Open Letter to the NextGEN Community from Erick Danzer

About two weeks ago, we released a major update to NextGEN Gallery with version 2.0.0. That release has been great for many, and we’ve gotten great feedback from those successfully using the new interface and features.

Unfortunately, this release has also been very bumpy for many NextGEN users. There have been an uncommon number of bugs and issues, some of which have been severe. Users who’ve experienced these problems, especially in the WordPress.org forums, have asked us hard and entirely justifiable questions about how we could have released something with so many bugs, whether we responded the right way, and even whether we should consider reverting back to the Legacy version of NextGEN Gallery until (or rather than) fixing and resolving issues in 2.0.

This is a letter directed to those users. The issues you are experiencing are substantial enough that I feel it’s necessary to offer some transparent thoughts and responses.

There Are Many and Big Issues

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.

We Care About Everyone Experiencing Issues

I personally understand and empathize with the pain and cost imposed by bugs and especially by severe issues affecting gallery or site functionality. I apologize if you’ve been badly affected by the update.

We run websites for a living, and when we have an issue on ours, I consider it critical. I know the emotional anguish and anger I feel toward, say, our hosting company when our site goes down.

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.

Pre Launch Testing

Some users have suggested we didn’t do adequate (or any) testing. We did, in fact, do abundant testing prior to 2.0.0. We did many rounds of internal testing, across different platforms, browsers, hosting companies, and with popular plugins installed. We also asked several outside developers and coders to test the plugin separately.

We also released a public beta (http://www.nextgen-gallery.com/nextgen-gallery-2-0-beta/). This was out for a month prior to the release and downloaded over a 1,000 times. We received and incorporated substantial feedback from public beta testers.

The First Big Question: If You Did All This Testing, Why Is It So Buggy and Not Working for So Many Users?

This is the main question most people are asking us, and to be honest, it’s a hard question we are asking ourselves. Taking into account all the feedback and patterns we’ve seen so far, I want to offer my best analysis.

The root cause, I believe, is really that we released a massive overhaul of one of the most popular plugins in the WordPress ecosystem, a plugin that is deeply embedded in that ecosystem, that touches many things, and that is active on over half a million websites that together represent a remarkably diverse collection of environments and set ups. We tested a lot, but we probably should have tested more and differently.

It Is Working Well For Many

Before going further, though, I want to emphasize that, despite appearances in the forums and despite the impression of each individual user who experiences a problem and assumes everyone has it, NextGEN 2.0 IS actually working well for many users. Working well might mean flawless, or it might mean minor bugs that one can expect with an update of this size and scope.

What About the Forums and Voting?

I can understand why anyone with issues, and especially any who has been in the support forums, would be skeptical of the idea that it’s working for most people. The forums and voting definitely do not convey that.

The discrepancy is partly because forums are specifically where people go when they have problems. When everything is working fine, people don’t spend time there.

For the voting, the pace at which we are collecting “Works” votes (vs “Broken”) is fairly similar to other releases we’ve pushed out prior to the big update. But there is a huge surge in “Broken” votes for the same reasons as above: the majority of people visiting the NextGEN WordPress.org landing page right now are those with problems from the update.

On voting, there are two other considerations. First, NextGEN offers hundreds, maybe thousands of specific features and functions. If even a handful of those features are not working, most users still vote “Broken.” Second and related, not all the “Broken” votes you see there are people having major problems. Many of them are things like the basic thumbnail column setting not working properly.

My point in all this is not that we don’t have problems, but rather that if you are living in the forums right now, you’re getting the sense that it’s completely broken for everyone, but it’s not. It’s working for many, and among those that have problems, all the problems are different, some are serious, and many are smaller and less serious.

Sheer Numbers

OK, so even if the update is working for many, it’s also very true that it’s not working for many others. That means the question still remains: how can that be if we did all that testing?

At least part of the answer is that doing anything with NextGEN is magnified by sheer numbers. We’ve had well over 100,000 updates since launch of 2.0.0. If you cause problems on 3% of those websites, that’s at least 3,000 people with problems, and if they go looking for help, they largely end up in forums and other venues for troubleshooting problems.

Plugin Complexity

Another part of the answer is just sheer plugin complexity. Prior to the update, NextGEN was already immensely powerful, flexible, and complicated, and we’ve only magnified that. When that complexity interacts with the sheer number of users, other plugins and themes, extensions, and other environmental factors, it’s especially easy to produce problems.

Age and Points of Interaction with the WordPress Ecosystem

NextGEN isn’t just popular. It’s old, and it plays a major role in the WordPress ecosystem. It’s been built-on, extended, integrated, and customized by hundreds of thousands of users for the last 6+ years. Trying to introduce a major overhaul into that web of extensions and integrations and customizations also just means that there are more opportunities for problems.

The Pattern: Many Separate Problems Each Affecting a Small Group

The general point I want to make, though, is that we’re not finding “obvious” problems that are affecting everyone. What we’re seeing is many, many separate problems, each of which is affecting a small group of users in specific conditions but not the rest of the community.

What that means is that if you are experiencing a problem, there’s an overwhelming likelihood that most other users are NOT experiencing it. We certainly are not experiencing it or seeing it on any of our test sites. It’s you, and a small group of others, that together are using a specific plugin or theme, have a specific server configuration, or have similar customizations or other environmental characteristics. Conversely, what’s working for you is very possibly broken for someone else because their plugins, themes, or environments are different.

Most bug reports we get right now are hard for us to duplicate even when we actively try to do so. We try all kinds of extra plugins or adjustments or set ups just to see if we can duplicate the same problems that each user thinks is a general issue affecting everyone. The difficulty we have duplicating reported issues is one reason we always ask for login credentials.

We Still Should Have Tested More

One very valid counterpoint to all this is that we knew going into this that NextGEN was hugely popular, complex, old, extended, customized, integrated, etc, and that this very fact created the real possibility that we’d see the pattern that we’re seeing. That is, what we really needed to do was mimic, in our testing, the diversity of environments we know existed in the NextGEN community. There’s some real truth to this point, and that’s probably the biggest take home point for what we would have done differently.

The only defense I’d offer is that we did try to test in at least reasonably diverse environments internally, and that this was one reason we pushed out a public beta for testing prior to the release. Beyond those steps, I’m not sure how feasible it is for our small team to truly mimic the diversity that exists in the NextGEN Community.

 

The Next Big Question: What Do We Do About It?

This is the question that really matters right now.

Solve Issues, Fast

Right now, our overwhelming focus is to solve issues as quickly as possible and get things under control. We believe that’s the best path forward, and we believe that we can resolve a large percentage of problems within a few updates. The main thing that will take time beyond the initial phase is tracking down and fixing specific plugin and theme conflicts.

What You Can Expect

For the time being, we are planning to push out official updates on or near Monday every week. Between updates, we will push out informal mini-releases every day or two that contain any fixes we’ve introduced up to that point. You can download those latest mini releases here:

www.nextgen-gallery.com/nextgen-gallery-latest-beta

We are planning to maintain that schedule until the issue volume normalizes.

Introduce Warnings?

Some users have suggested we should introduce warnings for those updating from 1.9.x to 2.x, alerting them to the magnitude of the update. For this to work, it would really need to appear for people upgrading from a Legacy version (1.9.x). And for that to happen we would have needed to include that code in the legacy versions. Specifically, we could have pushed out a 1.9.14 just before the big update that included the warnings. At least everyone updating to 1.9.14 and then to 2.0.0 would have seen that warning.

I think that in retrospect that is not a bad idea, even if we thought at the time the update would be relatively smooth. But it’s not a solution we can deploy now. It doesn’t do much good for people updating from 2.0.0 to 2.0.7, for example.

