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Nate Wiger > HTML-PhotoAlbum > HTML::PhotoAlbum



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Module Version: 1.20   Source  


HTML::PhotoAlbum - Create web photo albums and slideshows


    use HTML::PhotoAlbum;

    # Create a new album object, specifying the albums we have

    my $album = HTML::PhotoAlbum->new(
                      albums => {
                         sf_trip => 'San Francisco Trip',
                         sjc_vac => 'San Jose Vacation',
                         puppy_1 => 'Puppy - First Week',
                         puppy_2 => 'Puppy - Second Week'

    # By using the "selected" method, we can change what each one
    # looks like. However, note these if statements are optional!

    if ($album->selected eq 'sf_trip') {
        print $album->render(
                         header => 1,
                         eachrow => 3,
                         eachpage => 12
    } elsif ($album->selected eq 'sjc_vac') {
        print $album->render(
                         header => 1,
                         eachrow => 5,
                         eachpage => 20,
                         font_face => 'times'
                         body_bgcolor => 'silver',
    } else {
        # Standard album just uses the defaults
        # You can leave out the if's above and just use this
        print $album->render(header => 1);


This module requires CGI::FormBuilder 3.0 or later.


Admittedly a somewhat special-purpose module, this is designed to dynamically create and display a photo album. Actually, it manages multiple photo albums, each of which can be independently formatted and navigated.

Basic usage of this module amounts to the examples shown above. This module supports table-based thumbnail pages, auto-pagination, and slideshows. The HTML produced is fully-customizable. It should be all you need for creating online photo albums (besides the pictures, of course).

The directory structure of a basic album looks like this:

        index.cgi           (your script)
            captions.txt    (optional)
            intro.html      (optional)

You'll probably end up choosing just one naming scheme for your images, but the point is that HTML::PhotoAlbum is flexible enough to handle all of them or any combination thereof. What happens is that the module looks in the dir that you specify and does an ASCII sort on the files. Anything that looks like a valid web image (ends in .jpe?g, .gif, or .png) will be indexed and displayed. Then, it does basenames on the images and looks for their thumbnails, if present. If there are no thumbnails you get a generic link that says "Image 4" or whatever.

An optional captions.txt file can be included in the directory as well. If this file is present, you can specify captions that will be placed beneath each of the images. For example:

    # Sample captions.txt file
    image001    Us atop Haleakala
    image002    Sunset from Maui
    pict0003    Hiking on Kauai
    dsc00004    Snorkeling on Hawaii

Also, if the optional intro.html file is present in the directory, then that will be shown as the first page, with a link at the bottom that says "See the Pictures". This allows you to put introductory HTML to tell about your photos. You can put any HTML you want into this file.

This module attempts to give you a lot of fine-grained control over image placement and layout while still keeping it simple. You should be able to place images and cells in tables fairly precisely.


new(opt => val, opt => val)

Create a new HTML::PhotoAlbum object. Typically, the only option you need to specify is the albums option, which tells this module which albums you're going to allow indexing:

    my $album = HTML::PhotoAlbum->new(
                      albums => {
                           dir1 => "My First Album",
                           dir2 => "My Second Album"

The new() method accepts the following options:

albums => { dir => 'Title', dir => 'Title' }

This accepts a hashref holding subdir and title pairs. Each of the subdirs must live beneath "." (or whatever you set dir to below). The title is what will be displayed as the album title both in the thumbnails page as well as the navigation bar.

