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Photo Gallery dead, sort of

September 20th, 2009 at 10:55am

I have some bad news and some good news. The bad news is that I am declaring the photo gallery to be dead, meaning that no more photos will be uploaded to it ever. This is due to yet another issue with the software which runs it.

The good news though is that it will remain online in an archived form, in its current location, and I will launch a new gallery in the near future.

Gallery version 1 is a decent application for what it does, but it is old, inefficient, hopeless at providing any useful information in errors, and virtually impossible to fix when it has anything other than an obvious problem.

The current issue (and the proverbial straw of an issue) that I am currently having with it is that it won’t create thumbnail images (the smaller versions of images that you see on the pages which show many images)…or to be more precise, will get them created by ImageMagick, but fails to recognise that they have been created. As far as I can tell, Gallery is sending a mangled command to ImageMagick which is causing ImageMagick to create the thumbnail and then spit out an error, which is causing Gallery to assume that creation of the thumbnail failed, and ignore the created thumbnail image. Bizarrely, the older version of the Gallery software which I had installed until a few weeks ago completely abandoned processing the images upon receipt of the error from ImageMagick, whereas the current version treats it as a minor error which means that it accepts the image and just doesn’t show a thumbnail.

This issue has been bugging me for a while, and as I couldn’t sleep last night I had plenty of time to play around with the Gallery installation, but didn’t really get anywhere. I did, however, manage to prove that it is a fault in my Gallery installation and not in the Gallery software as distributed, nor a problem with ImageMagick, as a clean Gallery installation does not have the problem in the same environment with the same settings.

As such, I now have the incentive to do what I have wanted to do for a while but could never be bothered to mess around with…upgrade to Gallery 2, or possibly even a different photo gallery application. Gallery 1 has a horrifying and archaic file structure, and upgrading an existing installation to the more elegant Gallery 2 is a rather appalling process, and would mangle the page layout in ways which I would prefer to never have to think about.

Leaving the gallery in its current form is not an option due to the fact that it relies on an aging, and soon-to-be-unsupported, set of PHP scripts which will undoubtedly be exploitable in the near future. Thankfully Gallery has an “offline mode” where it can be easily archived in pure HTML and images form, which will allow me to keep it online without having to worry about updating the software which runs it.

The next thing for me to do will be to play with some newer photo gallery software to decide what I will use for the next incarnation of the gallery…and you can rest assured that, due to my aversion to placing my important online data in the hands people like Flickr who have proven that they can not be trusted to leave photos in their intended form, I will be running the next gallery myself, just like the current one.


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September 2009

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