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Camera Life: The very picture of photo serving software

Lots of people use online photo-sharing sites, but they often have limitations, and may not scale well for people who post large numbers of images. If you want full control of your own work, try Camera Life. It allows you to organize your photos on a PHP/MySQL site that you operate, like better-known competitor Gallery, a former SourceForge.net Project of the Month.

Project leader Will Entriken says, “We copied a few of the competition’s best features: compatibility with Gallery Remote for photo uploads right from iPhoto, DigiKam, and Picasa; configurable themes; and a modular code base. But unlike the competition, a Camera Life site can be installed in two steps, not 11; it comes with a sensible set of default settings including support for Amazon S3 storage; and there is direct access to the lead developer.”

Camera Life can also act as a proxy, allowing you to store your photos on one server (such as Amazon S3 or an FTP site) and host the site from another. This can be useful if you have 1TB of photos on your file server and your web server has limited resources.

“The project started in 2001 as a experiment in bash scripting and was rewritten for PHP using feedback from my first users,” Entriken says. “The project uses PHP and MySQL and takes advantage of new metadata technologies as they become available: OpenSearch, RSS, sitemap, hCard, and so forth.” Coming up in future releases are better EXIF and metadata support, compatibility with Gallery themes, and internationalization. “The latter two we need help with – ideally from someone who could write a guiding document explaining a lot of the details and who has seen our codebase. I do not expect patches for this; guidance would be great. Otherwise, feedback from users to the lead developer is appreciated.”