NextGEN Gallery Creator Publishes Open Letter

NextGen Gallery LogoNextGEN Gallery is one of the most popular WordPress plugins in the repository and has been for a long time. The last time I checked, it was closing in on over 8 million downloads. However, the latest release of the plugin has caused grief for many people as evidenced by the plugin’s support forum. This has caused Erick Danzer one of the core developers for the plugin to publish an open letter to the NextGEN Gallery Community admitting that the latest version has serious issues and they are working day and night to try to resolve them.

I want to start by simply recognizing that, yes, there are many and very serious issues with this update. No doubt about it. We’ve been caught very off guard. Those of you experiencing these problems are entirely justified to feel angry and ask hard questions.

For us, it’s not a question of not caring. It’s a question of what’s the best way to respond under immense pressure from many directions.

We are working ourselves to our physical and emotional breaking points trying to respond to users and solve issues as fast as we can because we do care. I’m honestly not kidding about this.

I love how Erick and team have grabbed the bull by the horns and are using their blog to control and manage the conversation around their plugin. This open letter reminds me of a post I wrote in 2008 on WeblogToolsCollection.com where I told people to stop blaming the WordPress Team. It’s a bit different with NextGEN but the message is the same. As outlined in the letter, the team did everything they could to make sure this was a good release but no matter how well they tested, the results would have never come close to the actual environments used by thousands of plugin users.

What that open letter really means is that Erick Danzer and the rest of the NextGEN Gallery team are committed to the project and are doing everything they can to turn wrongs into rights. I commend him for publishing the letter and addressing all of the noted concerns in one post. Anytime a company or author of a major plugin or theme uses communication in this way, they should be commended as most of the time, communication is the last thing on their minds. Although it doesn’t fix the problem, just knowing that the developer feels your pain and acknowledges the problem is enough to calm me down and do anything I can to help the developer fix it as soon as possible.

Erick Danzer is not the plugins creator. It’s listed as Photocrati on WordPress.org. Photocrati is a growing digital media company helping photographers improve their web presence while leveraging our premium themes, hosting, and plugins for WordPress.

9 Comments


  1. @Jeffro – Someone alerted me to this shortly after it was published. As a long time reader, I wish my appearance on WPTavern could have been under better circumstances. I just wanted to say thanks for the kind words. It reinforces that I (and we) did the right thing to put our thoughts out there.

    I’m know we’ll still get some very upset responses in the forums and on that post, and possibly even here on this post now. As I noted in the letter, I think those are totally justified. I’d feel similarly.

    For any NextGEN users who come by this way, if you are having issues please know we’re going at lightning speed to resolve any issues and accept my apologies for the difficulties in the meantime.

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  2. HI Jeffro,

    I also wanted to say thanks for the kind words and support. We appreciate that!

    Scott

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  3. did photocrati buy the plugin from the original creator?

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  4. @Chris Mccoy – yes they bought it a while back (well over a year ago from memory but I’d stand to be corrected on the exact time).

    I’ve always found Photocrati a good outfit to deal with – Eric, Scott & the team are approachable and when things occasionally go wrong (as they do with software) they and the team have always been great at working through the issue with me. I’m sure the same thing will happen this time as quickly as they are able.

    Ron

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  5. Oh! I thought something was funky with Next Gen. I thought perhaps I loaded a plugin which caused a plugin to not work correctly.
    I am glad they are working on it. It is a nice gallery plugin.

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  6. Why not just publish the last working version, and ask people to do a rollback update. They would just update their plugin with the newest version, which happens to be the last stable version.

    Then the pressure is off, and you can take what you learned, and improve it. I guess the pressure is that high, they can’t even think logically anymore.

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  7. Just wanted to say that I am glad Erick and his team (Photocrati) took over NextGen in order to continue maintaining it and introduce new features over time: thank you to them and they will continue to have my support, especially they do care passionately about the end product – as evidenced by the open letter.

    I would note that – as a big fan of Alex Rabe, the original creator of NextGen and depending on how much the code base of NextGen has changed – the word ‘developer’ or ‘author’ in the post title may possibly be a bit more apt than ‘creator’? Just at thought :)

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  8. I’ve always kept NextGEN installed, but usually deactivated. It’s so big & complex; they have ‘some’ docs & help, but with something like this the documentation-effort would have to be quite heroic, just to be ‘barely adequate’.

    So it’s been hard for me to commit to NextGEN. Too much the blind leading the blind.

    Even now, with Photocrati in charge, the NextGEN doc-page starts with a disclaimer:

    We’re in the process of re-writing and re-organizing NextGEN Gallery’s documentation. If you discover broken links, or have suggestions for documentation, please contact us.

    At least they’re up-front about it …. and “character” does count for a lot. But still …
    =====

    So of course, I didn’t lose anything, in the v2.0 debacle, since my site is not integrated with NG, and my Media are strictly WordPress-default. In fact, I activated NG_v2.0 when it updated here recently, just to look at the UI a little, see how it was evolving. I left it on for a few days, with several dozen plugins active, 5 times that inactive, and a goofy homemade theme …. and nary a sign of anything amiss. (Localhost.)

    In my book, “intangibles” loom large. They can be very hard to know; we can go a long time, having little clue to the intangibles of important actors on our stage. Something like the problems NG is having with their new release, gives us a valuable window into just what the people behind the product are made of … what kind of intangibles they have.

    The response from individuals & the company is very encouraging. It makes me feel much more ‘willing’ about NextGEN, to see its people take a helluva licking, and keep on ticking faithful & good-natured.

    I’ll have to go peruse those ‘Under Construction’ docs for awhile; reactivate my v2.0, and play with it a bit more.

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  9. Can someone tell me if part of the problem is getting a greyed out screen during an edit or adding a new gallery is part of the problem, deleted everything including my galleries and reinstalled but all same.
    should i be looking at using another plugin or wait for a fix?
    all new to me

    Kevin

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