Awesome Mobile Image Gallery Web App

With more and more users browsing the web with a mobile device, it’s time to begin with mobile web development. In this tutorial we are going to develop a simple mobile image gallery using the amazing jQTouch jQuery plugin for mobile web development. jQTouch is a jQuery plugin with native animations, automatic navigation, and themes […]

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With more and more users browsing the web with a mobile device, it’s time to begin with mobile web development. In this tutorial we are going to develop a simple mobile image gallery using the amazing jQTouch jQuery plugin for mobile web development. jQTouch is a jQuery plugin with native animations, automatic navigation, and themes for mobile WebKit browsers like iPhone, iPod Touch, G1, and Pre.


Our little application is going to show some albums in a list view which will reveal a wall of thumbnails once it’s clicked. When a thumbnail is clicked, we get to the full image view where we can navigate through all the photos by either clicking on the navigation buttons or swiping over the image.

This app is best viewed on a mobile device like the iPhone or the iPod Touch, or in a Webkit Browser like Google Chrome or Safari. If you are using the iPhone or the iPod Touch (or the iPad), add this app to your home screen to enjoy the full view and features.

Just like in our previous tutorial, the Fresh Sliding Thumbnails Gallery with jQuery and PHP we will be using PHP to automatically generate albums with PHP from the folder structure.

The great thing about jQTouch is that you don’t really have to worry about much, be it the style or the JavaScript. It has pretty much all the amazing effects that we know from the iPhone as default functionality and it takes care of the right head properties. This makes it really easy to create a mobile device friendly website.

We also have a static version without albums. You can find the demo and the ZIP file at the end of this post.

So, let’s start!

The Markup and JavaScript

The HTML is pretty simple: for each screen we will have a container that becomes visible when we are on that page.
The first screen that we will have in the HTML is the “About” section that get’s visible when clicking (or tapping) on the about button on the top right:

<div id="about" class="selectable">
	<p><img src="codropsIcon.png"/></p>
	<p>
		<strong>Wonderwall Image Gallery</strong>
		<a href="http://www.codrops.com">By Codrops</a>
	</p>
	<p>A web app created with <br /> <strong>jQTouch</strong></p>
	<p><br /><br /><a href="#" class="grayButton goback">Close</a></p>
</div>

The second container that we will have in our HTML structure, will be the part where we dynamically add a list of album links. We get that list automatically from our special folder structure.

The folder structure contains an image folder and a thumbs folder. Each one of those contains folders of albums. They have to be named the same, just like the images inside.

In the thumbnails album folders we will have an XML file called “desc.xml” which can be used to write a description for each image. In this file, we will write the name of the picture and it’s title. The description of each image is not obligatory which means that we can leave out images that don’t have any title or description.

The structure of that XML file will look as follows:

<descriptions>
    <image>
        <name>1.jpg</name>
        <text>Inna 02 © studio.es by Vincent Boiteau</text>
    </image>
    <image>
        <name>2.jpg</name>
        <text>Inna 01 © studio.es by Vincent Boiteau</text>
    </image>
	...
</decriptions>

With the thumbs.php file which we keep in a sub folder called “ajax” we will automatically get those descriptions. For a more detailed explanation of the workings, check out our previous tutorial.

The second container’s HTML structure is going to look like this:

<!-- The list of albums -->
<div id="albums_container" class="current">
	<div class="toolbar">
		<h1>Albums</h1>
		<a class="button slideup" id="infoButton" href="#about">About</a>
	</div>
	<div class="loader" style="display:none;"></div>
	<ul id="albums" class="edgetoedge" style="display:none;">
	</ul>
</div>

The unordered list with the id “albums” will be populated with list items containing the links to the albums.
The toolbar will be at the top of the screen and present in every container. It will have a button to get to the about section and a back link that brings us back to the previous screen.
The first step in the JavaScript is to call the function loadAlbums() which gets the names of the albums with an AJAX request to the PHP side (albums.php):

