TL;DR: This page describes the features and capabilities of my image gallery software.

Image Gallery

Show me the images!

Okay. Click Here.

Notable features:

  • Unlimited number of images
  • UTF-8 support for image titles and commentary
  • Image remarks search
  • Collection (album) support via integrated #hashtag management
  • Hashtag support includes the ability to provide titles to collections
  • Dynamically creates collections on a per-day basis
  • Ability to step through collections image by image, and via [,.] keystrokes
  • Ability to step through photostream image by image
  • Ability to view random images
  • Permanent links so bookmarking an image always works even if the photostream is modified
  • Integration of my aa_macro language for complex text manipulation
  • Ability to include auxillary images in image commentary
  • Ability to crosslink to other images, automatically generating thumbnails
  • Automatic incorporation of hover definitions of abbreviations like RF
  • Supports iToolBox image notations; freehand, polygonal, rectangular, elliptical
  • Automatic hotlinking of selected images and phrases reduces linking workload considerably
  • Supports JPEG, PNG and GIF
  • Selected EXIF reporting
  • Flexible means of adding images at any point in the photostream
  • Automatic thumbnail generation
  • Animated thumbnail support
  • Algorithmic copyright assignation, overridable
  • Search result thumbnails have "hover" information that reveals image title and date
  • Full-size images available with a single click
  • Ability to link to other pages without Flickr's annoying "nofollow" modification of links
  • A solid remote backup strategy that I control
  • Various security mechanisms
  • Caching

Why did I do this?

For years, I put my pictures and images up on Flickr. Over those years, Flickr changed hands several times, and while the price kept increasing (and sharply, too!), the inconveniences such as more invasive advertising, considerably slower response times, pushy and even threatening dialogs trying to monetize users did as well. While all this was going on, Flickr did not noticably improve in terms of features that would have really made a difference to individual photostreams and to the multi-user image groups.

Then Flickr started stripping capabilities from the free accounts. I didn't have a free account so this didn't affect me directly, but it compromised significant numbers of users. One new limit was a maximum number of images in a free user's account; and Flickr accompanied that limit with a threat to delete any images over that number. Deletion would have compromised the image groups that had been curating images of various types, thereby throwing out user's work of years building those groups. Then they put a limit on free accounts for the number of private images. By this time, the cost of a "pro" account had increased from $25/year to $75/year. Flickr users left in droves.

Flickr had progressively gotten to feel like an unfriendly, less useful place.

So I started putting my images up on Instagram. Aurora photos, cats, the usual. It was quick and easy, and although it wasn't as comprehensive as Flickr and desktop support was frankly terrible, that worked for months. Then one day when I went to share an image, I got a blocking dialog that insisted I provide my phone number and other personal information before I could continue. Here comes Facebook, eh? No thanks. I deleted the Instagram app from my phone and the links from my desktop web browser. So much for Instagram.

So... I decided I'd take the loss of the social sharing (not that there was a lot of that remaining, particularly on Flickr) and write my own image gallery software. I already had a website which didn't have any particular storage limits that would affect such a thing. I hit the keyboard.

Fast foward to now, and it's working well; I'm pretty happy with it. It's quick enough, there are no ads or other annoyances, no one sets any rules but me, I have the features I want, and if I think of something new, I'll just add it instead of waiting (hopelessly) for Flickr or Instagram to decide if they might or might not get around to it while monetizing my images and data as much as possible.

Are there any plans to expand to other users?

Not at this time. I am writing the code so that expansion will be possible without major changes. It would just be a matter of adding another layer to spread the compute load and image storage over multiple servers, and I have planned for that.

The problem here — the same one Flickr has — is that now we're talking about a significant increase in cost, and something would have to be done to ameliorate it. I'm really not a fan of intrusive advertising (and nearly all advertising is rudely intrusive other than quiet little text ads off to the side.) Membership fees... I don't know enough about the actual costs to have any idea what that might mean. It was really eye-opening to see the new owners of Flickr ramp up the membership costs so steeply; I'd hate to think that was actually needed.