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Very Simple Image Gallery Plugin FAQ & Troubleshooting
Written by Andreas Berger   
Sunday, 27 September 2009 17:48

PROBLEM: Empty page when trying to open a page with gallery

ERROR: Fatal error: Allowed memory size of 33554432 bytes exhausted (tried to allocate 3264 bytes)

PROBLEM: Neither images nor thumbnails get shown (empty frames)

PROBLEM: Only the code {*vsig}folder{/vsig*} is shown - usage in module position

 

 

PROBLEM: Empty page when trying to open a page with gallery

If the call of a page with a gallery leads to an empty page, the reason probably is a "Fatal Error", caused by the GD lib, an extension to PHP. To display the error when opening the page, go to your Joomla! backend, navigate to "Site" > "Global Configuration" > "Server" and in the section "Server" increase the level of "Error Reporting" to "Maximum". (Note: In productive use this setting should be revised after fixing the problem!)
If you try to open the page with the gallery now, you will probably see a message such as "Fatal error: Allowed memory size of 33554432 bytes exhausted (tried to allocate 3264 bytes)". The next item of this FAQ deals with this error.

 

ERROR: Fatal error: Allowed memory size of 33554432 bytes exhausted (tried to allocate 3264 bytes)

If you get this error (amount of bytes will vary) when trying to open a page that contains a gallery, the amount of memory PHP needs to create the images/thumbnails exceeds the set maximum amount of memory a PHP script is allowed to use.
One possible solution would be to increase this amount (on your local test environment) or (on the web server) to ask your hoster if it is possible to enhance your account but - with a probability of 99% - the simple solution is: Smaller images!

This means in the first instance the image dimensions (width/height), not necessarily the image file size. The GD library of PHP needs to read in the image. This requires (as far as I know) about 40 Bit per pixel. This means - e.g. - that creating the image and thumbnail from an original with 800/600 needs at the least 800x600x40bit = 2.23 MegaByte.
For an image of 600/450 the calculation is 600x450x40bit = 1.29 MegaByte ... and so on.

In many cases images get uploaded far to large for web use. A common Joomla! template offers for a gallery in the context of the main content from 600 up to 800 pixel of width at the maximum. Images of this size can be displayed at excellent quality with - depending on the image - 50 up to 100 kilobyte. If you upload your images as they are saved from your digicam, they often come with dimensions up to 3000 or 4000 pixel of width and 3 or 4 megabyte of size.
The disadvantages of such large images are obviously: The upload takes a long time, you need a lot of space on your server and - important - scarcely any visitor is willing to wait for an image of 3 or 4 MB to load. Furthermore scaling an image offline with an appropriate program (e.g.: GIMP) gives you much better results than leaving it up to the visitors browser.

In the best case you scale your images offline to a format that exactly matches the size you are going to display them on your page (if you already fine tuned the gallery) or is a little above this size (above because browsers are still worse in up scaling images than they are in down scaling them).

By the way - doing so, the error disappears too.

 

PROBLEM: Neither images nor thumbnails get shown (empty frames)

If you get - instead of images and thumbnails - only the ALT-text or just empty frames, please open the configuration panel of the plugin and check the availability of the GD library.

The GD Library, short GD or GDlib, is a program library to dynamically create and manipulate graphics and one of the most widespread extensions of PHP. The Very Simple Image Gallery uses this extension to create the scaled images and thumbnails.
To get more information than the plugins configuration panel offers go to the Joomla! administration interface and open Help > System Info >PHP-Information. On this page search for "gd". In the best case you will find a chapter with the following or similar content:

gd

  • GD Support enabled
  • GD Version bundled (2.0.34 compatible)
  • FreeType Support enabled
  • FreeType Linkage with freetype
  • FreeType Version 2.1.9
  • T1Lib Support enabled
  • GIF Read Support enabled
  • GIF Create Support enabled
  • JPG Support enabled
  • PNG Support enabled
  • WBMP Support enabled
  • XBM Support enabled

The first line shows, that the extension is enabled, the second line holds the installed version. The followup lines hold information about available functionality and supported file types. For the Very Simple Image Gallery the file types GIF, JPG and PNG are of importance.
If the GDlib is not activated or these file formats are not supported, you should (on your local test environment) activate it or (on the web server) ask your hoster if it is possible to add this feature. Without the GDlib the Very Simple Image Gallery cannot be used.

 

PROBLEM: Only the code {*vsig}folder{/vsig*} is shown - usage in module position

If the frontend shows the code - {vsig}folder{/vsig*} (without asterisk) - instead of the gallery, the first thing to do is to check if the plugin is activated. If it is and the problem persists, in most cases you are trying to display the gallery on a module position instead of the context of the main content.
Not all extensions, that offer to display custom content on a module position, are supporting the whole functionality of the Joomla! framework and with it the functions the plugin needs to work properly.
Up till now two extensions are reported to offer the needed functionality:

One is the module "Module: Content with Plugins", listed at extensions.joomla.org under "News Display" > "Articles Embed".
The other is the module "Plugin in Module", listed at extensions.joomla.org under "Core Enhancements" > "Embed & Include".

Please be aware that - even if the plugin works this way - the fact that a module is not an article causes problems if you are going to use multiple instances of the plugin on one page because the plugin will not be able to write unique identifyers for JavaScript and CSS. If you need multiple instances on one page, I would indeed use a gallery, explititely developed as a module.


If you have questions or suggestions, please use the comment-function. Please include the installed Joomla! version and if you have problems - if any possible - the affected page in your comment.

If you need additional features or customizations for your project that exceed the scope of support offered through the comments, you are invited to submit your requirements specification and the planned budget by email (menu item "Contact" in the menu at the top).

If you use this extensions, please post a rating and a review at extensions.joomla.org.

Last Updated on Sunday, 20 March 2011 13:30
 
Comments (31)
Multiple instances of the Gallery with Different Settings
1 Friday, 15 April 2011 04:44
Wretched

Is there a way to have a number of galleries in different articles that have different settings and gallery sizes.

For example

Article 1 = 500 wide gallery with images displayed below
Article 2 = 750 wide gallery with images displayed to the right in sets

Thanks for your time and keep up the amazing work your doing on this plugin, it is the best image gallery plugin that i have used in a long time.

@Wretched
Friday, 15 April 2011 21:46
A. Berger

Hi Wretched!

Yes, have a look at the page "Howto Plugin Code" (find the link in the menu at the left), it explains how to achieve this, using the feature "Parameter Overrides".

Best regards
Andreas

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