I’ve spent a couple of days studying various web gallery solutions.
My requirements are:
- Be suitable for a single person gallery. I’m not looking to build a photo portal, just my own galleries / albums.
- Handle EXIF photo data.
- Be easy to set up.
- Be attractive, with the ability to change themes, or select themes. And to customize my own theme.
- Be free, and open source.
I found the following candidates. I’m sure this is not an exhaustive list. But I trust google to find the most popular candidates in the first couple of pages of a search.
Gallery 2 – Very functional. Active development going on. Free, opensource. Popular, apparently. But, themes are way way too complicated. It’s impossible to figure out from looking at the code how to make a new theme or make changes to the ones they have. And you need to tweak them, because they don’t work. Of the themes that come with the distribution, several have problems with missing features. No comments, not exif data, etc. There is a theme customization methodology, but it’s not completely tied into the themes. So, it works, but it fails the test of customizability. And it’s performance stinks. It’s very easy to install tho. They did that right. And it supports XP Web Publish, which is a real time-saver.
Photo Post – Looks pretty good. But it costs $129 or so. Forget it. There are free alternatives.
Snipe Gallery – I saw an attractive gallery done with this one. But the site doesn’t answer with a database error, and google gets a failure when taking the link to source forge… Bad news… Something is wrong.
Exhibit Engine – This is a shareware, php based gallery. It is very geeky… Lots of attention to keepting track of which camera, lens and lighting was used. I attempted an install, and got totally bogged down in the manual updating of the parameters to get it going. I gave up when presented with a page of a dozen text parameters which were URLs pointing to my site and all had to be updated with my domain URL followed by some subfolder or another. Clearly the fellow can do better. All of that should have been automatic. WordPress and Gallery and Coppermine don’t have these issues. Give this one a pass.
Coppermine – Wow… Very professional looking. Easy to install. Very functional. Very very well documented, which is unusual for an opensource product. Gallery 2 has very little documentation. Coppermine comes with complete documentation on the site you install. So users get complete documentation too. It supports one or many users. Self registering or authorized or pre-registered. Themes are very well done. Rock solid and completely functional. Very attractive as well as functional. It has XP Web Publish support, but I did have to read the forums and tweak it to make it work.
I’m going to spend another day learning about the details of themes, but I don’t really think I need to tweak a theme before I can use this.
No going back…
At this point I’ve selected Coppermine.
I have been using an HTML gallery builder called ReaGallery from ReaSoft. It builds a very nice gallery and with a little work I was able to tweak a style that I liked. You’ve seen the galleries that I’ve posted here. I liked the style with the slider down the left side with the images on the right. Anyway, that’s been very nice and I could quickly build an album and then publish it to the web with FTP all at once. I liked that the software resized and built thumbnails.
But, the way the album looks cannot be changed later without rebuilding it. No themes. And there is no EXIF support, and no comments and you can’t add descriptions and titles later. The recent version of ReaGallery is actually less functional than the earlier release. Apparently they completely rewrote it and removed much of the customizeability.
But it’s time to move on to a web gallery solution. I will have to resize the images to 1024x, but I can use a batch conversion in IrfanView to do that.
I’m excited to be moving on…
At this point, my daughter and her friends are using Ringo, which is free. I’m not sure if there are limits or not. But of course its full of ADs in flash no less, and no themes and you don’t have control of your storage. I’m not sure if they are watching your traffic there or not… Naw of course they are not… And what about suggestive pics of models etc… Naw.. Doesn’t sound like where I want to be.