Author Topic: Web photo gallery software  (Read 1402 times)


  • Timelord
    • Fediverse
Web photo gallery software
« on: 06 December, 2023, 12:57:54 am »
Past Kim spent a great many years failing to upgrade PHP on $server, because it was running Gallery 1 - an unimpressive but functional web photo-gallery program from the early 2000s that had the killer feature of storing the images in a hierarchical filesystem, with sensibly-named files for thumbnails and metadata and such.  This seemed like a good insurance policy against the software itself becoming obsolete.

And lo, it came to pass that it got re-written to use a SQL database.  And then it got re-written again.  And then it got abandoned, and resurrected, and abandoned again.  Thereby proving Past Kim's point.

So, having forced the upgrade issue, I'm left looking for a sensible solution for archiving and displaying photographs.  And struggling to find anything entirely satisfactory.

It needs to be free and run in a Linux VM, preferably with as little Dependency Hell as possible.  Obviously it needs to store the data in a way that will outlive its codebase: Hierachy good, single directory of files with sequential names bad, proprietary database unacceptable.  It would be nice if images could be uploaded and sorted from a browser, but equally, dropping them into a directory on the server's filesystem by some other means is also useful.  Some permissions system for who's allowed to see what would be useful.  Being able to scroll through the albums quickly and efficiently is highly desirable.  And being able to link to image files directly.  That sort of thing.  Beyond that, I'm not too interested in wanky features, and would like to keep the learning curve and unisex spaceadministry to a minimum.

Any ideas?  So far I've tried:

  • Gallery3 - Appears to have no future.
  • Piwigo - Pretty good, but fails to store images hierarchically if they're uploaded via the web interface.
  • Photoview - A slick, simple viewer, with curating the image files left as an exercise for the reader.  Requires docker-related contortions to run.

I'm also giving serious consideration to just bunging static files on a web server, perhaps with something like Darktable's HTML export function to prettify them as albums where relevant.

Anyone got any clever ideas?  Owncloud/Nextcloud seems to come up a lot, but it's looks well into hammer-to-crack-a-walnut territory.


  • Stout dipper
    • Stuff mostly about weather
Re: Web photo gallery software
« Reply #1 on: 02 January, 2024, 09:59:16 pm »
I had a load of photos in (I think) Gallery 3. They were on Dez's server, but for a variety of reasons he wanted me to take ownership of them. He's the one that set them up for me, and I've got all the files and the SQL database compressed and on my server, which I didn't have this time last year. They've been there almost a year, and it's noticeable that almost all the photos that I linked to in many of my ride reports now are dead links.

There is an online Gallery group alive and well (at least, I think they are) and at some stage I will endeavour to resurrect my stuff, using precisely the same web addresses as before, and hopefully the links will suddenly become live again. But that is for the future. I do rather like the Gallery way of storing stuff, but then Dez learned PHP so he was equipped to do such stuff.

My problem is that I don't really know where to start. When Dez lived here, he took charge of That Sort of Thing and, sadly, I was never involved in the setting up. If I had been, I might have a better understanding of what was going on.
Quote from: Dez
It doesn’t matter where you start. Just start.


  • Timelord
    • Fediverse
Re: Web photo gallery software
« Reply #2 on: 02 January, 2024, 10:39:49 pm »
The great thing about Gallery 1.x in that respect (no idea about the later incarnations) is that you don't actually need any of the PHP stuff to serve up the raw images.

To that end, I've copied the directories of images under /gallery_albums/, minus extraneous meta-guff, to the right place on my new webserver, and am serving them up as static files for the benefit of wherever I've happened to embed a link elseweb.  This seems to have had the desired effect (random old thread).  Yes, there are hundreds, probably thousands of images that *aren't* linked to from anywhere, but 10 year old jpegs aren't very big, disk is cheap and life is short; it's only about 6GB in total.

Going forward, my current plan is to be a bit more disciplined in my uploading of photos to site-specific static directories with sensible names for embedding on the web.

And then it doesn't really matter what I use to organise photos for my own use.  I managed to kick Photoview into some semblance of usability, and it scores highly in the "I'm sure I've got a photo of that somewhere..." use case, if not long-term publication.  I'm wondering if I should just spend a bit of quality time learning how to use Darktable, and give up on web galleries as a bad idea.