photofloat — a web 2.0 photo gallery done right
I don’t really like database driven photo management software, and prefer instead to manage my photos in a good old no-nonsense directory structure. For this reason, I was particularly attracted to Zenphoto as a means of getting my photos online, as it works on directory structures. Unfortunately, Zenphoto is horrible; it’s riddled with bugs, inconstant, a cluttered architecture, and most of all, it’s extremely slow. Every time it runs, it re-scans directories and makes a bazillion SQL calls. The viewer interface is also outdated and clunky, having a different html page for each photo. So I went back to the drawing board and considered how to make things better.
Introducing PhotoFloat. The idea is this — instead of scanning and caching metadata and thumbnails during page load time, everything is to be done prior. It’s a bit of an old school mentality. There is a script that generates static json files of metadata and album structures and static thumbnails of images, so that all the content can be served directly by Apache.