You can also specify a filename, in which case it will be read for the names of the albums. The format is the same as the captions.txt file:

    # Sample albums.txt file
    sf_trip     San Francisco Trip
    sjc_vac     San Jose Vacation

You would then use this like so:

    my $album = HTML::PhotoAlbum->new(albums => 'albums.txt');

If you have a lot of albums, this will allow less code maintenance in the long run.

dir => $path

The directory holding the images. This defaults to ".", meaning it assumes your CGI script lives at the top level of your albums directory (as shown above). If you mess with this, you must understand that this directory must be visible from the web as a URL. It is recommended that you don't mess with this.

render(opt => val, opt => val)

The render() method is responsible for formatting the HTML for the actual pages. It returns a string, which can then be printed out like so:

    print $album->render(header => 1);

This method takes a number of options which allow you to tweak the formatting of the HTML produced:

eachrow => $num

The number of images to put in each row of the thumbnail page. Defaults to 4.

eachpage => $num

The number of images to display on each thumbnail page. Defaults to 16. This should be a multiple of eachrow, but doesn't have to be.

header => 1 | 0

If set to 1, a "Content-type" header and HTML title will be printed out, meaning you don't have to do this yourself. Defaults to 0.

navwrap => 1 | 0

If set to 1, the navigation bar will wrap from last page to the first for both thumbnails and full-size images. Defaults to 0.

navfull => 1 | 0

If set to 0, then a navigation page will not be created for the full-size images. Instead, the thumbnail pages will link to the full-size images directly.

linktext => $string

Printed out followed by a number if no thumbnail is found. Defaults to "Image".

nexttext => $string

The text for the "next page" link. Defaults to "Next". Note you can do snazzy navigation by doing something tricky like this:

    nexttext => "<img src=/images/next.gif>"

But don't tell anyone I said that.

prevtext => $string

The text for the "previous page" link. Defaults to "Prev".

In addition, you can specify tags for any HTML element in one of two ways. This is stolen directly from HTML::QuickTable. First, you can specify them as "tag_attr", for example:

    body_alink => 'silver'      # <body alink="silver">

    td_bgcolor => 'white'       # <td bgcolor="white">

    font_face  => 'arial',      # <font face="arial" size="3">
    font_size  => '3'

Or, you can point the tag name to an attr hashref. These would have the same effect as the above:

    body => { alink => 'silver' }

    td => { bgcolor => 'white' }

    font => { face => 'arial', size => 3 }

These tags will then be changed appropriately in the HTML, allowing you to completely manipulate what the HTML that is printed out looks like. Several of these options are set by default to make the standard HTML look as nice as possible.


This returns the name of the selected album, allowing you to conditionally change its layout:

    if ($album->selected eq 'sf_trip') { ... }

If no album is selected, this will return undef.


Here's a simple photo album script that I use to manage my albums. Note that it dynamically builds a list of the albums from a file in the top-level albums directory, since I have a lot of albums.

    #!/usr/bin/perl -w

    use HTML::PhotoAlbum;

    my $album = HTML::PhotoAlbum->new(
                      albums => 'albums.txt',
                      nexttext => '&gt;&gt;',   # >>
                      prevtext => '&lt;&lt;',   # <<
                      font_color => 'white',
                      body => {
                           bgcolor => 'black',
                           link  => 'orange',
                           alink => 'silver',
                           vlink => 'gray',
                      table_width => '95%'

    if ($album->selected eq 'sf_trip') {
        # Larger images in this album
        print $album->render(header  => 1, table_width => '100%',
                             eachrow => 3, eachpage => 9);
    } else {
        # All other albums standard
        print $album->render(header => 1, table_width => '100%');

If you put this script in ~/public_html/albums, then people would access your photo albums via http://yourserver/~yourname/albums. Easy enough.


On an error condition, a 404 Not Found page will be printed in the browser. If the error is suspected to be the programmer's fault, a message will be printed to the error_log. Some errors are not logged because they can be triggered by users trying to screw around (specifying a large page number or image number, for example).

There are a number of other photo albums on CPAN that are worth looking at, and the PHP "Gallery" alternative is nice too (albeit SLOW).


$Id:,v 1.20 2005/07/13 20:48:42 nwiger Exp $


Copyright (c) 2000-2005, Nathan Wiger, <>. All Rights Reserved.

This module is free software; you may copy this under the terms of the GNU General Public License, or the Artistic License, copies of which should have accompanied your Perl kit.

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