigating to an individual image/video through an archive page now looks something like this:
Click on pagination links in content.lens and you'd then see more images/videos within
So if content can be accessed through more than one url, how do you keep search engines from indexing each url and generating duplicate links? We've taken care of that by automatically publishing "canonical" link tags in any theme you choose. Example:
<link rel="canonical" href="http://kokensite.com/content/image-title/">
What these tags do is instruct search engines to always use a particular url when indexing a page. Other urls pointing to the same content are ignored. That ensures not only cleaner search results for your site but also prevents broken links should an image/video be removed from an album, tag or category.
Essays and albums
We've only talked about images and videos, so what about individual essays and albums? The answer is yes — we've extended the same linking behavior to them too so you may browse sibling albums and essays assigned the same cateogy or tag.
So there you have it. At the end of the day our goal was to ensure that tag and category queries were just as powerful as albums for deeper, more contextual archives of content.
Koken was designed for creatives to publish their work and words under the same roof. The platform publishes images and videos, images and videos grouped into albums, albums grouped into sets, and essays and pages to capture the written word. Each content type has its own particular section of a published site.
But what about browsing everything together? A page on your site where visitors can see everything you've published recently, together, without any extra work on your part?
That's the idea behind Timeline, a new template type in Koken 0.10 that displays your latest albums, album updates, essays, and uploaded images/videos on a single page. Everything you publish is folded together and intelligently grouped by day.
There are four actions that publish events on the timeline:
- A new image/video is uploaded.
- A new public album is created.
- An older public album is updated with new images/videos.
- A new essay is published.
Here's a example screenshot of the timeline displaying each event published across a series of days.
Multiple events in a single day
When more than one event transpires in a single day Koken checks the events to see if any are related. If they are, Koken excludes redundant events for a cleaner timeline. Here are the scenarios where this would occur within a single day:
Event 1: A new image or video is uploaded.
Event 2: A new public album is created incorporating image or video from Event 1.
Published: Event 2
Event 1: A new image or video is uploaded.
Event 2: A new essay is published that incorporates the image or video from Event 1 as its featured image.
Published: Event 2
Event 1: A new public album of content is created.
Event 2: A new essay is published with the album from Event 1 assigned as its topic.
Published: Event 2
Featured albums, content and essays
If an album, image/video or essay is marked as featured, that content "sticks" to the top of the timeline day. That way a site visitor sees at the beginning of each day the content you feel is most important. Theme designers can detect whether content is featured inside timeline events and make style changes if they'd like to. Here's a simple example from Elementary's timeline template that assigns a star to featured events.
The timeline development offered the perfect opportunity for us to begin testing a new Lens template component — Mosaic. Mosaic is a responsive grid that displays cropped images across a series of configurable rows and columns. The gutter is also configurable, allowing you to insert however much negative space you need (or none at all) between each image. Mosaic sizes itself automatically and adapts to mobile screen sizes just like you'd expect it to.
If there aren't enough images to fill the number of assigned columns and rows, Mosaic increases the width of the remaining cells so images always appear flush. All of the themes that incorporate the timeline view (see below) use Mosaic to present new albums and album updates. Our plan is to eventually wrap it up as a single Lens template tag, similar to our Pulse slideshow component.
The default themes that currently use the timeline include Elementary, Observatory, Madison and Repertoire. Elementary has the most extensive timeline implementation with the timeline plus archive pages for browsing all content by date, tag and category. Going forward we plan on using the Timeline view more prominently in new themes while also expanding its publishing capabilities.
Updating your site
If you are using one of the aforementioned themes for your site, click on "Add Links" in the left column of Site. Scroll down until you see the "Timeline" template, then click "Add". Everything you've published since you first started using Koken will appear.
Timeline also has its own RSS feed, so you can use it with syndication services or however you want. Add "Timeline RSS" through "Add links" to get the URL.
If you're a designer and would like to incorporate timeline templates into your theme, check out our updated theme design tutorial. It includes a new page that shows how to incorporate timeline.lens plus the optional date.lens, tag.lens and category.lens templates should you decide you want an archive.
Mosaic photos by Luis Hernandez. Portrait images by Mike Monaghan. Creative Commons.
Koken continues to push forward with the release of Koken 0.10 — an update that introduces lots of new features and improvements. We teased these already in our sneak preview, but here's a quick list of what's in the bag.
- Timeline — New template and data source that displays a unified stream of your latest albums, essays and individual images and videos.
- Content browsing by tag/category — Albums, essays, images and videos may now be paginated and browsed within the context of a tag or category.
- Featured essay images from Vimeo, Flickr, Instagram and more — Insert a video or image from outside of Koken's Library and a featured essay image will be created and assigned for you.
