5 ways to effectively manage images in Drupal

January 22nd, 2013

Most CMS solutions force you to manage images in one strict manner. This can be difficult given the varying nature of our client's needs. 

Drupal's extensive plug-in architecture allows us to configure comprehensive image handling tools to accommodate a wide variety of treatments and display needs. 

The following are a few ways we have handled various image requirements for clients:

1. Images as pieces of content: creating images as a piece of content within Drupal allowing the CMS (Drupal) to gather them and put them in their respective location automatically. This is particularly effective for homepage carousel features such as shown on our client Workplace Safety North.

2. Attach images to a page: attach images to any page within the site and automatically create a nice gallery treatment. You can create from a number of presentation styles from thumbnails to slideshow -  any display treatment you desire. For example, with our client the Royal Society of Canada we created a content type where the client can upload any number of images and create specific galleries that can be presented on any basic page type with a unique caption per image (see this sample image gallery on the Royal Society of Canada website). We also built in a clever sliding feature that shows additional photos in the gallery.

3. Upload images inline: if you prefer individual photos vs a gallery of photos you can upload images inline into the content and the CMS takes care of cropping and sizing. Images are uploaded via the WYSIWYG editor. A good example of this image treatment is on our client website Cree Health.

4 Gallery content type:  through the CMS you attach multiple images to a single piece of content and the site then aggregates those images into galleries onto a page. Treatment is flexible and completely customizable - organized by year, listed on a page, thumbnails, slide show, fades and so on. You can then relate those image to other pieces of content such as an event meaning you can relate that gallery to that piece of content. The benefit of this is that your content is not "siloed" and all content can be related to other pieces of content in a logical and intuitive manner.

A good example of this is our client The Ottawa Hospital Foundation. They have a Master Image Gallery page which houses all images galleries. Specific galleries can then be featured on specific pages (like the President's Breakfast event pages) so the content and the images are related.  

Summary

Effective image handling is a sore spot for many CMS solutions; many don't offer enough options to allow clients to treat their images as they like, or to relate imagery to other pieces of content. Which brings us to the 5th way to effectively manage images in Drupal:

5. Choose the right vendor: successful approaches above rely on your Drupal integrator understanding your content well enough to know which approach to take. It also illustrates and reflects Drupal's unique ability to separate content from design and templates; so much so that the end user does not need to understand the concept of templates. A well architected Drupal site is built to understand your content and not just templates. If in doubt, give us a call 613.564.3344 info@fenix-solutions.com