Pierrick on Piwigo

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Dropbox, data ownership, who cares?

Dropbox, the famous storage solution in the cloud, has announced this week-end a change in their Terms Of Use. I hope I understood correctly: by signing up on dropbox.com, Dropbox gets the right to use content uploaded by users. Dropbox doesn’t own your files, they just can “use” it. It doesn’t mean that Dropbox will start to sell your photos, videos and confidential documents you have sent on their server, it just means they can “use” them. Facebook, Picasa Web Albums by Google, Flickr by Yahoo… they all have the same kind of conditions in their Terms Of Use.

I work in the “hosting content” business and maybe what’s obvious for me is not that obvious for the average user: nothing is free. If you don’t pay for your 2GB of storage, you have to wonder how the provider pays his own bills! So when a provider doesn’t ask you for money, he asks for something else. The right to use your data the way they want, for example. Displaying targetted advertisements is another example.

So who cares? I thought that “nearly nobody” was the right answer, until I saw a huge number of messages on Twitter saying “today I close my Dropbox account, I disagree with their new TOS”. Actually, it seems that “a few people” care. See also blog posts Put it in the Cloud? Are You Nuts?Oh Dropbox, We Loved You Once…I’ve deleted my Dropbox account or the  less “panic” style Dropbox, cloud storage, and who owns your files?

For example, if you want to share your photos, publicly or privately, what’s the solution if you want to keep your full right of use on your own photos?

  1. host it by yourself. You can use a software like Piwigo: download it from Piwigo.org (Zenphoto or Menalto Gallery are also fine)
  2. if you don’t want to host it by yourself, you can open an account on Piwigo.com: this is not free, that’s €39/year, but we don’t use your data.

In the end I think that “no so many people” care, but we hear them on Twitter, and it’s good to know that some solutions exist for them.

Written by plg

July 4, 2011 at 1:46 pm

Piwigo.com gets its own blog

Another step for Piwigo.com with a dedicated blog. Because I really appreciate the user experience on WordPress.com I’ve decided to use a self-hosted WordPress.

Piwigo.com gets its own blog, powered by WordPress

Piwigo.com gets its own blog, powered by WordPress

Why not another WordPress.com account:

  1. I wanted no ads (the No-Ads upgrade costs $30)
  2. I wanted a perfect integration with other pages on Piwigo.com  (the Custom Design upgrade costs $30)
  3. I wanted it on URL piwigo.com/blog (not possible with WordPress.com) or at least on blog.piwigo.com ($12 on WordPress.com)

Considering that we have a dedicated server for Piwigo.com presentation website and because I have the skills to run a web application, paying an additional $72/year does not really makes sense.

I’ve installed WordPress 3.1.3. I wanted to customize header, footer and CSS. Just like Piwigo, WordPress has child themes : I have created the “piwigo.com” theme, with twentyten as template (as “parent” theme). As my customizations are only made on my own theme, I won’t have to care about losing them on future upgrades of WordPress.

Compared to my WordPress.com blog, the one you’re reading right now on piwigo.wordpress.com, I’ve lost the great WP Stats feature. I may reactivate it with the Jetpack package but I will rely on Piwik statistics for now.

Note: Jetpack is a collection of WordPress plugins designed by Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com, founded by Matt Mullenweg, co-founder of WordPress. Jetpack is active on all WordPress.com blogs.

Does that mean this blog will be closed? No, absolutely not. I won’t write about topics like new releases or specific features on the Piwigo.com blog, so I still need a place for this kind of post!

Read Piwigo.com Blog →

Written by plg

June 28, 2011 at 8:57 pm

Featured Galleries on Piwigo.com

A new page was added on Piwigo.com: Featured Galleries (or nice examples). We start with a short list of 12 galleries. I will add some new featured galleries next days.

Featured Galleries on Piwigo.com

Featured Galleries on Piwigo.com

In addition to the new dedicated page, Piwigo.com home page displays 3 random featured galleries.

Featured Galleries on Piwigo.com Home Page

Congratulations to the first 12 galleries listed!