- Updatable plugins — Official plugins now remotely update just like themes and the console.
- Drafts for published essays — Edits to published essays may now be saved as drafts.
- Independent content filter — Display Library uploads that aren't in an album.
- Pulse slideshows that expand/collapse - Pulse can now expand and collapse its height to display slideshow content at their native dimensions.
- Splash slideshow template for Regale - Displays a full screen slideshow of your featured images.
For a detailed list of everything (and we mean everything) changed in Koken 0.10, check out the release notes. Expect a series of follow-up posts that take a closer look at some of the new features in this release.
Koken 0.10 will be our next major console update. Scheduled to drop in early September, this release will incorporate a bunch of great new features. Here's a few highlights you can expect to see soon.
Timeline new — Timeline is a new Lens template that displays your latest images/videos, albums, and essays in a unified stream. Create a new album, publish an essay, upload an image, or add content to an album created a month ago — each action automatically publishes a Timeline event so visitors may browse everything that's new on a single page.
Below is a Timeline example from the Elementary theme. Visitors may click on the album, image or essay for a closer look.
Improved site browsing by tag and category new — Koken 0.10 will also add new Lens templates for Tags and Categories. This will include index pages that list them all, plus detail pages where site visitors may view all content — images/videos, albums and essays — that are assigned a particular tag or category. We're also greatly improving content browsing within tags and categories so that context is always retained.
Featured essay images from Vimeo, Flickr, Instagram and more new — Featured essay images were a new feature in Koken 0.9. Koken 0.10 will take them a step further by extending support to videos embedded from Vimeo, YouTube, Hulu as well as images embedded from Instagram and Flickr. Simply embed a video/image like you normally would and Koken will automatically create a featured image for the essay.
Auto-updatable plugins new — Just like site themes and the console itself, plugins will soon be updatable as well. You'll be able to instantly download and apply new plugin versions as soon as they're released.
Draft saves for published essays new — Everyone knows the feeling of losing their internet when they're right in the middle of editing something (hint: it sucks). Koken 0.10 will mitigate disaster by auto-saving edits made to published essays so you can safely make changes without losing your work.
Independent content filter new — We're making it easier to see which uploaded images/videos haven't been included in an album by adding "Independent" to the Library's Filter menu. This will make it easy to catch uncollected content which may then be edited however you want.
More to come! — We'll be explaining all of these features in greater detail plus a round-up of other fixes and additions in the near future. We'll keep you in the loop.
In user interface design, addition is easy. Subtraction is difficult, if not downright impossible. As we work to improve the creative publishing power of Koken we're also keeping a watchful eye on complexity, redundancy, and targeting areas on the front and back end that can be combined or simplified. Here's a recent example of this practice at work.
The "Add links" sheet in Site is where publishers toggle on/off content in their site navigation. For example, a link to a single album, all their albums, etc. Overall we think it's a simple, effective way to build a site navigation.
But then things got...well, complicated. We asked ourselves, what if a publisher wanted more than one page of albums? For example, a page displaying all albums assigned a particular category? And another displaying featured albums? How could they create those pages and add links to each?
The solution we originally came up with was to offload the creation of those page links to a different interface. A button labeled "Add link to new section" was added to the bottom of "Add links", as shown below.
Clicking that button closed "Add links" and spawned a new, similar-looking sheet containing the templates new pages could be created from.
Did we solve the problem? Yes. Was it executed well? No.
For one, it introduced the phrase "section" into the interface language. What exactly does "section" mean? In terms of functionality it meant to add a new template, but on face-value it could be interpreted to mean a new area of the site, or who knows what else. So we knew that had to go.
Second, by displaying a secondary sheet to add those pages we implied (visually) that its templates were different from the templates on the "Add links" sheet, when in reality they were not. They were the same.
So we took a step back and looked at this from a different angle. How could we eliminate the "section" button and sheet without losing the functionality?
Our solution, new in 0.9.3, is simple. First, we killed the "section" language. Second, we grouped all templates -- both standard and custom -- under a single "Templates" header. Third, and most important of all, we allowed for additional page links to be created by adding a plus button alongside each template's on/off toggle.
Net result? A single "Add links" sheet and template list where a publisher can toggle on/off what they want and create additional copies of each template from the same interface. This eliminated the section button, sheet, and visual separation of templates for a more unified user experience.
Expect to see more case studies like this down the road as we continue to poke holes in our work and improve.
Today we're releasing Koken 0.9.3, a console update that improves a range of existing features and fixes a few issues that have popped-up in recent weeks. Sign-in to your installation and click the Update that appears at the top of the console to get the latest.