Go Back to 1.9.13?

Numerous users have suggested that we should just reverse the whole update and bring everyone back to 1.9.13 until we work it out. I’ll be honest that we’ve talked about this as well. But we are not pursuing it, at least not yet. Why?

First, for those who want to go back to 1.9.13, they can already do so. See our roll back guide: http://www.nextgen-gallery.com/how-to-rollback-a-version/. Yes, we know that method requires FTP, which is not friendly for all users. For that reason, we have, as yet another user suggested, considered a one-button rollback function. But there are serious concerns about how you manage that kind of reverse update outside the WordPress update system. It’s just not that simple.

Second, NextGEN 2.0 is already working for many, and it would be equally traumatic for them to be forcibly rolled back to 1.9.13 when they are using and liking 2.0 just fine.

Third, we believe we can solve a large percentage of current issues relatively quickly.

The main things that would compel us seriously to consider an official rollback would be if a) we prove unable to solve current issues to a reasonable level quickly enough or b) a majority of users, once they experienced the new 2.0 interface, actually tell us that they like the old version better (based on the actual interface and functionality, not because it’s buggier). If users honestly feel that way, we’d consider it. We’d be very surprised, but we’d consider it.

Notes on Code Quality, Team Size, NextGEN Pro

In forums, some users have suggested that there is a high volume of issues because the code quality is poor. The issue is not code quality. We’re fairly confident that most knowledgeable software programmers who look at the code will conclude that NextGEN Gallery 2.0 is well-built and abides by most modern coding best practices. Indeed, even some of those who’ve criticized the bugs in the forums have conceded that the code quality is solid and that it’s clear we’re building a potent platform for future development.

Finally, I’ve seen a small number of users refer to us as “corporate” or as a “software company” that for some reason doesn’t care about NextGEN Gallery. That probably burns as much as anything. Our entire staff is currently 9 people, of whom 3 are developers. The others work hard to provide technical support for 18,000 Photocrati users and a couple hundred thousand NextGEN Gallery users; manage our blogs, social media, email, and SEO; and manage our business details. Plus me. The burden for solving the current issues falls overwhelming on our three developers. They are talented, and they are working very hard right now, but there are only three of them.

All of us care very deeply about NextGEN Gallery as a free, open source plugin and a major contribution to the WordPress community. We’ve collectively invested years of our lives, buckets of sweat, and way too many late nights to produce what we believe will be an amazing image management platform for the next decade for WordPress.

Yes, we’ve released a NextGEN Pro upgrade as well. The Pro version doesn’t replace or take anything away from the free version. It’s an add-on that offers new display types and eventually e-commerce for those who want them. I should add that the Pro version, and the Pro Members who pay for it, will also subsidize the ongoing development of the free NextGEN Gallery. I know that there are always some in the WordPress community who dislike anything paid, but most major contributors to the WordPress universe recognize and celebrate that “premium” can exist with and even support the development of “free” plugins and themes.

Summary

So to summarize, we know this update has been characterized by many and severe issues and we recognize and empathize with the cost this imposes on the community. I apologize both personally and on behalf of our team to each of you.

We want to emphasize that we did test thoroughly, that it is working fine for many users, and that what we’re seeing are not so much general or obvious issues so much as many localized problems affecting specific groups of users in specific environments. These are challenging to work through.

Regardless, there are a ton of issues. And no matter what we say, if we’ve negatively affected your gallery or site functionality, you have all right to be angry, ask hard questions, and demand rapid resolution of your problems.

We believe the best thing we can do is keep working ourselves to the point of exhaustion to track down and solve things quickly for you.

 

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NOTE: What To Do If You Are Having Problems? The best thing you can possibly do is submit a bug report with as much detail as possible. If you are willing, please include credentials. Many of these issues are ones we can’t duplicate on our sites, and being able to login and see the issue and what may be triggering it dramatically accelerates the pace at which we can solve your issue.

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Comments

  1. Michael says

    I run several webiste, and 5 of them use NGG. 4 of the 5 work right. However the one that really relies on NGG, a photography gallery, doesn’t upgrade right for some reason. I figured I’d ask in the help forum about the issue, and I was given a work around to try. The workaround didn’t work, and I reported my findings. I have no problem with that, but I do have a problem with the fact that the team decided to mark my problem as resolved when it is very far from resolved. I’m assuming they done this just to basically tell me to shut up that they didn’t care.

    My advice is if you really do care about your users and customers is to listen to the feedback and not just mark resolved. You are going to lose a lot of potential customers that way. I’ve been a web developer since the late 90′s, and could have helped figure out the problem, which other people are having. Now I don’t really care if the problem is fixed on your end or not, because I am either going to hack the new system into something that actually works for me, or I am going to completely remove it for a custom built system. I was actually interested in upgrading to NGG Pro, but after my experience with your team I won’t be doing that.

    • edanzer says

      @Michael: thanks for the feedback. We’ll usually only mark something as resolved if we’re very confident and we’ve confirmed a fix for a certain issue and we’ve then offered that fix to a user with the same issue. In most cases, that’s a reasonable assumption. It sounds like in your case, it didn’t work. But we’re definitely not trying to silence you or anyone. If we’re aware an issue isn’t resolved, we’re usually re-mark it un-resolve. Given the volume the last couple weeks, it’s very possible it just got lost after that. In any case, thank for the feedback, and sorry that we gave you the wrong impression. You’re also welcome to submit a bug report now following the link above.

  2. says

    I guess you would call me a novice when it comes to working with code but I did manage to style a couple of things before the upgrade to 2.0. Unfortunately I’m now lost as to how to do this in the new version. In saying that I have a few issues but overall the plugin is working for me. Being that this is a free plugin I am very grateful to the developers for its use and will just wait it out as I’m sure my problems will be resolved eventually and think it very unfair for people to be overly critical about something that is free and up to the individual whether they use it or not. Obviously you will work on the major issues first and people with minor issues should understand that and be a little patient. I run a site for a Photographic Club so rely heavily on the gallery plugin. For the time being I have pared down the galleries and will just wait a while before making any decision. Once again thank you for a great free plugin.

    • edanzer says

      Hi Rhonda: You can now add custom CSS for galleries directly from your WordPress admin area. Just go to Gallery > Other Options > Styles. If you click advanced, a window will display where you can add and save custom CSS.

      For others who want more control, when you save the options on that page, a style sheet is created at wp-content/ngg_styles/nggallery.css. You can edit that file directly or move your own nggallery.css file there. In the past, you could put a nggallery.css directly in your theme folder and NextGEN would read it from there. It should now still read from there, but we’re shifting to wp-content because it’s safer against theme updates and theme changes.

      As I write all this, I have to say there some issues for some users with that custom css loading. That’s high priority and should be fixed and working for everyone by our next update, hopefully around next Monday.

  3. says

    For me, beside the bugs (all new software have bugs and you’re dealing with it), I’m very worried, as a user and developer, that everything now is much more complicated (shortcodes and embedding is much more complicated, writing page template is much more complicated, embedding interface is much more complicated). Using opaque html when embedding instead of shortcodes is a major problem. Honestly, I see no benefit. Almost everything I used is marked as deprecated and is going to disappear.
    As a lightroom plugin developer that interact with NextGen through the xmlrpc api and the shortcodes, this is not progress (and I’m sure on your side you see a lot of improvement in your code, but users shouldn’t care about that).
    So changing the backend and changing the API at the same time is a mistake in my opinion. Do that over two releases. Version 2.x should have made API simpler, code less complex (instead of your own admission that you’ve magnified the complexity). For instance it is the new shortcode syntax is much much more error prone and verbose than before (if the source and display type do not align, it all breaks).

