Digital cameras are getting more and more attractive. For me, the first important breakthrough happened a couple years ago. That’s when the price of a “full screen” (640 x 480) camera fell below $500. Today, a $500 digital camera will produce high quality 3 x 5 prints.
But there’s a new challenge. It’s easy to accumulate hundreds of digital photographs. How do you keep track of what you have? If you don’t want to make physical copies, how do you show other people the wonderful pictures that you have taken? It’s natural to think about using the Web to store and present your digital photograph albums.
Many people have had the same thought. There are dozens and dozens of Web oriented solutions. I wanted a software package that would assemble Web pages of thumbnail images. A full digital picture can be more than 100,000 bytes; a thumbnail version will normally be less than 10,000. Fixing it up so that only “interesting” pictures have to be downloaded makes sense.
It makes so much sense that most Web solutions include the creation of thumbnail images. You can “rent” space on someone else’s Web site. You upload your images using a familiar browser. The “rent” you pay will be either a direct charge, or you will pay by exposing yourself and your picture sharing friends to Web advertising. That’s not an attractive choice for me.
Most Internet service providers offer a small “free” Web site to those using their service to access the Internet. You transfer files to the site using an FTP program.
WS_FTP_LE (www.ipswitch.com) is free for non-commercial users and is not much more complicated than Windows Explorer.
What I wanted was a program that would take my digital photographs, create thumbnail versions of each photo, and then build the Web pages needed to browse the thumbnail images so that a click on an image would download the full photograph.
Initially, the files should live in a directory on my hard drive. WS_FTP_LE could be used to upload the files to an appropriate Web site directory. Using one of the programs I found, I put together a sample on my Web site at: rfabian.com/photo/thumbnails.html. This page was created using IrfanView (www.irfanview.com). It’s mostly a free-for-personal use graphic file browser. But it can be used to assemble thumbnail image sheets. You get a single page. You can change the title, the size of the thumbnails, and the number of images in a row, but little else.
IFAlbum (igorfil.kulichki.net/progeng.htm) is a freeware program that adds features that are missing from IrfanView. You can add comments and have multiple pages in an album. The same small collection was redone using IFAlbum; it’s at: rfabian.com/photo/photo.htm.
Use IrfanView if you just want to throw up a Web page of thumbnail images. IFAlbum takes you beyond that, but requires that you plan exactly how you want the album to laid out. It’s in both Russian and English. The program conventions took some getting used to, but it does do the job.
Fabian is an established Canadian management and system consultant (www.fabian.ca) who has always been fascinated by technology.