Rocket Galleries: An Intuitive Gallery Manager for WordPress

rocket-galleries

Rocket Galleries is a new gallery plugin that claims to be “the gallery manager WordPress never had.” Ordinarily, gallery plugins are a dime a dozen and most of them insert themselves into WordPress with awkward interfaces that promote the plugin author. However, this one is different.

Rocket Galleries was built to feel like native WordPress functionality, not a plugin. Matthew Ruddy, the plugin author, said that he created it as an alternative to other popular gallery plugins. “I built it to alleviate problems I was having when showing clients how to use NextGen gallery,” he said. “For a majority of what my clients required, it was too complicated – which prompted me to build something simpler.”

The gallery management panel looks like a natural part of WordPress:

gallery-panel

Rocket Galleries features all the basics for a gallery that uses the WordPress media library:

  • Lightweight, with no Javascript needed and minimal CSS at less than 0.3kb!
  • Bulk image uploading, integrated with new WordPress Media Library
  • A built-in template loader, allowing you to create your own gallery templates for your theme
  • Developer friendly, with huge scope for customization using built-in actions and filters
  • Ability to easily duplicate galleries
  • Option to load scripts in the page header or footer

Creating new galleries and adding images to exiting galleries is a very straightforward process for anyone who knows how to add images to the WordPress media library.

create-gallery

Galleries can be inserted from a modal window in the post/page editor or via a shortcode:

insert-gallery

Gallery images are displayed in a nice block of thumbnails on the frontend:

gallery-frontend

More Functionality to Come in the Form of Extensions

Ruddy built the plugin to be developer friendly with lots of actions and filters, so there are many possibilities for extending it. Themes can customize the display via the plugin’s template loader, a method used by many popular plugins to give users the ability to add their own templates.

Currently, images in the gallery link to the attachment page, rather than a lightbox. Ruddy said that he intends to release a lightbox extension, among others, once the plugin has received some downloads to demonstrate that people are actually using it. He plans to keep the Rocket Galleries plugin light and clutter-free and add functionality in the form of extensions, similar to the way that plugins like Easy Digital Downloads offer an array of additional add-ons.

I tested Rocket Galleries and found it to be the simplest WordPress gallery manager plugin that I’ve ever used. It truly feels like a natural part of WordPress and, as such, has the potential to gain a strong following. You can download the plugin from the WordPress Plugin Directory. If you like how nicely it integrates with WordPress, make sure to leave a good review and let the author know that you are using it. User feedback will be the basis for future extensions.

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