    • edanzer says

      Hi Luc – I understand your concerns. I know our developers tried hard when building the system to anticipate how users and developers would want to extend it and I’d hope/expect that once we get some proper documentation out and people get accustomed to the new code, that it will become more familiar and easier. I think one priority for us when we through the immediate concerns of the moment is to start working more with NG extension plugin developers to help them get what they need to get fully updated to the new system. I think we also urgently need to get some documentation out there about how to handle things like custom templates from the Legacy version.

      If it’s helpful we have published a couple of initial developer-centric introductions to the new framework and how to adjust plugins/extensions around it:

      http://www.nextgen-gallery.com/introduction-to-pope/
      http://www.nextgen-gallery.com/how-to-build-a-display-type/

      -
      On the shortcode, syntax, I have to agree that it’s much more verbose. It even took me a while to get accustomed to it and to stop feeling frustrated that I had to go look at the short code guide to remember the names of certain settings.

      A few counterpoints I’d make are:

      1) We expect most normal NextGEN users will much prefer using the new Attach to Post interface than working with shortcodes anyways. The only place most people will use shorcodes are in places like widgets, or for now, when using the text-based editor.

      2) The new shortcode system is much more powerful, flexible, and nuanced than the old version.

      3) Users can still use the old shortcode system.

      • luc says

        1) I disagree but maybe it’s just me. I don’t use the visual mode, I use the text mode (much cleaner and simpler) and you cannot use the ‘attach to post’ UI in text mode. By the way, it took me a long time to understand what you meant but the ‘Attach to Post interface’. It’s refer to in the doc like everyone knows what it is…
        2) ok, but as you said, it’s impossible to remember (with the legacy system: I know I’ve just created a new gallery #25 for instance, and I just type [gallery id=25], done).
        3) sure, then please, do not mark them as a ‘deprecated’ (which would mean it’s going to disappear and not really supported). Legacy is fine by me, or refer to the ‘new shortcode’s or ‘extended shortcodes’…

  4. Kevin Lycett says

    Hi Erick
    Thanks for such an honest and transparent letter. It does help ease the enormous pain your update has caused to know there’s only 3 developer working on ti and to be reminded that you are, of course, only human. I respect you for being so frank about the mistakes you made.
    You might want to fix your link to the latest beta above, currently it goes to:
    http://www.nextgen-gallery.com/open-letter-to-the-nextgen-community-from-erick-danzer/www.nextgen-gallery.com/nextgen-gallery-latest-beta
    Best
    Kevin

    • edanzer says

      Kevin – thanks for the kind words. And thanks for the heads up on the link! Looks like someone here must have seen your comment and resolved that already.

  5. says

    I was bitten badly by the update bugs. I did the roll back and all is well. Have you ever thought about splitting NextGen into two products legacy and new? That would simplify development and if there was some sort of upgrade path we could slowly migrate sites?

    Mark

    • edanzer says

      @Mark – Huge apologies for whatever issues you had. If you submit a bug report via the link at the bottom of the post, outline the issues you had, and say “Erick asked if you’d please forward this to him” I’ll have a look and give you a sense for whether and when we think whatever issues you had may be solved.

      We actually have considered what you suggest. We didn’t before the update, but in the immediate situation afterwards we did. I think, for now, we’d only consider doing so for the same reasons and under the same conditions I mention above in the section on “Go Back to 1.9.13?”

      I think for now, we still think our best strategy is just to keep pushing hard and fast through the issues and get the 2.0 version to stability.

  6. RD2008 says

    Thank you for the comprehensive post.. I had issues with a number of parts after upgrade.. however i uninstalled it completely and started over (obvisously saving images) and with one or 2 minor issues majority of nextgen is fine.. I just wanted to give the guys & gals a thanks for the hard work on this excellent plugin, as you’ve had a tough few days and a bit of a battering..

    Keep up the great work and when its back to 100% everyone will have forgotten about this little bump.

    • edanzer says

      @RD2008: Thanks for the kind words, and I’m glad you’re up and running smoothly.

      Just for others – we’re generally encouraging people not to “uninstall.” Uninstalling from your admin area removes all plugin-related files, including your NextGEN galleries and images files. You can roll back and/or refresh your 2.0.x plugin files via FTP safely. You can see a guide on how to do so here (it’s the same process for refreshing 2.0.x files, you just start with a different zip file): http://www.nextgen-gallery.com/how-to-rollback-a-version/

  7. Kristina Harmsworth says

    I had some small niggles but all were resolved easily…I suppose because I worked for customer services so know how hard it is to please everyone all of the time. I have also written websites and know that things never work correctly the first time no matter how hard you try with so many different platforms these days if it did it would be a miracle. :D

    Thank you for your honesty.

    Kriss :)

  8. says

    Erick,

    I appreciate your honestly and explaining the issue in depth. As a developer who manages teams of people all over the world i understand what you are up against and i hope you can resolve these issues shortly.

    That said as someone who uses NextGen & NextGen Pro for many many clients and have submitted several reports we haven’t heard anything back. One client, who has the pro version, CampSimcha.org submitted a support request over a week ago and has not even received a confirmation that you got the request. They even sent it again but no dice.

    For someone like me who loves your plugin, and has been using your plugin for many many years for many many clients its bad enough that the 2/0 plugin was so buggy, but the lack of proper support is very disappointing. I understand you have challenges but your support system is simply not working.

    I thank you for all your hard work, and I look forward to hear from you about this.

    All the Best,

    Yosef Eliezrie

    • edanzer says

      Hi Yosef, thanks for the comment. A couple thoughts.

      First, for Pro Support, we have a “daily clear” policy. At least once per day we clear the support inbox to zero. That means every single ticket is responded to in at most a day, and there are none that linger longer than that. If your clients haven’t heard back on a Pro support email, then the only feasible explanation is that we didn’t receive it for some reason. To confirm, I just did a search in our inbox for campsimcha.org, and I don’t see any issues at all referencing that, which does seem to indicate we haven’t received any communication.

      For bug reports, those we do actually “triage.” So certain bug reports are handled more quickly (the more serious they are, and the more people they affect) and some are deferred. So it’s theoretically possible that your clients or others would wait longer on a bug report.

      That said, I search all our bug reports for campsimcha.org, and again I don’t see any bug reports for that site either.

      So I’m not sure what may have happened, but it’s definitely not a policy to not respond. If you want to have your clients resend bug reports to erick@photocrati.com, I should get them personally and I’ll forward them to our support team or look into them directly.

  9. says

    Thanks Erick,

    What a great letter to explain the positives and not just the negatives. This was a huge update! I appreciate your efforts and the team at Photocrati. I agree with your comments about people voting “Broken” when some people are having minor problems. I do realize that others had their site crash and that is huge! I had some minor issues and I didn’t vote “Broken”. I did rollback to 2.0 because the later version did not display my galleries on an iPad or Android phone. I figured it would be fixed some day. With 2.0 my galleries are now displayed on the iPad and Android but I no longer can swipe the images like I could when using 1.9.x. Not sure why?

    Thanks again for keeping us in the loop and good luck getting everything fine tuned!

    • edanzer says

      @Tim: thanks for the comments and kind words. We haven’t actually heard anything about galleries being broken in ipad/iphone, and I know they’re working for us across test sites. We’ll double check it now, but if you’re seeing that, it might be worth submitting a bug report so we can see what’s happening. As with some other issues, this one may be something site specific or browser specific or something like that.

