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project idea // geekiness - Lograh — LiveJournal

Wednesday, 18.Feb.2004

17:47 - project idea // geekiness

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I want a program that will allow me to categorize my photos. Sounds simple enough, right?

"But Lograh," you say, "there are already plenty of programs that do that!" You then procede to list and link to a few.

I have some unique requirements that reduce this ample list of programs down to zero (from what I've seen).

1) It must be able to allow me to give photos keywords. Beyond categorizing them, I want to have kewords also. So a picture can be in the categories 'rivers', 'sacramento', and 'art' (notice multiple categories possible), and yet it can also have the keywords 'heavilly altered', 'multi-season', 'fooness' (keywords can be phrases also). The only differance between categories and keywords will be in the visual organizational structure. I'll expect that categories (and sub-categories) will act as a sort of tree-structured heirarchy for display and storage, while keywords will be searchable and can relate piccies in entirely different categories.

2) It must be searchable. Search based on category, keyword, date added to collection, any other field I may decide to implement (possible choices would be artist, camera, lens, etc...)

(here is where we start to really kill the currently available programs)
3) it needs to be able to handle a picture file that it cannot understand. I shoot exclusively in raw mode, which produces CRW files unreadable by damn near everything. I can convert these to png or jpg files easilly enough, and adobe can import them and thus output whatever I damn well please. But I want my picture storage program to be able to store the raw files themselves. I don't mind having to give it a jpg version it can referance for thumbnail/preview display purposes, but I'd preferr that not being necessary (even though I will likely do so simply to make my use of the system easier). When it stores this picture, it will note the thumbnail verison, and preview version, and store them along with the CRW file (and all the other informational goodness).

(I haven't yet found one that can do the above, but just to make it more limited)
4) it needs to support backing up everything. I want to be able to tell it "dump to archive" and it will create some archive suitable for burning to CD/DVD (user selectable, of course). I'm not overly picky if this archive is a single compressed file only readable by this system or if it is a OS-compatible directory structure with the files in plain view and their associated info in some text files alongside them. Whatever it takes, just give me something I can treat as a collective chunk and burn to storage media.

and, as a final wish (this one I'd not be at all picky about):
5) it would be nice if there were versions available for Win/Mac/Linux that could all read the same archive formats. Thus I can import/edit pics on the iBook at home, move them to an archive file and incorporate that archive file into a collection on the Win machine here. Export larger archive files from the Win machine and burn to DVD on it's burner. Then import those larger archive files into the Linux machine for later use/editing.

Now, points 1-4 are requirements. If it doesn't meet even one of them, I won't consider using it. I'm not going to store my photos in any system that won't support making backups. I can't store them in it if it won't handle CRW files (even as secondary data to the main picture entry). If I can't search for all piccies with such-and-such info, what's the point of having the database in the first place? And if I can't customize the info to the extent I need, then it is entirely unusable for my purposes.

I am suspecting I'm asking too much from the programming community. I also suspect most programmers these days are hacks and I could probably just write the damn thing myself. I can almost see it as a collection of scripts for apache/mysql/php to handle. I'd just store all the data in the database. I'm not too sure about mysql being able to export select records to an archive file, or it's ability to merge an archive file with an existing database.

Whatever the result, I'm sitting here having to try managing my piccies by hand. Which with roughly 7500 pictures is proving a tad difficult. :)

Comments:

[User Picture]
From:gravilim
Date:18:25 18.Feb.2004 (UTC)
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Would you also like it to cook you breakfast in the morning, and call you back for a second date? ;)

If you find a photo-organizing tool *that cool*, lemme know what it is. :)
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[User Picture]
From:khanfused
Date:18:27 18.Feb.2004 (UTC)
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... if I was at the *end* of a semester of php/mysql and sql/oracle classes, I might have some ideas. As it is -- now you've done is get me thinking "okaaay ... how would I arrange all of this?"

As if I didn't have enough problems taking notes as it is.

But it does sound like something MySQL could do -- with Apache/PHP as a web'ed front-end. Maybe ImageMagik has some tools to translate your camera images to jpg/png's within scripts.

*shrug* ... off to class ... let you know more if I get brainstormed.
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[User Picture]
From:macklinr
Date:20:01 18.Feb.2004 (UTC)
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Child's play. Time-consuming child's play, but all those are pretty trivial points, programmatically-speaking.

All you're talking here is a database management system, wherein some data involves links to files in the filesystem (at the rest to info related to the program - i.e. categories, keywords, etc), which then can either be used by the program (to submit, search, etc.) or be dumped out to an archive (through simple OS calls - and you can tar/gzip natively if you're using Unix).

Really simple, but a good solution (i.e. one that isn't buggy as all fuck-out and that has a very good UI) would take a huge time investment for multiple people (UI developer, programmer, testers, etc.) [And, to be clear, just because someone is a programmer doesn't meant they know fuck all about UI design. I happen to have a clue, but that's because I got schooled by UI people for doing things badly.]

But since I'm busy with my own stuff, I won't be able to prove that it is, in fact, child's play. So, I'll just talk a big game, and not back it up ;)
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[User Picture]
From:lograh
Date:20:43 18.Feb.2004 (UTC)

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yeah, that's the feeling I'm getting from it. I threw together some ideas for data structures and organizational schemas on the ride home, and I think I managed to get rather far. It's just the time investment that's kinda scaring me off.

I mean, it's no World, but still . . . :)
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(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:lograh
Date:8:35 19.Feb.2004 (UTC)

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hrmm.. except for the whole Windows part, it seems to do exactly what I am looking for. I don't mind if all it does is keep links to files scattered about the drive. The keyword/category organization combined with the ability to maintain the original raw file are the biggest two concerns. I'm a little put off by it only handling *some* raw formats, though. I'd preferr if it could just treat the raw data as basic data and not insist on being able to decypher it, but I'll make that concession if it did everything else (which this certainly seems to acomplish).

Problem is, my (current) primary photowerk computer is a Mac, and the computer I'm second likely to work with them on is Linux. The Windows compatibility was simply for burning to DVD (as I'm having issues getting the DVD burner to work right in Linux).

I do almost all my image editing in GIMP, the windows port of which I've found wanting (both in features and bugfixes). The Mac port of it is considerably more stable, and it was written in Linux to start, so there's no problem there.

Still, thank you for the tip, and I'll definately consider it. The thought of having to go back to Windows for actual use (besides data burning), though . . .
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