Imagefield Gallery Updates

I've been spending quite a bit of time rethinking the layout of the imagefield gallery administration system and what I'd like to do for Drupal 6.  That's still a ways out but I've already started on the new administration interface and wanted to share some of my thoughts on its design and where it's going.

The current system works through a series of form merges into one gigantic "super-form".  This form handles all the details of administration, be they style or configuration related (ok, there are actually two super forms).  This seems a little... well stupid to me.  At the time I didn't have a better answer for what this should be but after playing with the new version of imagecache, I think I'm going to stylize it somewhat similarly, but with a few extra features (hopefully).

This will require me to do some more menu work, and a fair bit of that will exist outside of $may_cache, but that's ultimately a good thing I think as it will be much more managable.  My biggest question at this point is whether or not to separate the variable in the variables table.  Just as the forms are monolithic so are the variables that contain their values, and even though the variables are cached, I'm wondering if perhaps this should be broken up into a dynamic variable set, or if perhaps I should be storing this in it's own database structure at this point.

Ultimately, I think the purpose has to be to increase usability and to increase the interaction of my fellow developers in what it is we're creating here, and with that, I will give some details of what my current abstract thoughts are for 6.x.

If my intention here is to build one gallery system to "rule them all"... and that is my intention, then I have neglected a very important area in which this module MUST play.  That area is the views arena.  Views is of course imperative for anyone using Drupal these days, and I think it goes without saying that a gallery system that neglects views ultimately can't be the gallery system everyone will use.  Merlinofchaos has given us some nifty ways of tieing into views 2 and so, with the move to Drupal 6 I will spend some great effort and time re-writing the module to take into account that work.  If all goes as I hope, then we will hopefully end up with a system of galleries that seemlessly integrate into views2, and into imagefield_gallery.  We may, however, have to rename the module at that point because we'll be doing a lot more than just building galleries on top of imagefield.  (It's worth pointing out that asset, and filefield and upload should probably all get some love from us too... but I leave that discussion for another day.

In closing, I'll be posting in this pseudo-blogging-updating format for the module from this point forward and hopefully folks will follow that from  Feel free to leave comments and shout-outs.  With that in mind I'd also like to give a big shout out to Mindy who found and documented a bug that I squashed in the most recent version of Imagefield_gallery (1.4).  Thanks Mindy, I appreciate it.  There are a number of other fixes and improvements coming down the pipe (permissions anyone?) and hopefully my administration changes as well.  You all have been really great and helpful and I've really enjoyed it so far.  This is what makes Open Source so great!