Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Announcing F-Spot Live Web Gallery extension

I am happy to announce a new extension for F-Spot, the popular Linux photo management application - LiveWebGallery. Once installed, invoke it from the Tools menu in F-Spot's main window.

The extension contains a minimal web server implementation that serves the user's gallery over HTTP and can be viewed with any web browser, even on Mac and Windows. So now you are able to easily share your photos with family, friends, colleagues no matter what operating system and software they use by doing just a few mouse clicks in F-Spot. The only requirement is that they have to be on the same network, or be able to access your machine's IP address in some other way.

As you can see in the screenshot, you can choose whether to share photos with a particular tag, current view in F-Spot (allows you to create an arbitrary query) or the currently selected photos.

To activate the gallery (start the embedded lightweight web server), just click activate button in the top-right corner. On activation, the URL of the web gallery will appear, allowing you either to open it yourself or copy the link and provide to other viewers.

After that all the options can still be changed in the dialog and will affect all new viewers or those pressing the browser's reload button.

Most of us already know that many pictures are rarely viewed after they are made (Point, Shoot, Kiss It Goodbye). F-Spot tries to fix this with its very powerful tagging features - tags make it much easier to find photos made long ago. This, however, is no magic - the possibilities of finding the right photos when needed depends on how well you tag. Now, this extension allows to make tagging even more useful, because other people can help you with the most difficult part - properly tagging can sometimes be a lot of work. With this extension, you can delegate some it to other people! The gallery is not read-only - if you choose so, an editable tag can be selected and viewers can add/remove this tag from photos (currently only in the full photo view). This is especially useful to let other people to tag themselves in your library. For security reasons, editing is disabled by default.

As time goes by, a lot more features can be added to Live Web Gallery extension, especially related to editing photo metadata (tagging, editing descriptions, flagging for deletion).

As far as I know, being able to share your photos on the local network without any software or OS requirements is a unique feature of F-Spot now. No other photo management application can do this to date.


The source code is on Gitorious, live_web_gallery branch (until is has been merged to the mainline).

To install, use the Edit->Manage Extensions menu in the F-Spot, click on Install Add-ins and then Refresh. After that LiveWebGallery should be available under the Tools category.

Or, alternatively, you can download the precompiled binary and put it to:
~/.config/f-spot/addins or /usr/lib/f-spot/extensions

Note: F-Spot 0.6 is required for it to work. You can already find deb/rpm packages for F-Spot 0.6 or 0.6.1 for most distributions and it will be included in the upcoming distro releases this autumn.

Hopefully, the extension will later be distributed with newer versions of F-Spot by default.

Enjoy! Comments are welcome!