A Backlight 3 Retrospective

Development is winding down on Backlight 4, and we’ll soon be into prerelease testing. That will be the topic of our next newsletter! Before we exhale, however, we first must inhale. And as we take this breath, let’s reflect upon the year we’ve spent with Backlight 3.

It’s all too easy to lose perspective when the updates are delivered a portion at a time. Viewing it all at once, though, the Backlight 3 release cycle has encompassed tremendous growth for the application, and yielded impactful changes for the Backlight experience.

For those who’ve yet to upgrade, this retrospective makes a compelling case for the latest Backlight. And new purchases will be automatically upgraded to Backlight 4 upon its release!

Here are some of the best highlights from Backlight 3:

Hero Images

A new type of representational image, assignable to the top of albums and album sets, hero images help your collections to make bold first impressions.

Yes, we have a video for that.

Custom Image Upload

With the ability to upload custom cover and hero images directly to Backlight’s albums, setting up custom thumbnails has never been easier than in Backlight 3.

Hell yeah, we’ve got a video!

The Redesigned Publisher

A complete overhaul of Backlight’s Publisher, making it more visual and less tabular, empowers users with drag-and-drop reordering of images and collections, a flexible and fluid thumbnail grid, and an enhanced slideshow that allows the selection of cover and hero images not only for the current album, but for all of its ancestors!

We showed this off in our 3.1 update video!

Watermarks!

Backlight 3 has native support for watermarking images uploaded with Backlight’s Publisher.

V-v-v-video!

https://youtu.be/NVBkV5j8–4Y

Custom Permalinks for Albums and Sets

Create “pretty” URLs for your collections! Send them to friends, family, and clients! Convenience incarnate!

RSS Feeds

Backlight now serves RSS feeds, not only for the site at large, but for individual albums as well. This makes it easy for your visitors to follow everything, or just the things they’re most interested in.

Now, this video is a beast, clocking in at just over 35-minutes. But it’s thorough!

The “backlight” Shortcode for WordPress

Using Backlight’s theme for WordPress, you can use the “backlight” shortcode to embed images from your Backlight albums directly into your WordPress posts.

Wait, what?! We’ve got your covered in this video.

Hang on. There’s more? THERE’S MORE!!!

Backlight 3 is jam-packed full of goodness!

The new JSON API exposes Backlight’s collection data as code, unlocking a vast, new world of possibility for future versions of Backlight, as well as for Backlight’s code-savvy users. The API is already powering the “backlight” shortcode above, as well as a huge new feature in Backlight 4 that I’m going to tell you about next time.

To allow users to more easily comply with GDPR and similar regulations, Backlight offers cookies improvements, and new templating for privacy policy pages.

Forms also feature enhanced and updated support for Google’s reCAPTCHA spam protection, with dual support for reCAPTCHA v2 and v3.

We’ve licensed Font Awesome 5 Pro, have updated icons throughout the app, and allow you to litter your Backlight site with whatever icons you please.

Backlight 3 improves site performance, with albums now loading more than twice as fast as in Backlight 2. This translates to better user experience, and higher site ranking.

A new option to publish master renditions from Lightroom speeds up publishing by 2x or more!

New options throughout Backlight’s Designer empower you with greater creative control over your site

The Client Response UI is redesigned for albums, providing a more intuitive user experience for clients to send you their selections and feedback.

New capability to hand off an album’s management from Lightroom Classic to Backlight enabled you to leave Lightroom behind, while carrying your website forward … but only if you want to.

Quick setup has been streamlined for new installs, making it easier than ever to get up-and-running quickly with Backlight.

And there’s the all-important support for PHP 8, because all the shiny features above are no good to anyone if server updates break your website.

Anything else?

Well … yes! The above list is a cherry-picked selection Backlight 3’s hottest improvements, but we’re always crushing bugs, streamlining features and usability, amping performance, enhancing search engine optimization, so on, and so forth …

I didn’t even mention the completely rewritten implementation for Facebook’s Open Graph Protocol and Twitter tags, nor how these changes lend themselves to beautiful previews when image page URLs are shared in Slack conversations …

You Still Here?

Thanks for reading this far. We’ll soon be revealing Backlight 4, so we’ll see you then. But remember, new upgrades to Backlight 3 now include the Backlight 4 upgrade. If you’re upgrading from an older version of Backlight, get in touch to discuss the upgrade discount, and let’s get you set up with all of the features above, and all the new features still to come!