Thoughts on Photo Galleries

This is mostly relevant to my snapshot album, since that’s much more active and much larger.

Time to consider the next major upgrade to photo gallery capabilities. Some of the things I want are on my end, and some are on your end. And I’m at least slightly interested in your thoughts on the “your end” capabilities.

What I’m using now is custom code that I wrote. I like that it gets most of the caption information out of the IPTC fields in the files (or from sidecar files for compatibility/conversion from older galleries). I like that it lets the user have access to the EXIF and IPTC fields, and lets them know they are present. I like that it lets you step through the photos without going back to the thumbnail page, and that when you do go back to the thumbnail page it puts you at the picture you were viewing (rather than sending you to the top all the time). I like that the thumbnail page adapts to the screen width (in fact, I absolutely demand that in any new solution, I find it tremendously annoying to be forced to resize my window or scroll horizontally to view a page, and I’m encountering it more and more on the web). I like some of my recent additions to my interface, which let me update a photo or delete a photo easily from my photo organizer on my desktop.

But I want more. I want to be able to make virtual galleries easily by tagging photos. I want to be able to skim the cream of a photoset and put them at the top of the gallery, and then let people go down into the full set if they want to. I think I want to let people conduct their own searches (essentially create their own virtual galleries). I might want to experiment with letting people apply their own tags to my photos, or at least more easily automate the process of people identifying other people and turning that into tags (complicated by the fact that the key place for those tags to go is back on my desktop, not on the web server). I’d like the picture-to-picture transition process to go faster (which requires Java code to run in the browsers, or Javascript, performing pre-loading of the next photo). I may want “tag mapping”, to give me the option of remapping the tag I identify people with in my master copy of the photo to something less clearly identifiable for web display (I may need this to keep some people happen, though it hasn’t become a problem yet).

I’m considering developing radically new code of my own (presumably database-driven), or using some kind of free software or cheap commercial gallery package or WordPress plugin, or possibly using a commercial service. All of these are big pains at various levels, which means the reality is that “do nothing much” is a fairly likely outcome, especially in the short run.

The stats, comments, and some discussions suggest that some people do actually look at my snapshots. If any of you have thoughts about what you like, don’t like, and would like to see, I’d be interested in knowing; post a comment on (you have to register; it keeps my spam patrolling time down), or email me, or bring it up when you see me, or something. (Commenting on the feed on LiveJournal probably won’t reach me, though, at least not at all promptly.)

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