Written by plg

June 22, 2011 at 3:22 pm

Posted in piwigo.com

Tagged with , ,

Piwigo 2.2 on piwigo.com

For a week, all new Piwigo.com accounts are based on Piwigo 2.2. From today all “old” accounts have been migrated to Piwigo 2.2 as well.

The first question you may have is: why do Piwigo.com accounts had to wait for 6 weeks to run on Piwigo. 2.2? the answer : because of themes and plugins compatibility. There are 37 plugins and 23 themes available on Piwigo.com and we have been waiting for Piwigo 2.2 compatibility on all of them before starting migration. Because this wait has lasted a bit too long while many accounts could have been migrated earlier, I have coded a “filtered migration tool”: depending on the themes and plugins active on your gallery, your account is migrated or not. This way, your Piwigo.com gallery may be migrated much earlier for Piwigo 2.3 🙂

So what’s new on Piwigo 2.2 compared to Piwigo 2.1:

  • easier photo upload for your visitors (your family or friends for example) thanks to plugin “Community”, no need to use pLoader, an advanced web form is available
  • the photo batch manager gets a new design to make it easier of use
  • ability to remove or downsize your high definition photos
  • automatic rotation on your photos uploaded with the web form
  • improved compatibility with remote tools like Lightroom or Shotwell (no need to activate the pwg.images.addSimple plugin)
  • advanced use: ability to edit your own CSS rules with plugin LocalFiles Editor
  • if you have selected themes Stripped or Gally*, new configuration settings are available to customize your gallery

There are many more interesting improvements, you can read the full list on Piwigo 2.2.0 release notes.

Written by plg

May 23, 2011 at 7:56 pm

Fotopic.net has closed down

Last week on Piwigo.com contact form, we’ve received several questions from customers of Fotopic.net. They told us that their photo sharing website had closed down. Of course they are searching for a replacement. Here is an anonymous extract of a message we’ve received:

My question is if I sign up for your site, like it and pay a subscription, will it be reliable?  It takes a lot of hours creating a nice site and disappointing to lose it. Hope you do not mind the question but I am having difficulty finding a suitable replacement to the defunct fotopic.

And my answer looks like:

I perfectly understand your concern about reliability and sustainability. Piwigo.com is a commercial offer, so we can’t promise we will last for a hundred years (not even Microsoft or Google could promise that) but we have a major advantage compared to our competitors: Piwigo.com is based on Piwigo and Piwigo is a free software (open source).

It means that in case you’re not satisfied with Piwigo.com services or if Piwigo.com is closing for any reason, you can get your data back, including photos, user comments, visit history… and move your gallery on any other host and you won’t lose anything

(the best is to have your own domain name so that your visitors won’t have to find your new address if one day you decide to move)

This is what I call the no vendor lock-in advantage! I truly believe it makes a big difference with any other photo sharing website.

Written by plg

April 18, 2011 at 1:06 pm

Posted in piwigo.com

Tagged with ,

Piwigo.com and other photo sharing websites

There are plenty of photo sharing solutions over the web. You can find social networks dedicated to photography or social networks with a photo album option. Some of them are free for a limited storage space and propose paid upgrades for more storage and/or display advertisements all around your photos. Other ask for money and offer unlimited storage with no advertisement and full size photo. The user has the choice, and that’s a good thing!

Basically Piwigo.com is a hassle-free hosted Piwigo for $39/year with unlimited storage, no ads, 30 day trial period, automatic backups and upgrades. This doesn’t make Piwigo.com really unique, does it? So what makes Piwigo.com different from other photo sharing websites?

Piwigo.com Homepage, March 2011

Piwigo.com Homepage, March 2011

We respect your privacy. Our goal is to provide a creation and hosting service for photo galleries, not a pretext to gather and sell as many personnal data as possible.

Sustainability and no vendor lock-in. You can get your data back: photos, albums, tags, descriptions, visit history…. and install Piwigo for free (with Piwigo.org) on any other web hosting provider. This one is probably what makes Piwigo.com really unique and I’m very proud of it.

Keep control on your photos. You remain proprietary of your photos. In no way you transfer the property of your photos to Piwigo.com thanks to abusive terms of use that nobody ever read.

