The Little Woman Gets a Database

She’s been accumulating many thousands of images and the rate is accelerating. Big categories are the family, real estate and the grandchild. For serious encounters she has a digital camera but her smart phone is not far behind in production. She already has a local ftp server just to hold them but she has been moving them into folders on her GNU/Linux PC.

The problem is that she has not been indexing them beyond naming the folders. Files like “DSCN1234.JPG” and “2011-10-25%2012.12.55.jpg” are everywhere and to find anything she is a bottleneck needing to know the date or situation for an image. As brilliant as she is in this regard, it’s taking more and more time to find images and she seriously needs to edit images headed to FaceBook.

I tried heavy MySQL-based web applications which would be nice for visitors but she needs something a lot more focussed, like everything on one page. Too much complexity in her apps means too many service calls for me… I am retired.

Shotwell is a fairly light GNOMEish application that works pretty well and has few wrinkles. It uses Sqlite and can compose images and tag them making the results more useful and durable. Tags are full-text searchable but are also displayed in a list for easy navigation. Click on a tag with the pointing device and images with that tag appear. Simple. The “killer” feature? Uploads to FaceBook. Shotwell can import images to a special folder or just keep links in the database. So far, the feedback is that she likes the tags. Once she gets used to it, I could be her hero all over again and all it took was “apt-get install shotwell” thanks to Debian GNU/Linux. If she ever grows to the point she needs an SQL database, she can export (file/publish) to Piwigo as well as FaceBook, tags and all and use MySQL (Piwigo dropped support for PostgreSQL). Hmmm… Maybe I should use this stuff for the pictures for the blog.

Clean and simple layout of Shotwell. Everything in one screen is a huge advantage over web applications IMHO.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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