  10. says

    Technology is great when it is working and a real pain when it’s not! My galleries were not looking right at all with the new updates, so I reloaded 1.9.12 and will keep using that until I am sure all issue have been resolved. I have an art website, so how things look are critical. But I recognize that software has it’s glitches and appreciate all the work the NextGen developers have been doing.

    • edanzer says

      @Wendy: thanks to you too for the comments and kind words. And apologies for gallery displays. Were they loading in a single column? That was a relatively common report with 2.0.7 and it was related to a conflict with caching plugins. It’s been resolved, so you should be safe if that was the issue. If you had something else going on, again, it may be worth a bug report. We’re not seeing any gallery styling issues at this point, so if you are, it again may be something specific we need to track down.

      Since you are holding to update, you may want to hold until 2.1. Right now, we’re incrementing smaller version numbers (2.0.7, 2.0.11, etc), and we’re figuring once we have the sense that it’s stable for the vast majority, we’ll increment to 2.1 as a sign that it should be safe for those who are currently holding off.

  11. Risto says

    After the update, there have been too many errors (widgets collapse when using mulitlingual site, admin side shows errors) and I am looking for a way to downgrade the version.

    As I am a developer myself, I looked into your code and I am sorry – it’s a real mess! This plugin is not so complicated that you would have to use interfaces, adapters or what so ever. You have made this more complicated than it should be. It takes a lot of time to find a some specific functions and you have separater everything into 775 files and all functions across the, one function calling three next functions.

    Although, I appreciate what you are doing (developing, making the plugin better)!

    • edanzer says

      Hi Risto! Thanks for the comments. It sounds like you may have been one of the people who experienced more (or more serious) errors, so you have my apologies. For both admin areas and your widget issues, I’d again urge you to submit a bug report if you report those. We’ve rapidly solved various admin errors triggered by specific conditions, so if you are still seeing one, it’s likely something specific to your site that we’ll need to see to troubleshoot for your. The same goes with the the widget issues.

      I’m assuming based on your message that you’ve rolled back to 1.9.13 and are holding to update. So again, you may want to hold off and just wait for 2.1.

      On the code, it’s definitely not messy in the sense of sloppy. The code is deliberately well-organized. But I do suspect that it is more complicated, at least from some perspectives, than the it was for 1.9.x. The code base is also larger. And I know it’s going to be some what unfamiliar to people who were familiar with the 1.9.x code base. I know that we impose some re-learning curve by adjusting the code base like this, so I apologize for the lost time. But I suspect once you get familiar with it and understand the organizational logic, you’ll appreciate it more. In any case, thanks for the feedback.

  12. Sam Mullen says

    Thanks Erick for the open letter, I really do appreciate the fact that the plugin is free but to push out such a massive update without any documentation save a single-page introduction to Pope is a bit careless.

    IMO You’ve put too much stock in modernising the interface without realising you’re actually making it more complicated. For example if I want to embed a gallery into a post, 1.9 can do it in 3 clicks. V2 I have to select every minute option for the embed, then no matter what style I choose, and what gallery to pick up the images from, it just embeds a single image. I can’t see how your testing didn’t pick that one up, it’s one of the most basic functions in the whole plugin. The new interface is all animation and popup notifications, no thought to the UX, should be the other way round!

    • edanzer says

      @Sam: Thanks very much for the feedback. We do, of course, realize there is a LOT more going on in the page/post interface for NextGEN now than there was before. But you should still be able to add a basic gallery type in about the same number of clicks:

      1) Click #1 (same as 1.9.13): Click NextGEN icon
      2) Click #2 (same as 1.9.13, radio vs dropdown): Select Gallery Type
      3) Click #3 (new): Go to Gallery Source.
      3) Click #4 (same as 1.9.13): Select Gallery Source (Same as 1.9.13 if you are using a gallery and you just want to select from drop down, but you can also select tags, random, recent or multiple galleries as sources which you couldn’t do before).
      4) Click #5 (same as 1.9.13): Click Save

      So the 2.0 interface:
      *requires one additional click (#3) to add a standard gallery
      *offers more options if you want them for gallery sources
      *offers new options customize each gallery display, which wasn’t there before, but these you can ignore if you don’t want to use them

      Again, we know there is more going on and more options available. You could make the case that means it’s more complicated. But I would also guess that once you get a sense for what’s possible with the new interface, you’ll find it painful to go back to the old one. The old one is very, very basic.

      -
      On the documentation, we recognize we have a lot to fill in yet, but you can also find additional documentation here:
      http://www.nextgen-gallery.com/help/
      http://www.nextgen-gallery.com/nextgen-gallery-shortcodes/

  13. Jim Longo says

    I have updated some simpler sites without problems, and on some more complex sites there were a multitude of issues. I can sympathize with the difficulty in testing on all the different configurations that are out there, and would like to thank you for a thorough well written response to the problems we all face.
    Hoping that I will be able to upgrade my more complex sites in the near future as they require monthly contractual maintenance. In the meantime best of luck, and remember no one’s died as a result of the problems with the update.

    • edanzer says

      @Jim: Thanks for your thoughts, kind comments, and encouragement. On the complicated site, my question would be what was complicated about it? That could mean a lot more plugins and content running, in which case I’d suspect a plugin conflict. It could mean something like a multi-site network. Or maybe there was something else going on in terms of custom WordPress or NextGEN set up.

      In any case, if you do confront issues, you may want to consider submitting a bug report with login credentials so we can troubleshoot. My main concerns is that we’re now getting a point where issues are very localized to specific cases or a handful of cases. So if the issue is specific at all to your site, it may still be there when you update. Regardless, as I’ve mentioned for others, you may want to hold on updating that site until 2.1.

      Again, thanks for the comment!

  14. says

    As a developer I got surprised the amount of work underneath Nextgen. Certainly the plugin needed more than overhaul.

    I have one suggestion and two questions:
    The first suggestion is find a way to make examples way shorter. For example, I want to programatically insert a shortcode, how I would do that now?
    I was using Nextgen_shortcodes before, now what is the new approach? Is there any plans to make a Wikipedia or knowledge base?
    Question one: is the code marked as ‘legacy’ to be deprecated? If so, I will take good care to avoid it.
    Question two: I’m currently developing a Nextgen subplugin. Should I follow all directives pointed on http://www.nextgen-gallery.com/how-to-build-a-display-type/

    Being said that, I think Nextgen is going in the right direction, although the WAY is handled needs to be improved.
    I have published a question on the support forum yesterday. Looking closely, I’ve been noticed last week there were 300 issues and there were solved just 40. That’s sounds crazy and could split the plugin community easily.

    By the way, I tested the new plugin version (2.0.10-2,0.11) and those sites where there was no customization, the plugin worked perfectly
    However, sites with custom code broke apart. I guess that was because Nextgen needed many patches to work, tailored for client’s need.

    Keep the good work!

    • edanzer says

      @Fernando: thanks for the thoughtful comments. Just going to reply to each one…

      1) We do have some documentation on the new shortcodes here: http://www.nextgen-gallery.com/nextgen-gallery-shortcodes. And yes, we definitely have plans to keep expanding and improving the documentation here: http://www.nextgen-gallery.com/help/.

      2) We build 2.0 around the legacy code, so almost all legacy code will continue to be used and work for the foreseeable future. There are some legacy mechanisms we’re going to try to deprecate, like templates. But given the age and popularity of the plugin, we don’t have any imminent plans just to stop supporting these things. Right now, all legacy functionality should work and will continue to work. If it’s not, it’s either an oversight on our part or a bug.

      3) Yes, if you’re building an extension plugin, that post/guide is a perfect place to look for guidance on how to do it. That exactly why we published it.

