1 Aug 2014

Wagtail 0.5: image is everything (but there's more)

July saw the release of Wagtail 0.5, which marks the introduction of some really exciting, and frankly cool, new features which reflect our vision for Wagtail to be as thoughtfully designed and powerful as we can make it.

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Torchbox development

Here's a rundown of the most significant new features.

Multiple image uploader

You asked and we delivered (with thanks to Wagtail contributor sixpearls): when you’re adding images you can now upload multiple images in one go, with a slick user experience and solid workflow.  Drag your images into the browser or choose them from your local filesystem; Wagtail displays individual file upload progress for you and when the upload is complete you can then easily add the key metadata for each image from a single screen.

Image feature detection

Lots of CMSs will resize and scale images automatically but anyone with a design eye will know that this functionality doesn’t always work that well, especially if the subject of the photo is off centre. More often than not you end up with a photo in your carefully crafted web page which is strangely cropped and just doesn’t look right, forcing you to spend the time manually cropping it and reuploading it until things look right.  With the help of some sponsorship from the University of South Wales (who use Wagtail for their main website), we’ve developed a smart new feature for Wagtail to solve this problem.  We used the OpenCV library to build feature detection into the image upload process: when you upload an image Wagtail detects features and faces (single or multiple) and stores their coordinates.  It then uses this information to intelligently crop images when they’re output, respecting the composition of photos and making sure that their subjects are visible and nicely framed.  And best of all this process is completely automatic - and, you can retrospectively run feature detection on existing images in your library too.

External image URLs

You’ve got hundreds of images in Wagtail, you love the new image feature detection - now you want to be able to pull in images from your library at different sizes to use in other web applications or you want to include preview images in your social media sharing links.  No problem!  Wagtail now allows you to generate a URL to an image which you can configure to specify size and cropping.

Copying Pages

This feature does exactly what it says on the tin: you can now copy a page (and optionally, any subpages) from the Explorer interface.

Routable Pages

A developer friendly feature which allows the same page to respond differently based on URL patterns.  So you can create a single page to handle a Current Events listing, a Past Events listing, and an Events by Year listing and configure different URL patterns (for example /events/current/, /events/past/ and events/2014/) to trigger the generation of the appropriate view.

There are a number of other changes under the bonnet, which include performance enhancements, visible stats which let you see where documents, images and snippets are being used across your site, and more.  As always, visit the Release Notes for full documentation on all the features described here, and details on the upgrade process.