/* name of the selected album */
    var album 				= '';
    /* index of li where there is the selected image */
    var current				= -1;

    /* 1 step : Load the Albums */
    loadAlbums();

    function loadAlbums(){
        var $loader = $('#albums_container').find('.loader');
        $loader.show();
        var url 		= 'ajax/albums.php';
        /*
        gets the names of the albums with an AJAX request to the PHP side
        */
        $.get(url, function(data) {
            $loader.hide();
            $('#albums').html(data).show();
        },'html');
    }

    /*
    clicking on an album:
    we keep track of which album is currently selected by
    getting the id (album name) of the clicked row
    */
    $('#albums_container').delegate('li','click tap',function(e){
        var $this 	= $(this);
        album 		= $this.attr('id');
    });

The PHP file albums.php looks as follows:

<?php
if(file_exists('../images')){
	$files = array_slice(scandir('../images'), 2);
	if(count($files)){
		natcasesort($files);
		foreach($files as $file){
			if($file != '.' && $file != '..'){
				echo '<li id="'.$file.'" class="arrow"><a href="#thumbs_container">'.$file.'</a></li>';
			}
		}
	}
}
?>

We are scanning the directory called “images” in order to get all the sub folders which are our albums. Note that the each list element link will have a href for the thumbs container. The JavaScript variable “album” will keep track of the current album when we click on one of the list items.


The third container is the section for the thumbnails. Here we will populate an unordered list #thumbs with the small thumbnail images as link elements.

As you can see in the image, the thumbnails will occupy all the screen. We use a centering function that determines how many thumbnails fit into one row given a certain window width. The left margin is calculated according to the left over space.

We also resize the thumbnails if they are bigger than our predefined width and height of 75px. So, if you use thumbnails that are not quadratic and of different sizes, they will be made to fit into the list element.

The thumbnails view has the following structure:

<!-- The list of images (thumbs) -->
<div id="thumbs_container">
	<div class="toolbar">
		<h1>Thumbs</h1>
		<a class="back" href="#albums_container">Albums</a>
		<a class="button slideup" id="infoButton" href="#about">About</a>
	</div>
	<div class="loader" style="display:none;"></div>
	<ul id="thumbs" class="thumbView" style="display:none;">
	</ul>
</div>

In the JavaScript we need to load the thumbnails by making another AJAX request to the PHP side (thumbs.php) which lists us all the images inside of the current album. We also need to keep track of the currently clicked image which we save in the JavaScript variable “current”:

/*
load thumbs when the panel thumbs_container slides in;
hides the thumbs_container when it slides out
*/
$('#thumbs_container').bind('pageAnimationEnd', function(e, info){
	if (info.direction == 'in'){
		loadThumbs();
	}else{
		$('#thumbs').hide();
	}
});

/*
gets the photos information with an AJAX request to the PHP side
then creates and loads each one of the images,
and appends it to the DOM
after that, we need to center the grid of the images
based on how many fit per row
*/
function loadThumbs(){
	var $thumbscontainer = $('#thumbs_container');
	var $loader = $thumbscontainer.find('.loader');
	$loader.show();

	var url = 'ajax/thumbs.php?album='+album;
	$.get(url, function(data) {
		var countImages = data.length;
		var $ul = $('#thumbs').empty();
		var counter = 0;
		for(var i = 0; i < countImages; ++i){
			try{
				var description = data[i].desc[0];
			}catch(e){
				description = '';
			}
			if(description == undefined)
				description = '';
			$('<img alt="'+data[i].alt+'" title="'+description+'"/>').load(function(){
				++counter;
				var $this = $(this);
				/*
				we need to make sure the grid thumbs are no bigger than 75 px
				*/
				resizeGridImage($this);
				var $li = $('<li/>',{
					className	: 'pic'
				});
				var $a = $('<a/>',{
					href	:	'#photo_container'
				});
				$ul.append($li.append($a.append($this)));
				if(counter == countImages){
					$loader.hide();
					$thumbscontainer.append($ul.show());
					autoCenterPhotos();
				}
			}).attr('src',data[i].src);
		}
	},'json');
}