      4) On the support queries and resolved %, that resolved percentage has been very similar for NextGEN for a very long time (years), so that’s not a reflection of anything recent. We do monitor that forum thread daily, and we’re obviously responding a lot, but we’re often hesitant to mark things resolved until we get total complete assurance that they are resolved. Other times, issue are resolved by subsequent updates and we just don’t go through and mark them as such. Other issues in the forums are extremely individualized (1 user out of 550,000 websites) and so we just tackle other priorities first. Our main goal is to use the forums to understand what’s happening with the plugin, and to identify and solve genuine bugs that affect multiple users.

      5) It’s good to know it was working fine on regular installations. I’m not that surprised that there may be issues with customizations, but hopefully those, along with other things will continue to work better with each subsequent release. It is possible, though, that the customizations may need to be adjusted to fit the new code base.

      Thanks again.

  15. says

    As a total newbie to web design, I spent months getting my business site how I wanted. Twice previously, WP updates had killed the site (1st time WordPress, 2nd time the theme was the problem) but this third time, I think it is this NextGen update. Now, my site has gone from something I was really proud of, to this – http://www.scarletviewmedia.com

    I appreciate the candor and willingness to engage your customers but unfortunately, I still now have to rebuild everything from scratch by the looks of it at a time when my business needs our site and it’s been down almost two weeks, the whole thing was ruined.

    • edanzer says

      @David: Thanks for your note and apologies for the difficulties. I think I was slow to publish and respond to this. I just checked your site and it looks good, so I’m assuming you’ve worked out the issue. Did you resolve it, roll back, or something else? I’m assuming that something went wrong with your styling on the front end, and it’s possible that was some kind of conflict between NG and your theme. Otherwise, NG shouldn’t affect the overall appearance of the site. If there’s anything we can still do, please feel free to submit a bug report.

  16. says

    I am using the WP Twenty Eleven theme and just I upgraded from NextGen 2.0 to 2.0.17 and now when I try and view my site it shows the white screen of death. If I disable the NextGen pluggin everything works fine, however it is a big problem that I am not able to display my work.
    Please can you help.

    • edanzer says

      @Sam: If you are still having this, you should definitely consider rolling back (http://www.nextgen-gallery.com/how-to-rollback-a-version/) to 1.9.13. That said, while we haven’t tested against Twenty Eleven specifically, we have tested against Twenty Twelve and Twenty Thirteen, and given the coding standards, I’m surprised to hear this one. You didn’t by chance make modifications or customizations to the theme did you?

      I’ll take a look at this once I’m done responding to comments here. If we are trigging that kind of conflict with a theme like 2011, then it’s definitely something we need to resolve immediately.

    • edanzer says

      Hey @Pandit: Yup, I totally agree. I empathize a lot with users having issues, so I’m inclined to be very patient and tolerant when it comes to impatient or upset users. I’d be exactly the same way.

  17. says

    I had to roll back because a certain category would throw 500 internal server errors. I looked at my logs and this was the error message:

    27-Aug-2013 13:37:51 UTC] PHP Fatal error: Call to a member function clear() on a non-object in /home/mydirecotorwhichi’mnotgoingtoshowy/public_html/wp-content/plugins/nextgen-gallery/products/photocrati_nextgen/modules/simplehtmldom/simplehtmldom/simple_html_dom.php on line 1135

    The problem category is “color”.

  18. Saad says

    I like the new plugin and its working great BUT there is one issue i have which i would like you to take care of please. i develop my websites on a different directory, “example.com/dev” and when all content is uploaded i move it to root directory “example.com” and then use a “search and replace” plugin to remove all /dev references. and it worked great. but since this new upgrade Nextgen does not take effect of this, all the script urls still have that old “/dev” reference no matter what effect i use (Lightbox, fancybox, shutter, etc..), i tried deactivating and enabling again but still scripts are pointing to old directory. i had this problems in 3 different sites and different servers, i tried to change that url from database wp_options table but it did not work. to workaround i have not deleted my old “/dev” folder so that scripts can be loaded from there and pictures can popup. if you could address this in next update that will be great. thanks for all the good work.

    • edanzer says

      Saad – I’ll try to add a report about this to see if we can confirm it. Just a heads up though that we have a lot of competing priorities for each next update, so I can’t say we’ll get to this this immediately. But I’ll ensure it’s on the developers’ radar screen.

  19. says

    Thank you Erick for your heartfelt and open letter to the community. We have been fans of nextgen for years and use it on many client sites and almost always consider it when we are building a site with gallery requirements in the design. For us and our customers, the 2.0 has been an expensive nightmare honestly. Initially we did not know there was a problem until our customers let us know that one of their customers contacted t hem and complained. For example, sites that use Cart66 Pro. Nextgen update 2.0+ made those sites with shopping carts non-functional for normal cart performance. In fact, it literally killed their carts. This caused their online sales to immediately stop. As we waded through the problems doing the best we could for our customers, some were switched to other options and others on particularly tight margins have chosen not to pay to fix the problem with another solution while we all wait out a solution that will work. On many sites, we use many nextgen galleries to help our customers convey to their customers the benefits of products in a visual and reactive way. Such is an example here: http://gunpartsplus.com/pictures/ . On this page you can see all of the shortcodes visible as the plugin has been turned off waiting for a fix that we can believe in. The latest from Cart66 programmers says that your plugin now conflicts with theirs. This leaves us in an extremely tight spot still always wanting to do the very best for our clients, their customers and the Internet community as a whole. Please resolve the issues with Cart66 Pro so we can all get on with our happy and productive lives. Thank you:-)

    • edanzer says

      @Mark: Thanks for your note and apologies for the difficulties. It sounds like the most problematic issue you’ve faced is the Cart66 plugin conflict? We are aware of that one, and it’s rapidly moving up the priority list as we’ve resolved many general issues with the plugin itself at this point. I’ll take a look at bumping this one up a bit more. We’ve had quite a few reports on the Cart66 conflict.

  20. says

    I am a designer-producer working to resolve a broken NextGen lightbox on my site.
    I just thought I’d write to give you an encouraging pat, and say hang in there. I hope my lightbox will be working again soon, but fortunately, nobody is bleeding because of this problem.

  21. jansen says

    I must say that while it’s nice you came up with this OPEN letter, the fact is only one: how could you possibly decide on such a major shift, WITHOUT a serious warning, in backend functionality that it essentially kills a site in most dimensions? I have a simple site, and most of NexGen is (or was) of no use to me, for now anyways. Now I even lost Lightbox display. So I’m dealing with it, and probably will look up other options, because again, this “upgrade” is a MAJOR let down in the approach to users. Admission of added complexity makes absolutely no difference here. For people who spent the little time they had to get a site going, only to find themselves on essentially dead pages the next day is appalling. Sorry, but I don’t buy one bit of your explanation, even if it appears commendable for someone to come forward with above admissions. Frankly, I believe that you needed the changes for the commercial product(s) and paid very little attention to what was going to happen to many, many users of the free version. The upgrades should have come in RED BOLD FACE type, so people saw something unorthodox coming. A major disappointment for me.

    I will say this: given what you had in store there was simply NO WAY to NOT go the parallel route and have this released as a NEW version, NOT an upgrade. You have managed to mess up a LOT of sites in a single swap, which calls into question the credibility of the team involved.

    • edanzer says

      Hi @jansen: I appreciate hearing your thoughts and feedback. As I already discussed in the letter, I actually agree that including a notice prior to the update probably would have been a good idea. On some of your other points, though, we’d need to agree to disagree. We could easily (and much more quickly) have launched a Pro version of NextGEN without trying to rework it first. We reworked it because NG has had the same code and functionality since 2007, which is a really long time in web time, and it was not a robust platform for the kind of improvements that will be needed for the plugin to keep up with the pace of development surrounding it.

