Johan Vromans > Album-1.06 > Album::Tutorial

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Module Version: 1.10   Source   Latest Release: Album-1.50_08

NAME ^

Album::Tutorial - How to use the Album program

SYNOPSIS ^

This tutorial describes the basic use of the Album program to create and maintain browser based photo albums.

DESCRIPTION ^

Getting started

To get started, create a new directory and cd to it. Create a subdirectory 'large' and put some pictures there. If you have installed the 'album' tool in your execution path, you can now execute it as follows:

  $ album -v
  No info.dat, adding images from large
  info.dat: Cannot update (does not exist)
  Number of entries = 7 (7 added)
  mkdir thumbnails
  mkdir icons
  mkdir css
  Creating icons: first-gr.png first.png ... sound.png movie.jpg
  Creating style sheets: common.css index.css ... journal.css
  im023.jpg: thumbnail OK
  im024.jpg: thumbnail OK
  im025.jpg: thumbnail OK
  im026.jpg: thumbnail OK
  im027.jpg: thumbnail OK
  im028.jpg: thumbnail OK
  im029.jpg: thumbnail OK
  Creating pages for 7 images
  (Needed to write 7 image pages)
  Creating pages for 1 index
  (Needed to write 1 index page)

Your results will vary, but be similar to this example run. What you can see is that 'album' found 7 images in the 'large' directory, created thumbnails, icons and css directories, created thumbnails by resizing the images, and finally created the HTML pages. You can inspect your first photo album by opening file 'index.html' with your favorite browser. You can click on any image to see the larger version. Navigation buttons are provided to the left of the image.

It is interesting to run 'album' again:

  $ album -v
  No info.dat, adding images from large
  info.dat: Cannot update (does not exist)
  Number of entries = 7 (7 added)
  .......[7]
  Creating pages for 7 images
  (No image pages needed updating)
  Creating pages for 1 index
  (No index pages needed updating)

'album' tries to avoid doing unnecessary work as much as possible. In this case, all thumbnails and image and index pages are up to date. The line of periods shows progress, one period for each image processed.

Protecting your work

'album' not only tries to avoid doing unnecessary work, but it is also very careful to not destroy your original images, nor any other changes you may have made.

In general, 'album' will never overwrite or modify:

Adding medium sized images

The purpose of medium sized images is easy browsing by having a consistent and convenient size. The default size shows normal 4:3 images completely on an 1024x768 screen in the browser's full screen mode.

To add medium sized images (and also specify an album title):

  $ album -v --medium --title "My First Album"
  No info.dat, adding images from large
  info.dat: Cannot update (does not exist)
  Number of entries = 7 (7 added)
  mkdir medium
  im023.jpg: medium OK
  im024.jpg: medium OK
  im025.jpg: medium OK
  im026.jpg: medium OK
  im027.jpg: medium OK
  im028.jpg: medium OK
  im029.jpg: medium OK
  Creating pages for 7 images
  (Needed to write 14 image pages)
  Creating pages for 1 index
  (Needed to write 1 index page)

Again, 'album' only does the work needed, re-using the work already done.

Adding image descriptions

As can be seen from the example runs, 'album' looks for a file 'info.dat'. This file can be used to:

The format of 'info.dat' is simple. Empty lines and lines starting with a '#' are ignored. Data lines contain the name of an image file, followed by its description. Control lines start with an '!' mark.

'album' can fill 'info.dat' for you. To obtain this, create an empty 'info.dat' file, and run 'album':

  $ touch info.dat
  $ album -v --medium --title "My First Album"
  No info.dat, adding images from large
  Updating info.dat
  Number of entries = 7 (7 added)
  .......[7]
  Creating pages for 7 images
  (No image pages needed updating)
  Creating pages for 1 index
  (No index pages needed updating)

Upon completion, 'info.dat' will look similar to:

  # album control file generated by album 1.19, Tue Jun  1 22:39:41 2004
  !title My First Album
  !medium
  # New entries added by album 1.19, Tue Jun  1 22:39:41 2004
  !tag 
  im023.jpg  
  im024.jpg  
  im025.jpg  
  im026.jpg  
  im027.jpg  
  im028.jpg  
  im029.jpg  

You can now add a description for each image following the file name, for example:

  !tag 2004/06/01
  im023.jpg  Sunrise
  im024.jpg  Overview
  im025.jpg  Across the lake
  im026.jpg  Catch of the day
  im027.jpg  Fishermen
  im028.jpg  Swimming cows
  im029.jpg  Moon over Clew Bay

Re-run the program (no need for --medium and --title anymore):

  $ album -v
  Number of entries = 7
  .......[7]
  Creating pages for 7 images
  (Needed to write 14 image pages)
  Creating pages for 1 index
  (Needed to write 1 index page)

There are no complaints anymore about a missing 'info.dat', but there's also no message 'adding images from ./large'. In other words, the only images shown are the ones named in the control file. New images added to the 'large' directory will be ignored. We'll see later what to do about that.

Summary of 'info.dat' control commands

Most settings can also obtained with command line options, as shown.

!title XXX

Sets the title to XXX, override with --title.

!page NxM

Sets the layout to N rows (--rows) and M columns (--columns).

!thumbsize NNN

Specifies the desired width for thumbnail images (--thumbsize).

