Album::Tutorial - How to use the Album program
This tutorial describes the basic use of the Album program to create and maintain browser based photo albums.
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 index mkdir icons Creating icons: first-gr.png first.png ... sound.png movie.jpg 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 index and icons directories, created thumbnails by resizing the images, and finally created the HTML pages. You can inspect your first photo album by opening file 'index/index001.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. You can also navigate from the keyboard: space (next), backspace (previous), enter (larger image), and 'd' (index).
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) ....... 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.
'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:
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.
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) ....... 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 ....... 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.
The first line can be used to designate a coding system, in case the information needs to contain non-ASCII characters. For example, to designate that the data is in ISO 8895.1 (Latin-1) encoding, use:
# -*- coding: iso8859-1 -*-
Most settings can also obtained with command line options, as shown.
Sets the title to XXX, override with --title.
Provides an 'up' link on the index pages. Override with --home. Note that this link is relative to the location of the index directory.
Sets the layout to N rows (--rows) and M columns (--columns).
Specifies the desired width for thumbnail images (--thumbsize).
Includes medium sized images (--medium) of default size.
Specifies the desired width for medium sized images (--mediumsize). To enforce this width, even if the original image is smaller, specify
! after the size.
Sets the tag line for all subsequent images. Cancel with an empty !tag command.
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.
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
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.
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:
.albumrcin current directory
.albumrcin 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.
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) ....... 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.
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.
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.
Warning: Journal mode is still under development and may change in future versions.
Journal mode is enabled with the control !journal in
When journal mode is enabled, the data from
info.dat is considered to be a series of paragraphs. Paragraphs are separated using one or more empty lines.
The first line of a paragraph may contain image info, preceeded by an asterisk and whitespace. For example:
!journal !tag 2004/06/01 A bright, shiny day. * im023.jpg Sunrise This morning, we were surprised by a fantastic sunrise like we have never seen before. * im024.jpg Overview This picture shows an overview of the area.
This way it is possible to attach extended pieces of text to a images.
An additional series of pages is generated, the journal pages. Each journal page contains the extended text and thumbnail images of all entries that belong to a single tag. The idea is that the tags are dates, and each journal page contains the text and images of a single day.
If the extended text starts with
< it is assumed to be HTML and included literally.
The medium and large image pages have an additional icon to jump to the journal entry for an image. The extended text can be also viewed on the medium and large image pages when the mouse is placed over the info at the right side above the image, e.g.,
My First Album: Image 1 of 9.
Note that journal mode can not be mixed with normal mode.
Warning: External formats and style sheets are still under development and may change in future versions.
Internally, 'album' uses formats (templates) to build the generated HTML pages, and cascading style sheets (CSS) to specify how the browser should show the pages. Formats and style sheets can be exported (written to external directories), and 'album' will then use the external information. So you can have ultimate control over how pages must look like.
When 'album' is run with --extformats it will create a directory 'formats' and, in this directory, the HTML templates for all types of pages that 'album' will generate. Existing files in this directory will not be overwritten, so it is safe to change the templates to your liking. When 'album' is run again to process images, it will use the templates from the 'formats' directory if they are available.
The templates are plain HTML and contain variables that will be substituted with actual values. Some of the variables are:
The title of the album.
The code to get the style sheet of this page. This can be in-line specifications, or a link to an external stylesheet.
Index and image pages only: The text above each image, left.
Index and image pages only: The text above each image, right.
The navigation buttons, arranged vertically.
The navigation buttons, arranged horizontally.
Image pages only: The actual image.
Image pages only: The text below the image, left.
Image pages only: The text below the image, right.
Index pages only: The table with all the images for this page.
Journal pages only: The tag for this page.
Journal pages only: The journal for this page.
When 'album' is run with --extcss it will create a directory 'css' and, in this directory, the css style sheets for all types of pages that 'album' will generate. Existing files in this directory will not be overwritten, so it is safe to change the templates to your liking. When 'album' is run again to process images, it will use the external style sheets if they are available.
To obtain good results, the style sheets must match the formats. 'album' will try to verify this by reading the first line of the style sheets and the formats, and verify that it contains a version indication of the form
ALBUM-FMT-VERSION: <major>.<minor> (for formats) ALBUM-CSS-VERSION: <major>.<minor> (for style sheets)
For all style sheet - format pairs, the major numbers must be the same.
Older versions of 'album' always created external style sheets. As a consequence, if you upgrade to the newer version, you'll get a fatal error the first time you run 'album'.
************************************************************************* Existing style sheet ... is not compatible with this version. It has probably been created by an older version of this program, or it has been modified manually. If you did not change any style sheets, just remove the css directory and try again. If you did modify the style sheets move them away to a backup location, run the program with '--extcss', and apply your changes to the new style sheets. *************************************************************************
We apologise for the inconvenience.
While browsing the album, some actions can be performed from the keyboard.
Enter key will go to an enlarged version of the image, if available.
Space key will advance to the next page.
Backspace key will advance to the previous page.
d will go to the index page.
u will go up, i.e., the reverse of the
j will go to the journal entry of the current image.
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.
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
gif for images,
avi for movies, and
htm for links.
Johan Vromans (email@example.com) wrote this module.
This program is Copyright 2004,2007 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.