      Thanks again for taking the time to share your thoughts here.

    • edanzer says

      @jansen: One other note. It sounds like the main issue you are having is with lightboxes. Lightboxes are now working fine under almost all circumstances. The only places we are generally seeing issues is with theme/plugin conflicts, and especially with themes that offer their own lightbox functionality. So you may want to check those if you are still seeing the issue.

      • phenomenologie says

        is not working with flickrpress and jquery lightbox at all — no theme with lightbox functionality other than that.

  22. says

    As a stop gap it might be a good idea to suggest people deactivate 2x and install the legacy version so they don’t lose any data. I did that and it only took a few minutes to get up and running again.

    • edanzer says

      @matt: Thanks for the suggestion. That’s a good idea, and we actually did provide rollback instructions and many people used those to keep running legacy while we sorted out issues. I know some people are still rolled back and holding off a bit longer to update, though the need for it is less and less at this point. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  23. Peter Burton says

    Dear Erick

    Thank you for posting your open letter. I wanted respond to it.

    I think NextGen Gallery by Photocrati have done an amazing job with the update. Yes the update from v1 to v2 has been (very) painful.

    I use NextGen Gallery on multiple hobby sites I run. On one I have over 50 galleries. I think the WordPress community sometimes get out-of synch with reality. The reality is that there are 7m odd users of NextGen Gallery. What’s more NextGen Gallery is a FREE plugin.

    Think of the permutations of templates, plugins.

    There was no way the NextGen Gallery team of 3 developers were ever going to be able to test every permutation. That’s the reality

    What NextGen Gallery did do within 24 hour of the update was to address this and issue very clear instructions for a roll-back. I for one did roll-back and once the first batched of fixes were in place then proceeded again to update to NextGen Gallery v2.

    Erick I want to thank you and the NextGen Gallery team for taking the product to the next stage. It was never going to be an easy update. The team have certainly stepped up to the challenge and we should all be thanking them and you.

    Best regards

    PB

    • edanzer says

      @Peter: Thanks for kind words, the thanks, and the gracious understanding of the dynamics at work. If you did roll back even for a bit, it means you also had issues with the update, and it’s always impressive when someone who has issues remains as gracious and understanding as you have. I think your point about the large numbers and possible permutations is also right on. Thanks again for taking the time and for the kind words.

  24. Mark says

    I just wanted to leave a quick comment saying that I’m really happy with version 2. It introduced some features that I had been wanting for a while now. I haven’t experienced any major issues. I’m glad I invested in the Pro upgrade. Sorry to hear about the problems that others are having though.

    • edanzer says

      @Mark: Great to hear! We know many people had smooth experience with the udpate, but because they are less motivated to go comment, we don’t hear as much from them in most public venues. So thanks very much for taking a moment to add your voice and experience. I appreciate it. Thanks, too, for taking Pro for a drive. I hope we can continue to give you a solid experience with NG and Pro.

  25. says

    I recently added the NextGen gallery – I was using the Photocrati template and the built in gallery until Hostgator told me not to use it a few weeks ago. So, I found a different theme and used NextGen Gallery. The slideshow works on a PC in Chrome (v 29.0.1547.76)>. However, Firefox (v. 24.0) and Internet Explorer (v. 29.0.1547.76) do not. I just get the spinning circle.

    Likewise, the same happens on the iPad and iPhone (both running iOS 7.0.2) as well as the HP ElitePad.

    The galleries seem to work everywhere else.

    • edanzer says

      @Rob: Apologies for the difficulties. We definitely cross browser test all NextGEN Galleries, and as far as we know slideshows are working fine across all browsers for us, our test sites, and most users. So if you are seeing an issue like this with a basic slideshow, it’s probably going to be something specific about your environment that we need to troubleshoot. Normally, I’d think it may be a browser issue, but given that you’re seeing it across multiple, it may be something on the WP instance itself like a plugin conflict. I’d just suggest submitting a bug report so we can suggest some things to try and help you work through it:

      http://www.nextgen-gallery.com/report-bug/

  26. says

    I initially had a number of issues too on several sites after upgrading to the new Pro version. Though I believe ‘most’ of them are resolved now. I look at it in two ways. Yes, when you pay for a product there are demands and expectations – and it can be frustrating. I know I was initially.

    However in NextGens defense, I will say the following:
    Web design and implementation has become so very complicated in the last 5 – 7 years. I know, I’ve made enough of them and go way back creating them. We not only have so many different computer OS versions, but now literally hundreds of different crappy little devices, tablets and other “toys” that websites are now also expected to function on 100%. All the while looking good on your computer OS too (if you have one).
    To expect any company to test fully and know all the bugs is literally impossible. It’s why I pay someone else to do this stuff quite honestly. I don’t want the headache!
    Having said that, I understand that the bugs will happen. My only demand is that they be addressed, responded to, and hopefully worked on in a timely manner as a paying customer. NextGen I believe has done that. I had the same tech person responding to all my issues in the same thread. I never got bounced around, and most of the issues did in fact get solved in a timely manner considering. The only thing I have noticed remaining is that cache plugins do not play nicely with this new version. I’d like to have cache options back. But it will come I’m sure.

    To the heavy complainers out there, I say the following:
    For $40 a year on unlimited sites you are getting a hell of a deal! How many of you remember back in the days of HTML and having to make your own galleries? Let me break it down…. You’d manually resize every image to it’s max first, usually in Photoshop. Then create a thumbnail based on a 60 X 60px template you made for example. Save both, give them proper names. Next hand code it all in HTML on your site in Dreamweaver or otherwise (at the time Macromedia). It took HOURS to do a big gallery nicely and make it smoothly implemented. Then come changes…don’t even get me started.
    So people…you think $40 is too much? Feel free to get off your high horse and do it yourself any time you like. Learn PHP and how to combine it with CSS / HTML. The average WordPress user…not a chance! My one beef with WordPress is it makes for a certain amount of ignorance in the community believing it all to be as straightforward as the interface users are accustomed to. Everything appears push button…but it would do you some good to learn what’s going on under the hood. If you were paying $250 + per year for a limited number of sites or special developer account…go ahead and let the dung fly! They’d deserve it. But a flat fee of $40.00 for pro with so many options, when they are working fast to solve it all? C’mon really? What kind of self entitled world has this become?

    • edanzer says

      Thanks for your comments on thoughts on this. I obviously think you are right about increasing complexity. That complexity applies in any case where you are writing software that’s being pushed out and installed in an almost infinite diversity of environments. As with others here, I appreciate your gracious understanding of the nature of the issues in spite of the fact that you experience your own bumps with the update. Glad to hear things are smoother for you now!

  27. says

    Hello,

    I recently updated and am now having the same issue as many others with my gallery not working properly. Before I was able to click on one picture in the gallery and then there would be an arrow at the bottom of the image to go to the next picture or go back to the last one. Now when I click on an image it takes me to one page only and there is no option of going forward/back. Any help of getting my gallery back to how it was displayed before would be much appreciated!!! (As I am definitely quite new with all of this and have no clue where to start!) Thank you!! :)

    • edanzer says

      @Alyssa: sorry for the difficulties. What you are describing is a lightbox. You should go to Gallery > Other Options > Lightbox Effects and try selecting a few different lightboxes to confirm which if any are working for you. In almost every case where lightboxes are not working, it’s been because of a plugin or theme conflict. If your theme has it’s own lightbox functionality, that’s probably the culprit. Otherwise, try momentarily deactivating your other plugins just long enough to see if your NextGEN lightboxes start working again.