!medium

Includes medium sized images (--medium) of default size.

!mediumsize NNN

Specifies the desired width for medium sized images (--mediumsize).

!tag XXX

Sets the tag line for all subsequent images. Cancel with an empty !tag command.

!caption

Sets the caption code for index pages (--caption). It must be a sequence of f (file name), s (size, WxH), c (caption), t (tag line). If no !caption has been used, the default value is fct.

!dateformat XXX

Sets the default date format as used for the tag lines for new images. XXX must be a valid strftime(2) date format string, for example:

  !dateformat %a %e %B %Y
!icon

Produce a file icon.jpg to be used as an icon for this album (--icon). The icon is of thumbnail size, and contains a small lookalike of the first index page.

!icon may be followed by a something true or false (--noicon). Default is true.

!locale XXX

Set the locales for sorting and date formats to XXX.

album can read values for settings from configuration files. Settings can be set as in info.dat, the leading exclamation mark is optional in this case. By default, the configuration files used are .albumrc in the current directory, and .albumrc in the user's home directory. The order of precedence is:

1. command line options
2. info.dat
3. user config file .albumrc in current directory
4. user config file .albumrc in the home directory

Environment variable ALBUMCONFIG can be used to designate user config files. It should be set to a colon-separated list of file names to be processed in order of precedence.

Importing new images

An important feature of 'album' is importing new images from an external source. For example, you can import new images from a CD-ROM, or from a digital camera.

Assuming you mounted a CD-ROM with new images, execute 'album' as follows:

  $ album -v --import /mnt/cdrom --update
  Updating info.dat
  Number of entries = 9 (2 added)
  .......[7]
  im030.jpg: copy medium thumbnail OK
  im031.jpg: copy medium thumbnail OK
  Creating pages for 9 images
  (Needed to write 18 image pages)
  Creating pages for 1 index
  (Needed to write 1 index page)

Two new images were found on the CD-ROM, copied to the 'large' directory, and processed as usual. 'info.dat' has been updated with the new entries. Note that images found on the CD-ROM that already exist in 'large' (i.e., have the same name) are skipped.

Using EXIF information

When importing images from a digital camera, 'album' can use the EXIF information that is present in these files:

To enable EXIF processing, add the --exif command line option, or specify the import directory with --dcim instead of --import:

  $ ls -l /mnt/camera/dcim/101msdcf
  -rwxr-xr-x 1 jv jv 2347808 Jun 25 12:08 /mnt/camera/dcim/101msdcf/dsc00052.jpg
  -rwxr-xr-x 1 jv jv 1327475 Jun 25 12:05 /mnt/camera/dcim/101msdcf/dsc00053.jpg
  $ album -v --dcim /mnt/camera/dcim/101msdcf --update
  Updating info.dat
  Number of entries = 11 (2 added)
  .........[ 9]
  200405171843310052.jpg: link medium thumbnail OK
  200405171845030053.jpg: copy rotate medium thumbnail OK
  Creating pages for 11 images
  (Needed to write 22 image pages)
  Creating pages for 1 index
  (Needed to write 1 index page)

The file 'dsc00052.jpg' has now been imported as '200405171843310052.jpg'. 'album' tries to link to the image, if that is not possible, the image will be coped. File 'dsc00053.jpg' must be rotated, so it will always be a copy.

If you hover the mouse over the file name in the index page, or over the title on the image pages, a pop-up will show a selection of information from the EXIF data.

Embedding other albums

In the file 'info.dat' you can also enter names of HTML documents to refer to arbitrary other information you want to include in your album. You can use this to embed (more precisely: refer to) other albums. For example:

  20040910/index.html  Pictures of an exhibition

This will store in the album a reference to another album. If at the given location a file 'icon.jpg' exists, this will be used in the album as thumbnail image. To generate a sample icon for an album to be included, run the album program with command line option --icon.

The reference will only be present on the index pages. When following the 'previous' and 'next' links of image pages, these references will be skipped.

Note that when you click on an external reference thumbnail, a new browser window will be opened to show the referenced information.

Additional notes

The --clobber command line option will force regeneration of all medium and thumbnail images, and HTML pages. It will not force re-import of the 'large' images. To completely rebuild everything save info.dat, remove all the files in the album directory (including .cache), restore info.dat and re-run the 'album' program.

The digital camera import is designed for cameras that adhere to the ISO DCF standard. Handling of MPG movies and voice images is probably specific for my Sony DSC-V1.

When importing images from different camera's, there's an extremely small chance that the EXIF information would lead to identical file names. This can only happen if the pictures were taken at the exact same time (according to the camera's notion of time!), and have the same internal sequence number.

When parsing info.dat, Album treats anything up to a known file name extension to be part of the file name. In general, this means that you can safely enter file names with whitespace and other uglyness.

Known file name extensions are jpg, jpeg, png, and gif for images, mpg, mpeg, mov, and avi for movies, and html and htm for links.

AUTHOR AND CREDITS ^

Johan Vromans (jvromans@squirrel.nl) wrote this module.

COPYRIGHT AND DISCLAIMER ^

This program is Copyright 2004 by Squirrel Consultancy. All rights reserved.

This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of either: a) the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 1, or (at your option) any later version, or b) the "Artistic License" which comes with Perl.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See either the GNU General Public License or the Artistic License for more details.

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