/*
when clicking on an image we keep track of the index
of the image, which is in the alt attribute of the thumb
*/
$('#thumbs_container').delegate('li','click tap',function(){
	current	= $(this).index();
});

The thumbs.php looks as follows:

<?php
	$album 		= $_GET['album'];
	$imagesArr	= array();
	$i			= 0;
	/* read the descriptions xml file */
	if(file_exists('../thumbs/'.$album.'/desc.xml')){
		$xml = simplexml_load_file('../thumbs/'.$album.'/desc.xml');
	}
	if(file_exists('../thumbs/'.$album)){
		$files = array_slice(scandir('../thumbs/'.$album), 2);
		if(count($files)){
			foreach($files as $file){
				if($file != '.' && $file != '..' &&  $file!='desc.xml'){
					if($xml){
						$desc = $xml->xpath('image[name="'.$file.'"]/text');
						$description = $desc[0];
						if($description=='')
							$description = '';
					}
					$imagesArr[] = array('src' 	=> 'thumbs/'.$album.'/'.$file,
										 'alt'	=> 'images/'.$album.'/'.$file,
										 'desc'	=> $description);
				}
			}
		}
	}
	$json 		= $imagesArr;
	$encoded 	= json_encode($json);
	echo $encoded;
	unset($encoded);
?>


Our last container will be for the full image preview. Here we will use another resize function in order to adapt the width and height of the image to fit into the viewport.

We will also add two navigation buttons that will point to the next and previous images in full preview.

To browse through the images we can either use these navigation buttons or swipe over the image (if our mobile device supports that, i.e. iPhone or iPod Touch).

Between the navigation buttons, we will add the description of the current image.

The resize function that we will be using checks if the image is bigger than the window and if it is, the image gets resized accordingly.

The HTML structure for the last container looks as follows:

<!-- The single image container -->
<div id="photo_container">
	<div class="toolbar">
		<h1>Photo</h1>
		<a class="back" href="#thumbs_container">Photos</a>
		<a class="button slideup" id="infoButton" href="#about">About</a>
	</div>
	<div class="loader" style="display:none;"></div>
	<div id="theimage" class="singleimage"></div>
	<div class="descriptionWrapper">
		<p id="description"></p>
		<div id="prev" style="display:none;"></div>
		<div id="next" style="display:none;"></div>
	</div>
</div>

And the JavaScript looks as follows:

/*
    load the large image when the panel photo_container slides in;
    empty the contents of the image element when it slides out
    */
    $('#photo_container').bind('pageAnimationEnd', function(e, info){
        if (info.direction == 'in'){
            var $thumb 		= $('#thumbs_container li:nth-child('+parseInt(current+1)+')').find('img');
            if(!$thumb.length) return;
            loadPhoto($thumb);
        }
        else{
            $('#theimage').empty();
            $('#description').empty();
            $('#prev,#next').hide();
        }
    });

    /* loads a large photo */
    function loadPhoto($thumb){
        var $loader 	= $('#photo_container').find('.loader');
        $loader.show();
        var $theimage 	= $('#theimage');
        $('<img/>').load(function(){
            var $this 	= $(this);
            resize($this);
            $loader.hide();
            var $a=$('<a/>');/*for swipe*/
            $theimage.empty().append($a.append($this));
            $('#description').empty().html($thumb.attr('title'));
            $('#prev,#next').show();
        }).attr('src',$thumb.attr('alt'));
    }

    /* swipe image - navigate right/left */
    $('#theimage').swipe(function(evt, data) {
        if(data.direction=='left')
            navigateNext();
        else
            navigatePrevious();
    });

