Media Plugins

Media most often means images when it comes to WordPress sites, and that's the case on the plugin side of things as well. It's not so strange when you think about it. After all, if you want to spread a video you put it on YouTube, right? That way it gets exposure and you won't have to worry about bandwidth costs for your HD masterpiece.

NextGEN Gallery (wordpress.org/extend/plugins/nextgen-gallery/): NextGEN Gallery is a really cool gallery plugin that supports, well, a ton of things. You can have sortable albums, watermark your uploads, tweak the look with CSS, show a slideshow in the sidebar and localize it, it supports zip file uploads, and not to mention it lets your visitors browse your galleries in a smooth and user-friendly way. The admin interface is sleek, and you can easily get the short-code needed to display the gallery, much like you would with the normal gallery shortcode. This is, all said, one complete plugin.

The only caveat is that this plugin doesn't extend the normal image upload functionality, but rather works on its own. Images are stored in gallery folders residing in wp-content/gallery/ and while that is all fine and dandy, it means that WordPress can't find them in the Media Library. Also, when deactivating NextGEN Gallery, you'll end up with a lot of shortcodes not being parsed anymore, hence not outputting the images, and since you can't get to the images from WordPress that can be a problem should the plugin be discontinued. Worth thinking about, consequently. Still, though, a very cool and well-made plugin!

Lightbox Gallery (wordpress.org/extend/plugins/lightbox-gallery/): Lightbox Gallery adds the popular overlay lightbox effect to your gallery images, as well as making it possible to open any image by adding the rel="lightbox" tag to the link. You can do the same by implementing any of the available scripts out there, but this does it for you. Be aware that there are some hardcoded links in this plugin at the moment, so if you have moved your WordPress install to a subfolder but run the actual site in the root folder you may run into broken navigational images and so on. Hopefully this will be remedied in the future, otherwise perhaps go with another option.

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