Photo Battle Scripts

Update – 10/24/2012: For WordPress users still looking for a photo battle plugin, the ShowdownPlugin launched earlier this year. Check out my quick write up about it or see the plugin in action.

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I’ve been prodding my girlfriend for quite awhile to think of an idea for a website.  She suggested how it might be nice to have a hot or not type of website where she could display different images of the latest fashions and people could vote accordingly. When I heard that, I recommended a photo battle script because I figured it might be cool to have the clothing compete against each other to truly define what is hot fashion and what is not hot fashion. I’m not sure which idea she will choose in the end, but just the thought of this type of script prompted me to begin imagining what I could do with such a script.  This is all it took for me to begin my search and envision the next greatest photo battles website.

After firing up the Google machine and putting it to work, I realized that there are very few decent photo battle scripts out there. Nevermind decent ones, but there are very few in general so the selection is thin to say the least. Here’s some info on the few I did find.

1) The first one I found was on one of those turnkey sites. The demo looked pretty decent so I bookmarked it a few days ago. I came back today and although the site is up, the page with the photo battle script had been completely removed. I really wasn’t too crazy about this site anyways because of the whole “get rich quick” kind of website copy. Total turn off.

2) The next one I found wasn’t too bad looking either, but the website definitely looks like a one person hobby website. There’s nothing wrong with being a one person operation, but you really should keep up with the little things to give off the appearance that someone is home. When you’re copyright still says 2007 and it’s three years later, it gives off the impression that nobody is minding the site. The price was a major turn off too. How good could a script be that sells for $5.99? I can’t imagine anyone is actively working on new revisions or bug fixes when it’s selling for under six bucks.

3) The third one was actually a free download with no demo so I installed it and gave it a try. It seemed like you could only have one battle going on at once. Each time I uploaded new images, the old ones would end up on a historic results page. This one was a quick pass.

4) The fourth one I found I really liked. The demo was colorful and eye catching. There’s obvious places for ads too. This one is the front runner for me so far. When I keep going back to a site to play with the demo, I know it’s got my attention.

5) The fifth and last photo battle script I came across was also pretty decent. It was a clean looking script that appeared well balanced with lots of white space, and as you’ve probably read before on here, I love white space. It makes whatever content on the site pop.

I do have a few concerns with buying inexpensive scripts from sites that appear to be upstarts or single individual programmers. As I have experienced from the whole SoftBiz situation, I often wonder if the script is actively developed, or if it’s a stagnant bunch of code that was built to be sold and that’s it. I also wonder if the site will even be around in a year, so I certainly don’t want to concentrate on building a site around a piece of software that will be riddled with unaddressed security holes in a years time.

Sometimes the small shops are the only choices available and this seems to be one of those situations. For short money like #4 and #5 above, I think it’s worth taking a shot on the software. Now it’s just a matter of deciding on which one to choose. When I’m ready to pull the trigger and buy one, I’ll make my final decision by shooting them each a few questions I come up with about the script. The response and support from a company and/or person is usually a great indication of how it will be to deal with them in the future.

If we were going to have a battle between these two pieces of software, plusphp and rocky, which would you choose and why?

Would you be so kind as to Stumble this page?


CoppermineCoppermine is the open source image gallery that I first used when I launched my family website. I chose a nice light gray theme, customized it a bit with a new logo created in the very sophisticated MS Paint, added some carefully crafted help pages, uploaded a few hundred categorized pics, and then excitedly emailed it to members of my family. The reception about the idea of a family gallery was terrific, but the participation I was hoping for was lukewarm at best. I thought it was going to be a popular destination for family members to constantly post new pictures. Unfortunately, the site was barely visited and the new pictures continued to make the rounds via email. Bummer.

Everyone loved the look of the site and clicking through the recent photographs I’d posted, but there was a major flaw in the functionality of Coppermine. The area where I was posting my photos was in the main gallery area with all the categories I created. When others would sign up, they were given a separate gallery of their own to post to, so they could not add photos to my already created family event categories.

The way around this minor predicament was to make everyone an administrator. It’s not that I don’t trust everyone since it’s only my relatives who are the members, but this is not an ideal solution to the problem. As much as I loved having a family photo gallery that I had put in so many hours setting up myself, the lack of flexibility was the ultimate deal breaker which pushed me in the direction of the Gallery software.

Coppermine is certainly a nice piece of free software, but it just didn’t fit my needs for my website (or my family). That’s not to say it won’t be ideal for yours. Don’t let my opinion sour you on it until you check it out the demo and try it for yourself.