We initially planned on 0.9.3 being a small bug fixer, but ended up incorporating a number of updates and improvements. Here are a few highlights we're excited to share.
Hide the "Home" link
The front (a.k.a. "Home")" navigation link may now be hidden in any theme. This comes in handy for those who'd rather use their site title or logo to direct visitors back to their home page. Simply look for the link marked as "front" in the left column of Site, toggle open its settings, then click hide.
Smarter video scaling
Everyone loves videos that scale to fill responsive layouts, but to a point. Once a video starts to expand past its original dimensions its quality begins to decrease. Images don't have this problem (for we simply grab a larger image), but videos don't have that luxury.
Koken 0.9.3 makes uploaded videos smarter by preventing them from scaling past their original dimensions when embedded in a page. This creates better looking videos and fewer problems incorporating images and videos together in the same page layout.
Improved multi-select content editing
Assigning tags, categories and other data to multiple selections in the Library has been greatly improved. The Inspector column now displays the tags, categories and other data that are common to each selected item. Pop open the edit panel for tags and categories and Koken will delve deeper by including partial matches next to indeterminate [-] checkboxes. You may then check the indeterminate box to assign the tag/category to everything selected or uncheck to remove.
Easier process for adding additional templates
We're going to write a separate blog post to explain this in greater detail, but in 0.9.3 you may notice a subtle change to the "Add links" sheet in Site. Templates that can be re-used to create new page links now incorporate a small [+] button. Click the button and you may create a separate page displaying albums assigned a particular category, or a content page of images assigned a particular tag. This greatly simplifies a process that once required an entirely different interface.
There's a whole lot more on 0.9.3 to read about in our release notes. Check it out.
Alongside this update we've also been working on a number of new features for our next major console release, 0.10. We've got some nice stuff brewing, which we'll share as part of a sneak preview blog post soon.
Heads up Lightroom users. Our free Publish Services plugin has been updated to version 1.1.0. This release includes the following fixes and improvements:
- Basic exporting - In addition to syncing you may now export photos directly to Koken. This is helpful for when you just want to upload an image instead of syncing it as part of a collection. Select File > Export from Lightroom's main menu, then "Koken" from the drop-down to make the magic happen.
- Keywords fixes - An issue where keywords assigned to a photo in Lightroom wouldn't be assigned as tags inside Koken has been resolved.
- Last upload - The "Last upload" menu in the left column of Koken's Library now reflects uploads that have been committed using the Lightroom plugin.
- Synchronous publishing issues resolved - Additional work to prevent photos from ending up in the wrong albums when multiple collections are published at the same time.
To upgrade, head over to the plugin page and click the download button at the top. Scroll to the bottom of the page for upgrade instructions if necessary.
A handful of new tutorials have been added to the Help Center to help you get more out of Koken. Check them out:
- Add a favicon to your site - Favicons are those little graphics you see in browser tabs, bookmarks and other places. We explain here how to add custom favicons to any site theme.
- Insert a slideshow into an essay or page - Slideshows of Library content can be inserted into essays and pages. In this tutorial we walk you through the basics as well as explain the configurable options that are available.
- Styling slideshows - Slideshows embedded in essays/pages and elsewhere are configurable through the Site editor. We explain here how to change your slideshow's behavior, dimensions, transition and other options.
- Assign an image focal point - Focal point is a major new feature in Koken 0.9 that allows you to control how images are cropped on your site. This tutorial demonstrates focal point by editing the crop of a portrait image that has been assigned as an album cover.
Have a suggestion for a future tutorial? Feel free to contact us anytime.
We're closing out the week with one last update that fixes a few minor things discovered after 0.9 went live a few days ago. Check out what's included in 0.9.2 by visiting the release notes.
Thanks to some quick feedback from users testing 0.9, we've found and fixed a handful of issues and packaged them up as a new maintenance release (0.9.1) that is now available. To upgrade, simply sign-in to your installation and click the update button.
Thanks again for your dedicated testing and feedback. If you see any other issues or have questions for us, don't hesitate to drop us a line.
It's that time again, folks. Out and now available for download is Koken 0.9, a new update that includes over 50 improvements to the system. To upgrade, simply sign-in to your installation and click the update button. There's a whole lot of behind-the-scenes stuff you can read about in the full release notes, but here we're going to cut to the chase and highlight the things you should know about. Here we go.
Cropped images can sometimes use an extra bit of finesse to look their best. To help make that possible we've added a Focal Point utility to the Library. It provides an easy, simple way to show Koken what the most important part of an image is so it looks better when cropped.
