A fresh look at the Media Gallery module for Drupal 7

Yesterday, we made a shiny new beta release of the Media Gallery module on drupal.org.

The Media Gallery module allows you to add flexible, extensible image and video galleries to your Drupal 7 sites and populate them with just a few clicks. If you haven't tried the Media Gallery module yet, or if you have tried it but ran into issues getting it working on your site, now's a great time to download the new 7.x-1.0-beta4 version, which resolves many of the bugs that were reported in previous releases.

The Media Gallery module was originally written last summer for Drupal Gardens and released on drupal.org then. But a lot has changed since the initial release. For example, back when it was originally written, Drupal 7 core itself was still in alpha! Furthermore, Media Gallery is built on top of a formidable technology stack; to run it in its full intended glory (with all features enabled), you need the Media Gallery module itself, five or six other Drupal modules, two external JavaScript libraries (ColorBox to show your gallery items in a lightbox, and Plupload to allow you to bulk-upload images from your computer), at least one partridge, and preferably a pear tree.

With all the other code changing around it, Media Gallery got to the point where people couldn't successfully run it with newer releases of the other modules and libraries, and in some cases couldn't figure out which versions to even start trying to run it with. Furthermore, we had some patches to the module lingering around Drupal Gardens that had not made it into the official version on drupal.org. All in all, this led to a frustrating experience for many people in the Media Gallery issue queue who were trying to get the module working and contribute to its development.

Over the last week, Acquia dedicated a fair amount of time so that a few of us could work on resolving this situation. We synced up the code, resolved a bunch of bugs in both Media Gallery itself and the other modules in the technology stack (in particular, the Plupload integration module), and perhaps most important, carefully documented the dependences and versions of other modules that Media Gallery is expected to work with in the README file. Installing the Media Gallery module should now be easy if you follow those instructions.

The Media Gallery module is still in beta, and there will be bugs; it's officially not recommended for use on production sites yet, unless you really know what you're doing. But hopefully this new release will be a baseline that everyone can get working, so it's easier to test out and contribute to the project. (And if you're interested in helping out but don't know where to start, please drop us a note in the issue queue or elsewhere... and thank you!)

If you want to read more about the Media Gallery and all its cool features, I recommend the Drupal Gardens blog posts by Chris Brookins describing the media gallery itself and the ability to upload videos mixed with images.