image gallery

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.

Menalto Gallery Software

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I have an instance of Gallery running for a personal family photo website I created a few years back. I originally chose Coppermine, but members of my family thought it was too difficult to learn and extremely constrictive. I set out to find a new gallery that was both easy to use and feature rich. I settled with Gallery largely based on it’s aesthetic value and how small the learning curve was before I could be fully functional.

I honestly didn’t need too much. I wanted a gallery that looked pretty clean and was easy to navigate. I also wanted to control whether or not family members could post to whatever albums I chose. Most importantly, I wanted to be able to grow with the application. I only have a few thousand pictures currently on the site, but that will grow every year as I add more and more. I’m even going backwards by scanning some old timey family pictures, so this database is going to become huge. I wanted to make sure this application could handle large amounts of data and based on my random scanning of forum posts, it appears that people can run fairly robust image galleries with Gallery.

I installed the Gallery software using the instructions I found on the website, but it wasn’t very intuitive for technical hacks like me.  I find that doing anything from the command line is pretty frustrating, so this was a giant pain in the ass. Even after it was installed, there were additional files and libraries that needed to be installed (confusing) to properly display pictures, so I needed to be really patient with this setup. Unfortunately, I built this on an old desktop sitting under my desk, so I could not take advantage of the super quick Fantastico installation that would have taken me seconds instead of hours.

Once I was all set up, this gallery software was really worth it. I love it when a script looks organized and attractive right out of the box. I did very little customizing since this was only a family site. The first thing I did was upload a new logo that I created with Microsoft Paint. In the admin section I set the number of albums I wanted to display, what kind of borders I wanted on my pictures, and within a few minutes after finishing the install I had a place to upload and view family photos whenever I wanted.

You might not be as low maintenance as me when it comes to the look of your gallery, but you can always take a look at the different themes people use to spruce up their sites. I installed Gallery 2.0, so that previous link is to themes for the 2.0 version. As of this writing, Gallery 3.0 Beta is now available and there is already a new section for Gallery 3.0 themes as well.