    /*
    Events for navigating through the images
    The current gives us our current photo,
    so we need to get the next / previous one
    from the thumbs container - these have
    the source for the large photo in the
    alt attribute
    */
    $('#next').bind('click tap',function(){
        navigateNext();
    });
    $('#prev').bind('click tap',function(){
        navigatePrevious();
    });

    /* goes to next image */
    function navigateNext(){
        ++current;
        var $thumb = $('#thumbs_container li:nth-child('+parseInt(current+1)+')').find('img');
        if(!$thumb.length) {
            --current;
            return;
        }
        loadPhoto($thumb);
    }

    /* goes to previous image */
    function navigatePrevious(){
        --current;
        var $thumb = $('#thumbs_container li:nth-child('+parseInt(current+1)+')').find('img');
        if(!$thumb.length) {
            ++current;
            return;
        }
        loadPhoto($thumb);
    }

Initializing jQTouch

After adding the scripts of jQuery and jQTouch we also have to initialize the jQTouch plugin:

var jQT = new $.jQTouch({
    icon		: 'codropsIcon.png',
    cacheGetRequests: true,
    addGlossToIcon	: false,
    startupScreen	: 'codropsSplash.png',
    statusBar	: 'black',
    preloadImages: [
        'themes/img/back_button.png',
        'themes/img/back_button_clicked.png',
        'themes/img/button_clicked.png',
        'themes/img/grayButton.png',
        'themes/img/whiteButton.png',
        'themes/img/loading.gif'
    ]
});

Beside others, we define the icon for the app and the start up screen image. We can also list what images shall be preloaded. There are several parameters that you can configure. You can find all about the initialization options here.

If we use a device where we can rotate the screen, our image preview will look like this:

And now, let’s take a look at the style.

The CSS

The style for this gallery is mainly based on the provided theme in the jQTouch plugin. We did some minor changes to the colors in the default style and added the following style for the gallery:

ul.thumbView{
    list-style:none;
    margin:0px;
    border:none;
}
ul.thumbView li {
    float:left;
    position:relative;
    width:80px;
    height:80px;
    border:none;
    margin:0px;
    padding:0px;
    background:transparent;
    line-height:80px;
    overflow:visible;
}
ul.thumbView li a {
    height:80px;
    margin:0;
    padding:0;
    width:80px;
    text-align:center;
    vertical-align:middle;
    display:table-cell;
    overflow:visible;
}
ul.thumbView li a img{
    border:none;
    vertical-align:middle;
    -webkit-box-shadow:2px 2px 8px #000;
}
div.singleimage{
    text-align:center;
    width:100%;
}
div.singleimage img{
    margin-top:10px;
    -webkit-box-shadow:2px 2px 8px #000;
}
.descriptionWrapper{
    height:40px;
    position:relative;
}
p#description{
    text-align:center;
    color:white;
    text-transform:uppercase;
    font-weight:bold;
    margin:10px 0px 0px 0px;
    padding:0px 45px;
}
div#prev,div#next{
    cursor:pointer;
    position:absolute;
    top:10px;
    width:40px;
    height:40px;
    background-color:black;
    background-repeat:no-repeat;
    background-position:center center;
}
div#prev{
    left:0px;
    background-image:url(img/prev.png);
    -webkit-border-top-right-radius:10px;
    -webkit-border-bottom-right-radius:10px;
}
div#next{
    right:0px;
    background-image:url(img/next.png);
    -webkit-border-top-left-radius:10px;
    -webkit-border-bottom-left-radius:10px;
}
div.loader{
    background:transparent url(img/ajax-loader.gif) no-repeat center center;
    position:absolute;
    top:90px;
    width:100%;
    left:0px;
    height:24px;
}

And that’s it! I hope you enjoyed starting with mobile web development!

We also have a static version of this mobile photo gallery without the album functionality. Check out the static demo or download the ZIP file.

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Mary Lou

ML is a freelance web designer and developer with a passion for interaction design. She studied Cognitive Science and Computational Logic and has a weakness for the smell of freshly ground peppercorns.

http://www.codrops.com

Stay up to date with the latest web design and development news and relevant updates from Codrops.

