I have been in search of the perfect web photo gallery program for quite some time. I think what I want is pretty simple, but I haven’t found anything that is quite right. Here are the criteria:
- Open source, so I can install it on my server and hack the code to make it do what I want
- Free – okay, I’m cheap
- Supports photo printing services like Shutterfly – this is a killer, I’ve only found a couple that do this
- Constructs albums from the directory structure – no special upload program required
- Allows permission-based viewing on a per-album basis
- Does basic image manipulation – rotation, maybe even crop and exposure control
- Reads image metadata from the EXIF or IPTC
- Allows editing of captions, and user-defined fields of metadata, and writes them back to the original JPG – nobody does this at all, I’ll have to write it
Here’s the thesis: all of this software is going to become obsolete, especially any programs use to manage image metadata, like captions and photographer name. But, the various image programs will always be able to read JPG files and EXIF data. Therefore, I want an image management system where all the metatadata is contained in the JPG itself. Then I can copy JPGs around, sync between my laptop and desktop, and wherever I happen to be I can add captions, comments, ratings, etc and make sure they go with the image, and get displayed on the web.
Anyway, the first step is to get a decent image program up, so at least my family and friends can see the images, and print them. Then I’ll start worrying about the metadata problem again.