3 months later: X3 photo gallery as a koken alternative
So, it's been a little over 3 months since I was forced to abandon the absolute best photo gallery: Koken. Because of stupid lazy developers not supporting their product.
Finding a replacement sucked. I ended up trying X3 photo gallery, which, despite huge differences with koken, seemed a suitable alternative.
X3 is not using any database, it's super fast, and super pretty. And really not suited to my needs. And likely most other advanced koken users.
It required some adjustments, buying a Lightroom plugin to manage X3 from Lightroom, rethinking the way my photos were organized, and giving up the keyword, tags, and all the database driven advanced functions I had in Koken.
The search feature:
The X3 dev is nice and quite fast to answer any question, but it seemed something like a search feature wasn't going to happen any time soon.
So I did it myself.
Took me 3 days to have a fully functional search function. It's required some coding, it's a bit cumbersome to implement, but it works.
Displaying keywords, list images with a specific keyword:
A pretty useful feature on a photo gallery: when the visitor is looking at a photo and is interested in other photos with the same keyword, he can just click on that keyword and get a list of all the other images.
X3 is not supposed to be capable of that.
I did it too. It is basically the search function adapted for that usage.
Total lack of indexing individual photos in google search image:
OK, that is a BIG one. I waited 3 months before drawing any conclusion. I knew a new website would fuck up my google rankings, but I didn't expect it to be that bad.
After 3 months, I lost 100% of my incoming traffic from google image search. Which is the most relevant and important to me. That is how I used to get visitors buying licences for the specific images they were looking for.
It's not an exaggeration: 100%.
There is an explanation: none of the individual image pages are indexed, or crawled by the search engines' robots.
But the dev IS responsive, and already working on a fix, in the form of a full sitemap with individual photos pages that will allow the crawlers to do their job.
Very POOR rss
Here again, none of the individual images gets in the RSS feed.
X3 generates an atom RSS by the way, that is not recognized by pinterest and other websites. I was using many koken RSS feeds to automatically submit new images in different websites (like pinterest): those backlink seemed to help with the search engines rankings, and gave me a few visitors.
That was NOT possible in X3 until I just did it myself: created an automatic feed generation with the new images published on my website.
I like X3... despite its flaws. Well these are flaws to me: X3 is actually working exactly as advertised, there are no bugs, and for most people looking for a simple, fast and pretty photo gallery, it is just perfect.
For an advanced Koken user, there is simply not any real alternative (don't even talk to me about TTG: I hate it). And I'm not even talking of a free alternative: none of them is good enough.
Right now, X3 is still super pretty, fast, I can update, add, modify photos from lightroom, I have a working search function, keywords are displayed and useful to find the photos the visitor is looking for, I can auto submit photos to different websites with RSS, and I really expect the full sitemap by X3 dev to fix my ranking in google image search. **Therefore I'm quite happy. **
I set up a live test site for my X3 mods on a domain I have no use for. Not all the mods made it (yet) on my photography website.