      If you do find a conflict, or if you can’t resolve this, I recommend submitting a bug report (http://www.nextgen-gallery.com/report-bug/) or, if you are a pro member, a support request (login at http://www.nextgen-gallery.com/login). Thanks!

    • edanzer says

      Thanks for the thoughts Anatomika. We do recognize the significance of the plugin to so many people, and despite what impression I know some have from the bugs in 2.0, we take that stewardship seriously. I’d add that at this point, we’ve now made huge progress toward stability. The volume of issues is a fraction of what it was a month or two ago, and the issues now are generally much, much narrower, often things like plugin conflicts or minor missing functionality from 1.9.x. We’ll keep moving that forward though.

    • edanzer says

      @Kavinder: You said “today” which I’m assuming means that uploads were working fine for you previously using 2.0.x? Right now, uploads are very stable for almost everyone. The volume of people having issue uploading is roughly similar to what it was under 1.9.x. So there’s probably going to be something specific going on.

      You should definitely, in any case, submit a bug report or support request if pro member. When you do, please clarify if you can’t upload, or if you can upload but can’t add a gallery to a page/post. Also be clear about what exactly you are seeing – are images broken, is it blank, or is there an error?

      Thanks.

  28. says

    Personally I am angry at all the freeloaders who a not paying anything towards the development of this software and seem to be complaining the loudest and taking up most of your resources. I wish that you would drop the free version and concentrate on developing the best possible pro version. There’s a reason Photoshop isn’t free, why not strive to make NextGen the Photoshop of galleries by dropping the free version altogether?

    • edanzer says

      @Fred: Perceptive comment. It’s been amazing how much energy and time has been poured into the free version of NextGEN Gallery. In some respects, that time is pulled away from other projects, including Pro. But in other respects, I’d emphasize that time is well-used, both for the free NG users and for our Pro users.

      Making NextGEN into the Photoshop of web-based gallery management is a reasonable description we’re trying to do, and NextGEN Gallery is a great vehicle for that. It’s got great underlying functionality (all of which we kept) and a huge head start toward market dominance. But it also needed a more robust platform to accommodate further development, and that’s why we introduced some of the major changes we did (with the associated issues we’re not working through).

      For that reason, even if a lot of the negative feedback you see here is coming from NextGEN’s free users, it’s still useful to us (and you). NextGEN Pro just lays on top of NextGEN, so everything we fix or improve in NextGEN makes NextGEN Pro that much stronger.

      Of course, please rest assured we do have a lot of nice things in the pipeline for Pro right now too. :)

  29. James says

    I’ve experienced some smaller problems with this plugin on minor updates over the past year such as settings reverting to a previous state or just being unset again. Sure, this is minor stuff, but as this is a complex plugin, finding the problem to minor setting changes can be a pain. Luckily it was these problems that prevented me from upgrading. I told myself….no more NextGen updates on the fly. If I planned to update this plugin, it would be at a time when I could sit down to ensure I had ample time to fix or adjust the little issues each new update seemed to cause. Luckily this time never came and I didn’t upgrade to this latest version everyone seems to be complaining about. Phew.

    I think it’s very nice that this person/company took the time to address the issues, and anger, and frustration. However, I’d like to offer up two things. One, this is a free plugin, so ANY support you get is a blessing. Many free plugin authors don’t bother to respond or support. If you want to receive timely support for a problem, purchase a pro plugin with support built into the price, and then if you still get crappy/no service, it’s open season on the authors credibility. Two, everyone complaining about this who runs a critical site should really first be blaming themselves. If you have something that important on a website, you should have at least one other development install to test on. Install WordPress on a subdomain and keep a test copy of the site for stuff like major theme and plugin upgrades. Or buy a full site backup plugin and do a test restore to ensure it works. You’re the webmaster. If your site breaks, it’s up to you to have a plan in place for some redundancy.

  30. says

    I began using NextGen on my photography site earlier this year and was very happy with it. During the summer I was not too much involved with the site on a day to day basis, but come October I was getting messages that people couldn’t get at my pictures, so I checked and the were right. SO ,back to work, time to upload thousands more pictures…and NextGen was indeed munged. I have rolled back to 1.9.13–no improvement. I checked the internal links against my notes–all as they were, just no longer functioning. After a horrible two days trying eveything, today NextGen is getting booted off the site and I will tell my blog readers to avoid it. ITS ENOUGH WORK ALREADY running a photography site without having to deal with flakey software that clearly has not been properly tested.

    It’s high time software developers realised two things 1- if it ain’t broke don’t fix it and 2- people running businesses DO NOT want the newest, latest, geekiest, they want the old one THAT WORKS. The fact is that, although I can’t say whether the problem is NextGen or WP 3.7 or both, it doesn’t matter since NG includes these–obviously untested–updates in the WP automatic update function.

    What have I learned from this? Well, mainly, don’t ever believe a software developer when it comes to business-critical apps; and USE WP NATIVE APPS WHENEVER POSSIBLE. Jetpack now includes much that was attractive about NG. I will have days of mind-numbing sorting out to do, but when it’s done, NG will not be able to do this again, because it won’t be part of my business, end of.

    As for the Free/pro argument provided by Fred, well, NG provided the sotware for free and made great claims about it. It’s up to them to live up to it free or not. And the suggestion that NG might build a huge free client base and then stiff them all for fees when it suits them certainly has not encouraged me to reconsider, thanks. It’s not like we haven’t seen practices like that before.

    • edanzer says

      @Rod: Thanks for taking the time to comment and sorry for the difficulties.

      In your case, I do have to say that it sounds like whatever happened was probably unrelated to the update that this blog post and discussion is about. I say that because you continued to have the same problem after rolling back to 1.9.13, which is the version prior to the update. If you’re seeing the issue while running 1.9.13, it’s probably unrelated to 2.0.x.

      That does raise the question of what caused the issue and without diagnosing it’s hard to say. It could have been the update from 1.9.12 to 1.9.13, or perhaps it’s compatibility between the latest WordPress updates and the legacy version of the plugin, or perhaps something else on your site changed. You are very welcome to submit a bug report so we can take a look, though we’ll want to update you to the latest version again.

      With respect to your general point about updates, you probably know this, but as a WordPress user almost every part of the environment in which your site lives is constantly being updated. The software on your server, your WordPress version, your theme versions, all your plugin versions, various scripts and code libraries, etc. Some of those updates are small fixes and improvements, while others, yes, are designed to give the “newest, latest, geekiest” or at least the “newer, later, geekier.” I’d just emphasize that without an endless series of such updates, we’d still be working on DOS machines and hand-coding our HTML for our websites. So the updates are necessary part of evolution that you honestly do want, even if they periodically produce headaches.

      Of course, that doesn’t excuse our team specifically from having produced an update that was way more problematic than the norm for many of our users. It is our responsibility to make the updates as smooth as possible.

  31. daniel says

    Dear Erick,
    I’ve been a happy user of Nextgen for many many years. I purchased the Pro product from day one.
    This is almost 4 months ago, but the Pro plugin is still not usable to me. The biggest problem is that its slowing down the website down. Just the Pro plugin is taking 75% of the plugin load (measured with P3 Performance Profile Profiler).
    What happened to the promises made that every week there will be an update available?
    The last update is 4 weeks old. Not been able to trust NextGenPro is the reason why i still haven’t
    launched my new website. I’m holding back at least 20 sites to NextGen 1.9, afraid to update to V2.
    My last concern is the fact the NextGen is still not been set to be compatible with 3.7(.1).
    I don’t want a refund, i just want a product which is solid and well build and creates solutions instead of problems…

    • edanzer says

      Hi Daniel: Thanks for your comments and apologies for the performance difficulties and the way it’s ricocheting to affect your work flow on multiple sites.

