Ben's Digital Photo Gallery

Three approaches to online photos

Stage One: Ofoto Implodo — your photos held hostage on someone else’s web site
During the Internet bubble, was a popular site for hosting photos online. Two things conspired to crater the site: a “major system malfunction,” as the CEO’s email put it, tanked more than half my photos. No biggie; the photos were still on my PC. Then Kodak bought Ofoto, changed the name to, and subsequently tried to extort money from me by telling me they would delete my (remaining) online photos if I didn't make a photo purchase within 90 days. I told Kodak to screw off, and vowed never again to have my photos taken hostage by a third party.

Stage Two: Gallery — “your photos on your web site (your SLOW web site)”
Gallery is an open source software program for managing photos online. Gallery2, with its mySQL database implementation, is slow as a dog. So slow, in fact, that most of my friends and family would give up waiting for the pages to load, and simply leave my site. I used Gallery to manage about 8,000 photos. Gallery requires Linux hosting, PHP, MySQL, and SSH access. Gallery is too slow and too much trouble.

Stage Three: Jalbum — “easy to install, use, and maintain; and FAST.”
Jalbum is an open source tool for publishing libraries of photos online. Unlike Gallery, Jalbum uses your PC to build the HTML pages and resize the photos in advance of a user's page request, as opposed to Gallery, which uses your ISP's server to prepare pages and thumbnails on the fly (i.e., after a user requests the page). Once Jalbum is finished building all the pages (about four hours for my collection of 11,000 photos), you then upload the HTML, photos and thumbnails to your web site. Since the album is all premade, pages load literally in the blink of an eye. Here are the downsides: the "smart upload" feature, which enables you to upload only files that have changed, takes so long to compare the files in a large album that my ISP’s FTP server closes the connection for lack of a file transfer. The workaround is to use a regular FTP client (I use Filezilla) to upload new albums. Also, it's quirky. If you open an album, make changes, and save it under a new name, it changes the original album. Still, a great tool and recommended.

Visitors, to see Jalbum in action, see my public photo gallery.

Friends and family, check out my entire photo collection. The UserID is my middle name, and the password is my favorite sport.

Ben & kids on Lake George

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