Featured images for essays/pages
Essays and pages may now have their own visual preview. Simply add or upload an image to an essay or page and it will be assigned as the article's featured image. Should come in handy for tabloid style theme layouts that incorporate essays on their home pages, like our updated Repertoire theme.
Draw attention to your best work by featuring essays. We've updated the default themes Axis, Boulevard, Madison and Observatory to support featured essay lists on essay pages, as well as the the home page of Repertoire to (optionally) display featured instead of recent essays.
Improved HTML editor for essays/pages
Coders will appreciate the new HTML editor for essays and pages. It offers syntax highlighting, code completion, and can be used alongside the rich text editor to preview edits in both editors simultaneously.
People share a lot of photos on Tumblr, so we added it as a share option to all the default themes as well as the Library inside Koken's console. This allows you to publish images to your personal Tumblog without leaving the Library.
Reverse order button
Sometimes content can be unintentionally added to an album in the opposite order of what you intended. To help save time and effort we've added a reverse order button to the bottom of the Library that flips the manual order of any album.
Titles and captions for embedded slideshows
Slideshows inserted into essays and pages can now display titles and captions underneath just like inserted images can. The text automatically updates as each image appears in the slideshow.
New Lens template added to display all the top-level sets from the Library.
Sort by filename
Filename has been added as a sort option for site templates. This allows you to display content in ascending or descending order using content filenames.
If you'd like to read more, dig in to our release notes to see the full list of fixes and improvements. If you've never upgraded Koken before, simply sign-in to your installation and follow the prompt. The upgrade will download and be applied automatically.
As always, a special thank you to all the beta testers who've provided exquisite feedback and bug reports. Every day Koken gets better with you on board. And please remember to share your sites with us! We'd love to see what you're building.
Koken 0.9, our next major console update, will offer a range of new features, enhancements and improvements. Here's a sneak preview of a few new features that will be coming your way soon.
Cropped photos sometimes need an extra bit of finesse to look their best. If the subject of an image is off-center (common with portraits) a photo could appear like this when cropped by a site theme:
Koken 0.9's "Focal Point" utility will allow to you fine-tune how crops are handled by designating the area in each uploaded photo you'd like to retain. Simply drag the new focus ring to the most important area of an image, then release. Here's a screenshot of a focal point being edited in the Library:
Here's what the same image would then look like on the web site:
All focal point data is saved in the Library, so if you ever switched site themes your images would be re-cropped using their assigned focal points.
Featured images for essays and pages
Essays and pages will be updated in Koken 0.9 to support featured images. This will allow you to insert or upload a representative image for both types of written content.
How a featured image is displayed on a published site is dependent on the theme being used, but most designers use them for tabloid-style layouts where excerpts and titles of essays appear on a home page or as part of an essay archive page. Koken's built-in Repertoire theme includes essays on its home page, and will be updated in 0.9 to support featured images. Here's a preview of what that'll look like:
In addition to featured images, Koken 0.9 will include featured essays as well. This will allow you to editorially feature a select group of essays on your site. Like featured images, how featured essays appear will depend on your chosen theme, but we foresee theme designers displaying featured essays in essay side columns or as part of home page layouts.
New HTML editor for essays and pages
Editing the source of an essay or page is about to get much better. We're migrating over the same editor and interface Custom CSS in Site uses. This will provide syntax highlighting, a better interface that can be docked or expanded upward for a complete view, plus the ability to make edits in both the rich and HTML editors simultaneously (and preview changes in both). Here's a screenshot of what the new HTML editor will look like:
More to come
Those are the highlights of Koken 0.9. We're also working on a few other features and improvements for this release, which we'll provide info on later. Expect to see Koken 0.9 land sometime late June or early July.
Photo credits: "Focal Point" and "Featured images" portrait images by Mike Monaghan.
First we built an rdio plugin, now we're releasing a free Spotify plugin that makes it easy to embed albums, playlists and songs in essays and pages. Once installed, simply copy a link from Spotify (as shown below) then paste it into any essay or page. Spotify's media player will then appear. Enjoy!
Before closing up shop for Memorial Day weekend here in the States we thought we'd release one more quick update to remedy a few things. See our updated release notes for more info. If you've never upgraded Koken before, read this tutorial for instructions.
Fresh from the oven, Koken 0.8.4 is now available for upgrade. This is primarily a bug fix release, but we've also enhanced a few small things here and there. To see a complete list of everything that's new check out our release notes. If you've never upgraded Koken before, read this tutorial for instructions.
And by the way, thank you to everyone who has taken the time to write in with their comments, criticisms, and constructive feedback. Koken improves every day through your direct involvement. We're delighted to have you on board.
Note: This update was originally released as 0.8.3, but we found and fixed a few minor issues and re-released as 0.8.4.