TiltViewer Free Photo Gallery

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TiltViewer is a neat little program that enables you to create small 3D flash image galleries with your own photos. This was one of those applications I found while searching for that ever so elusive novice photo gallery software. Instead I found myself spending a lot of time playing with this one and thinking up ways I can use it for my own galleries. It’s not like I’m going to scrap my entire family photo album project with thousands of photos that I began a couple years ago on the Gallery platform, so I don’t know why I let myself get distracted by these other ones. Sometimes the free software out there is just so much more exciting when I’ve just stumbled on to them that I find myself compelled to try them out for awhile.

TiltViewer had very little to upload so I had the sample gallery included up within seconds. Similar to the Simple Picture Gallery Manager, this little script has no real back end. You manually ftp the images and individually input the path into a file. I don’t see a problem with the manual approach for smaller galleries, and this is exactly what it’s designed for. The site even states that it’s best to keep your galleries under fifty images a piece otherwise older machines may experience slowness.

I uploaded some sample images of my own, changes a few simple options in a file, and what do you know…I had my own crazy 3D flash image gallery. I could zoom in and out on photos, then flip them and see the specific data I had inputted for each picture such as the date, location, and people in the photo. You can allow users to right click and save images, or you can disable this option. You can even have a setup with multiple galleries linked in the header if you wanted to use TiltViewer, but have more than fifty images to share.

I think this would be a fantastic idea for a one off special occasion gallery, or a collection of many linked individual galleries if you really want to put in the time of adding paths and data for each one. Normally I’d be quite put off by this sort of thing, but the gallery comes out looking so great that it’s hard not to love it. I’m actually going to experiment with it a bit more until I either break it, find a limitation (usually mine, not the scripts), or come across something equally pretty and/or distracting in my next search.

Simple Picture Gallery Manager

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Simple Picture Gallery Manager initially caught my eye when I saw the demo for the first time. I was looking for something simple and attractive and this script certainly fit the bill. I wanted to create a photo gallery for someone with absolutely zero technical skills, but I didn’t want to sacrifice on looks either. The images in the demo had a nice shadowing that looked stunning and the layout was both elementary and elegant. I decided this was the right script for the job and went ahead with the quick install.

I did my typical prep work of creating a new database for a fresh install but I soon learned that no database is used for the Simple Picture Gallery Manager.  Oops. Right after the install I began reading the setup documentation and was really bummed to find out that there is no administration area to simplify image uploading and no automatic thumbnail creation. The website says it’s lightweight and they’re certainly not kidding. This gallery software is not for the complete novice webmaster like I thought.

In order to create and fill galleries with photos, you need to create the folder, and upload the photos via ftp to the appropriate folder. Not only that, but you also have to create and upload the small thumbnails that are displayed as well. This is clearly the wrong choice for what I need so I’m starting my search over for a gallery script.

It is a shame to find such a nice looking compact script and not have a use for it. I’d love to have a gallery that looks like this, but I have thousands of photos and I don’t have the time or the patience to create thumbnails for each of these pictures. If you had a need for a small, good looking gallery that you didn’t need to update a heck of a lot, I think this picture gallery is ideal. However, I think most people are looking for a more feature rich gallery with upload buttons and auto resizing and all that fun stuff.

Plogger Photo Gallery Software

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Plogger is another photo gallery website that I tested out for my family photo gallery. I liked Plogger for its simplicity in look and configuration. Install and setup was very easy too. I was looking for a community type gallery where multiple users could join and create new galleries and upload new images and unfortunately Plogger is lacking in this area. Maybe things have changed in the past year or so, but I had already chosen Gallery as my choice to grow my family’s digital archive.

As with any cool new open source software I find, I instantly thought of a great use for it. I made my way over to GoDaddy and Sedo to input a couple of keywords in search of a domain name related to my next short lived venture. Within a few minutes I had a new domain name for my new Plogger site, and a few minutes later I had my site online and ready to go. The actually inputting of content was the part that involved a lot of work, albeit simple work, but I still moved on to something new within a week or two. If programmers would just stop building new open source software, I might actually have a shot at sticking with one of my ideas.

Okay, that’s a lie. I still pay for commercial scripts I like too, and that’s a complete waste of money when I move on to something else so quickly. I guess I should encourage programmers to keep writing free code because at least it keeps me from blowing even more dough on commercial scripts. I just can’t help it. I have a creators mentality and not a nurturers one. *pounding chest*

I know you’re dying to know what my Plogger idea was, right? Well, I’m going to tell you anyway. I thought it might be cool to use this software to create a website of viewable and printable menus. Some fast food joints and restaurants have menus online on their individual websites, and others don’t have any menu online. I thought it would be cool to create a massive collection of menu images organized by area.

So there you have it. I just gave away one of my next greatest ideas. Surely not an original, but for about a week I thought it was going to be the biggest and the best. After I scanned all the fast food menus in my junk drawer, I realized I was going to have to either solicit restaurants for menus through email or phone or actually hit the road and do it in person. I chose to do neither and write about it instead, then move on to the next great piece of open source software.