Feedback 118

Comments are closed.
  1. Great little gallery.

    Any ideas how i can use an xml file to provide thumbnail & image details instead of reading the directories?

    Also there seems to be an image loading problem, I need to go back and the forward again to make the images load – any ideas ?

  2. in relation to the post below

    orwell January 29th, 2011 at 09:13 Nice work! Thanks!
    How can i make the landscape version of image to be resizable? landscape version does not resize properly on iPhone.

    Did anyone find a solution to resizing the images when orientation is in landscape mode… ?? Thanks guys..

  3. Resizing images in landscape doesnt work well.
    It would be nice if images height resize to edge of viewport. I try to remove description div and to put 0 for window.height margin but it didnt work 🙁

  4. Hello, When I copy the source code wihtout any changes to my FTP it’s not working when I click in gallery link it’s highlighting but not load next thumbnails page.
    Please help me with this issue.

  5. I had everything working perfectly last week. When checking to demo to someone, the album page no longer links to the thumbnail “page.” To test, I redownloaded tutorial files and uploaded to two different servers, media temple and godaddy. Your files don’t work either. Is there any explanation?

  6. I found the problem. A new version of
    JavaScript Library v1.6 came out May 2, which is incompatible with Wonderwall. The gallery works if you go back to JavaScript Library v1.5.1. Thanks so much for this wonderful gallery.

  7. Hi

    I LOVE this application – and we are planning to use it very soon.
    However, we recently got hacked by foolishly using an insecure joomla component. I know you can never make a completely secure anything on the internet. I am not any kind of security expert or programmer really – so I hope you don’t mind me asking – has the gallery been written with security in mind? Or am I worrying too much…

    Thanks again – really appreciate this application!

    Edward

  8. Is anyone else having issues with large amounts of images in an album? When there are a lot of images, the gallery hangs while trying to create thumbnails.

  9. Hi there, excellent gallery. The only problem I have encountered is that the images do not load on iPhone (os4.3 using Safari) at first. The links are there, but not populated with images. If it is clicked, it takes you to the image which also doesn’t display, until the page is changed and navigated back to… I assume it then fetches the cached image. Is there something I am not noticing? Or a setting that needs to be changed?
    Cheers,
    Dave

  10. I figured it out; if you have a long-ish name for the gallery, it won’t load the images properly. I had named my gallery Comics and Superheroes, which was too long.

  11. Mary this is a great tutorial, but I have the same problem when the site is view in landscape, the images shrink to a pretty tiny size. Looks like some div has a fixed height? any help would be great, thanks

  12. I’ve set this up so it works with some of my images, however, most of the time it’s getting stuck at the loader when trying to pull up my thumbs. the album titles and image file names are the same in both the images and thumbs folders and the xml names match the correct image paths. is there anything that could be causing this? i’ve noticed that just adding a particular image to the thumbs folder can cause the whole thing to freeze up at the loader. any help would be greatly appreciated!

  13. I cannot get any of the links on the about page to work on an iPhone. They just keep refreshing the page. I would like to be able to use this for a portfolio but I need to get visitors back to my home page somehow. Any where and everywhere I add a link to my homepage it does not work…any suggestions?

  14. I am also having the issue of only the loading screen appearing. is there any solution on how to avoid this?

  15. When imgs are a small number, I’d like to have the dots in the lower part, like the carousel in iTunes. One example would be jqm.carousel (demo at http://andrebrov.net/dev/carousel/ ) but, among other things, I don’t like the numers (I’d like smaller dots).
    Can you help reproduce the effect with AMIGWA?

    Thank you!

  16. Sweet gallery.

    I’m also having the resize issues on iphone (iOS 4.x).

    Also, and more importantly to me), I made a sweet splash screen, but can’t seem to get it to come up., I didn’t change the filename or location, only modified the image file (and saved in the same format (.png)), still no dice. Any else get it to work?