      We have seen NextGEN and/or NextGEN Pro produce performance issues for some users. These effects seem to vary notably from user to user.

      I’m not sure P3 is the best measure for this. I’ve had users report similar numbers from P3, for example, only to find out that while NextGEN accounts for 60-70% of total plugin load time, the average page load time on the front end of their is still just 1.5 seconds or something like that. So it’s a large percentage of a fast load time. Apart from load times, we’re also looking at issues related to database record creation, processing intensity, and other measures of performance.

      We did just pushed two major updates today for NextGEN Gallery and NextGeN that might improve the performance you’re seeing, especially those P3 numbers. I know on our test sites the P3 numbers dropped a fair amount. We have a number of other performance related adjustments on the agenda as well.

      -
      Two other quick notes. First, the promises we made about releases and then betas in alternating weeks we really more for NextGEN Gallery itself more than Pro, and that commitment was made a long time ago now. We actually adhered to that schedule for a long time after this post, but we’ve finally started to slow down our NextGEN release cycle the last two releases or so, and we’ll probably stay a bit slower now that the plugin is stabilized.

      Second, on compatibility with with 3.7, we’re definitely compatible with the latest versions of WordPress at any given moment. We set the “minimum required version” to 3.6 so people can run NextGEN on older WP version if they really want to, but we always test every release primarily against the latest live version of WordPress. We also test to a lesser extent against coming beta versions. So we’re already starting to test NextGEN on WordPress 3.8 now.

      Hope that addresses some of your questions. If you have others, let me know.

  32. Istvan Horvath says

    I know from trusted localization teams that you, guys, are not able to fix all the i18n & l10n issues. In plain English: you don’t give a damn about the international users. Your new versions are absolutely not (or poorly) prepared for localization.

    Don’t ever come out with a new version of an internationally used plugin if you are not capable of preparing it properly for localization (l10n). Or at least make widely known and post on your site something like “International users should not download it; translations will not work with the new version”…

    • edanzer says

      Hi Istvan: Thanks for the comment. I have to say you’re right that the update still is not supporting translations well. I know it’s frustrating, and I think this is one of the more accurate critical comments in this tread.

      That said, there’s some context missing here. It’s not that we don’t care about international users. It’s that most users (international or not) care first and foremost about the functionality working. If you can’t upload photos, it doesn’t matter if the interface is well translated. Our focus has been ensuring the functionality works first across a very wide array of platforms and configurations. As the new version of NextGEN gets more and more stable now, people are starting to care more and more about translations and other things, and to be honest, I’d consider that a good sign.

      In any case, our whole team agrees with you that getting solid translations back in place is a huge priority. I think this will be firmly on the agenda soon.

  33. Keely says

    I am among those who don’t like the new version – none of the images do the old pop-up in the same window – the lightbox … the images just go off to a page with a single image on it. No idea how to get the images to open in a lightbox now.

    Looking at other options for an image gallery.

    • edanzer says

      @Keely: Lightbox functionality should be working as before (and is for almost all users). It definitely shouldn’t be opening the image in it’s own window. So there’s something specific going on with your site that’s affecting the lightbox. I’ll say that most times when we see this there’s a plugin conflict. So if you are up for it, you might try momentarily deactivating your other plugins to see if the lightbox starts working. Otherwise, you should submit a bug report, ideally with WordPress and FTP credentials, so we can take a look. Thanks!

  34. Graeme Attkins says

    Hi Erick,

    Have looked through all the support pages, looking for a temporary solution for the lightbox issue, with no luck. Clicking on the thumbnail opens the image directly.

    My browser Inspector is reporting: “Uncaught ReferenceError: nextgen_lightbox_filter_selector is not defined” on page load when a gallery is called. This indicates to me that there’s a fundamental issue with the script itself, which you should be able to correct, or provide a workaround for. As this error is occurring whenever a lightbox effect is chosen, it doesn’t matter which lightbox you choose.

    For info, I did try deactivating all other plug-ins on my site, to no avail.

    • edanzer says

      Hi Graeme…We’ve never seen that particular issue/error you are seeing before, so definitely something odd going on. It’s unlikely to be a general issue with the code, or we would have seen it with other users. I actually wonder if something didn’t go right with your install? You may want to try refreshing your plugin files (ie, unzip and reupload the plugin files via FTP into the same nextgen-gallery directory to ensure they’re all there). Otherwise, you should definitely consider submitting a bug report with any details so we can troubleshoot and have a look. Thanks.

  35. Chris says

    Hi there…

    I have used NextGen for many years, with zero problems, on many sites that I have built.

    I fully appreciate the problems in software development, especially when there are very few working on the coding itself.

    However, V2.0 has caused many issues with some sites, that have actually lost myself, and several clients, alot of money, as 3 sites I have used the new version on have completely crashed. I understand that the plugin is free, hence I shall take no action, but I feel you should offer the roll back without delay to anyone that requires it, with the option of an easy rollback button, before you try to fix the bugs on the new version.

    That way, anyone who is having problems, and do not have the ability for coding, can fix their sites. Those that have no problems can wait for the bug free updates….

    I hope appreciate my comments, and understand them. You have made dramatic updates to a plugin that quite frankly did not really need them, and caused the major bugs that have appeared. That will obviously produce mistrust of many updates, even if you fix the problem…

    I, for one, will be rolling back to V 19.13 on all sites, and will be keeping that version for some time….

  36. says

    I was using a 2.0 version for a while with no issues but when i updated wordpress to the latest build along with the latest NextGen version I started having slow query issues in the data base. The file my hosting company sent me has thousands of these slow query all by nggallery. I rolled back to Version 1.9.13 which stopped the slow queries but made the plugin completely useless.

    SELECT pid , wp_options.option_value AS ‘custom_post_id’, GROUP_CONCAT(CONCAT_WS(‘@@’, meta_key, meta_value)) AS ‘extras’ FROM wp_ngg_pictures LEFT OUTER JOIN wp_options ON wp_options.option_name = CONCAT(‘wp_ngg_pictures_’, wp_ngg_pictures.pid) LEFT OUTER JOIN wp_postmeta ON wp_postmeta.post_id = wp_options.option_value WHERE (exclude = 0) GROUP BY wp_ngg_pictures.pid ORDER BY rand();

  37. David says

    I, for one, truly appreciate the hard work and efforts of any team that offers free software with this business model.
    Am I frustrated it fails to load my galleries? Yes. Will I rant and complain to the team who have offered this free software? No. I’ll politely ask and wait for them to give me their time to help with my problem. It’s free. I’m not going to demand any of their time; I’m sure they are busy sorting it out and require no criticism from me. They will have enough to deal with when responding to customers who have paid them for their service.
    As mentioned above, the number of users with problems on the forums is never an indicator of the size of the problem with such a vast user-base. How many people go to a support forum to say “Thanks, it still works”?. Further, a lot of the people complaining will not be ‘pro’ users, yet will still be harsh and demanding in their posts. The free open-source model will always be free, and it’s a sad world where people demand action and throw their toys out of the pram when a bug develops.
    From this open-source user; thanks.

  38. Lake Girl says

    Nextgen has been one of my favorite products for WordPress sites! I understand bugs in upgrades and new versions. What puzzles me is that although these bugs were introduced in August, 2013, Should not a stable version be out there by February, 2014 when one tries to upgrade? I’ve done roll backs and avoided upgrading, but at some point one has to consider moving to a stable alternative like another gallery.

    Am I missing something?

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