Problems using Backlight 4.1 as replacement for CE4 Gallery 6.1.10

I recently purchased and installed Backlight 4.1 on my Mac running OS X 10.15.7. That process took me several days of trying unsuccessfully to add the PHP ZipArchive to PHP installed by Apple on my Mac which does not include that module. In the end I did a clean install of Homebrew 3.5.4, Apache (httpd 2.4.54) and PHP 7.4.30 that included everything needed to run Backlight.

I have installed Backlight onto its own virtual web server ( that I am using as a testing and possibly development space for generating photo galleries that I will then copy to a different web server that serves my web site and blogs ( and, development and production sites respectively). I may later modify this arrangement by installing backlight directly into a subdirectory on the blog’s development server,

My goal is to put together photo gallery template(s) that mimic as closely as possible my simple use case (e.g. no clients, no carts, one template) I was happy with while using CE4 Gallery 6.1.10. Unfortunately, CE4 Gallery no longer runs in Lightroom 5.7 since I upgraded my operating system from 10.14.x to 10.15. Lightroom’s Web module crashes unpredictably and appears now to be hopelessly broken. I am using the Lightroom Publish plug-in with Backlight 4.1, and that seems to run fine in Lightroom 5.7.

I’ve got something close to what I want, but I still have a few wrinkles that I haven’t figured out how to iron out, and I’m hoping I can get some expert advice on how to proceed.

  1. Since my blog refers to many distinct photo albums I would like to include a relative URL in each of the Backlight-generated albums that returns the user to my blog at the appropriate anchor point. These URLs will be different for each album. I am currently doing this in the Page Template → Masthead as it is the only place I found that I can create a link at the top of the album’s thumbnail page and associate it with a URL. But, this means I need a template for each album, which sort of defeats the purpose of a template. Is there an album-specific way I can accomplish this?

  2. I figured out how to print both the {Title} and {Caption} at the bottom of each photo’s photo page through the single Caption Field (Album Template → Photo Presentation → Caption), but I’d like the {Title} to appear on a line above the {Caption} and in slightly larger typeface rather than both in the same field. Is there way to do that?

  3. On the each photo’s page in Slideshow mode I prefer the CE4 Gallery action of using the scroll wheel to zoom in and out rather than to advance to the next or regress to the prior through the slideshow. Is there a way change the mouse’s scroll wheel behavior?

  4. I like that the title appears as a pop-up when hovering over a thumbnail on the thumbnail page, but how is this set? What if wanted different metadata to appear when hovering the cursor over a thumbnail?

  5. Is there a way to show the photo sequence number over the thumbnail in Backlight as in CE4 Gallery?

  6. I found a stray HTML tag displaying in the metadata sidebar under Camera and Lens. Perhaps it was intended that the tag would be interpreted, but on my system it was displayed as an HTML tag. I removed the tag from the template, and it no longer appears in the metadata sidebar.

I have created two albums using the same photos, one using CE4 Gallery through Lightroom’s Web module, and one with Backlight through Lightroom’s Publish plug-in.

CE4 Gallery: Low Tide Beach Walk, December 22, 2019
Backlight: Low Tide Beach Walk: Decmeber 22, 2019

Thanks for any help.

Use the {CellNumber} token for image number in the album template under Thumbnail Grid > Metadata Display.

Republish the images after making any metadata changes like this.

This is not possible

Try setting the token in the IMG “alt” Attribute metadata field in the Thumbnail Grid of the album template.

Republish the images after making any metadata changes like this.

Not in the Backlight controls. That may be a function of the Fancybox slideshow.

You could try adding script to the album template’s copy area:

  document.write('<a href="' + document.referrer + '">Go Back</a>');

Or you could instead use phplugins to add the back link script to the top of every album. Try the album_top hook.

If you‘re using the Backlight WordPress Theme add-on to create your theme, you could embed the gallery directly in the post using the “Backlight” shortcode.

I do not believe Fancybox supports binding the mouse wheel to zoom functionality.

Actually, this is controlled by the Title metadata field. If you’ve set a Title, it will be used; if Title is empty, we use the file name instead.

In addition to Rod’s suggestions, you can add links in the album’s content area using HTML or Markdown. I think this would be simplest.

Hi Matthew and Rod:

Thank you for your suggestions.

Placing the HTML markdown under Page Content → Main Copy in the LR Publisher seems to work like a charm as that content is album-specific.

Using the scroll wheel was nice in CE4 Gallery because the user could zoom/unzoom the photo over a continuum rather than choosing one of two fixed magnifications with a mouse click. This worked especially nicely for zooming in on very large panoramas to see the detail.

More questions:

  1. The album slug character set is rather limited. I have used the naming convention of my existing photo albums and HTML id’s, “”, but this gets converted to “word1Word2Word3-yyyy-mm-dd” by LR Publisher or Backlight. Is there some reason the period “.” is disallowed in the syntax?

  2. I’m using a dark theme for the album and album set pages based on “Minimal Dark Start”. I notice that the top-level page does not use this scheme. Is there any way to make the top-level page similarly dark?

For the top-level page (and all other pages), select the same page template that you use for your albums and album-sets. You find this in the Design Page section when editing a page.

Yes, there is a reason. On the web, files and folders should contain only letters, numbers, dashes, and underscores.
Special characters and periods can mess up the functioning of the site.

In Backlight Publisher, in album Base Settings you’ll see this warning in the Slug section:

Can only include letters, numbers, dashes and underscores. Leave blank to generate slug from album name.

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Hi Daniel:

Thank you for the directions to the Page template. That did the trick.

Now the only link that opens a page not in the “dark” style is the search page that comes up after clicking on the magnifying glass–the “Search” link is OK–although they both appear to have the same functionality. Any way I can alter style of that page?

Under the Album Template–>Photo Presentation, I have set Captions–>Tokens to “{Title}
{Caption}”. I’m trying to include both Title and Caption in this field, separated by a line break. But, when I do this there is no line break, only the two spaces. Is there a way to insert a line break here?


In Backlight Settings under Publisher > Search Template assign your album template to the Search page.

The metadata fields cannot use html

Hi Rod,
Thanks for your help.

I found the Publisher menu in Backlight settings, but there are no sub-menus. Clicking the word, “Publisher” produces one top-level set, “Galleries”. Clicking “Edit” for Galleries shows under Base Settings that that set is already assigned my dark-themed Album Set template. I could find no Search Template.

Yes, I tried inserting a (line break) <br> and found it had no effect. Is there no way to put a line break into a metadata field?

Metadata fields do not support formatting.

It is located in Backlight > Admin > Settings, then in the Publisher section.

Hi Daniel,

Thanks, I found it. I had set to my dark theme earlier, yet the background still shows up white.

Make sure you’re using an album template that uses the dark theme page template.