Your gallery is customizable. Piwigo.com is not a social network where nothing is more like John’s page than Matt’s page! Combining a theme, a few plugins and display options make your Piwigo gallery unique.

No advertisement. We never display any advertisement on your pages. Only your photos and information you have chosen to display.

Your photos in their original quality. No mandatory reduction on the resolution of your photos. Your photos are just like when you upload them, with no loss in quality.

No requirement for your visitors to register. Your visitors can register with no requirement on your gallery: no need to create an account on a social network or on a search engine.

Real humans for email customer support. A customer support is available by email. You don’t need to ask your questions on a public forum, so don’t hesitate, no question is stupid, we will reply shortly and with a smile 😀

After wondering what we, as users, are expecting from a photo hosting service, we have chosen to provide only paid service because we don’t want to display ads and we don’t want to monetize personnal data.

Piwigo.com Signup Form

Piwigo.com Signup Form

Want to give a try to Piwigo.com?

Written by plg

March 23, 2011 at 9:22 am

3 new demos for Piwigo

One major criticism we receive about the presentation of Piwigo on Piwigo.com, is that you can’t clearly see what can be customized. It is unfortunate because the ability to make each Piwigo gallery unique is one of our key features! So instead of a single demo we now have 4 demos: in addition to the basic demo where you can switch from one theme to another, we have 3 “customized” demos. You can see them all on the new page for demos.

first new demo, homepage and theme Stripped

First new demo, homepage and theme Stripped

In the first new demo, we have used the theme Stripped, which has a fixed width and a 1 clic show/hide menu. This theme doesn’t show the album descriptions next to the album thumbnail so that you can see many albums at once. Plugin Additional Pages was used to create the homepage and we used the nice Zapfino font to create an elegant image banner.

Second new demo, theme "dark" and panoramic photo as banner

Second new demo, theme "dark" and panoramic photo as banner

In the second new demo, we used the theme dark, which has an elastic width (automatically stretched to fit the width of your web browser) and always displays the menubar on the left. We used a panoramic photo as banner: you will need a very large screen to see where it ends. We have added a “welcome” message thanks to PWG Stuffs plugin and a detailed “About this gallery” page thanks to Additional Pages plugin. We also used the Lightbox plugin to hide details when displaying the “web size” photo.

Third new demo, theme Gally Graphite and big thumbnails

Third new demo, theme Gally Graphite and big thumbnails

In the third new demo, we used the theme Gally Graphite (elastic width, 1 clic to show/hide menu) which offers a very “dynamic” display of your photos. We’ve decided to have big thumbnails, ie 250 pixels wide. Just like in demo2, PWG Stuffs plugin displays a welcome message.

We will add some other demos in the future, but for now it already shows you can get some different results depending on the theme, plugins and customization options you choose.

Written by plg

March 15, 2011 at 2:20 pm

Posted in piwigo, piwigo.com

Tagged with ,

Virtualize your categories

In Piwigo, when you transfer photos via FTP in your “galleries” directory and register them with the synchronization process, you create physical categories. This is the way Piwigo has worked in its 8 first years. If I remember correctly, Piwigo 1.3 introduced the virtual categories in 2003. The idea was to create  a logical hierarchy of categories, not related to filetree in the “galleries” directory. With virtual categories came virtual links: a photo can be associated to several categories at once.

The problem with physical categories it the lack of control: for example, you can’t easily move a category. If you move a directory under “galleries”, the synchronization process doesn’t understand that the directory has moved: the category is deleted and another one is created. You lose the photo description, the user comments and so on.

Piwigo 2.0 introduced a new automatic organization for your photos on the server filesystem in 2009. Photos are automatically stored in upload/Year/Month/Day/YearMonthDayHourMinuteSecond-Random.jpg, for example upload/2011/03/08/20110308102611-af34bcc9.jpg. The original filename is registered in the database. Categories are virtual, you can move them the way you want and informations related to photos are never lost. This storage method is used in the web upload form and with all remote softwares like pLoader, Lightroom, Shotwell, Digikam, Jiwigo… Unless you use the synchronization to add photos, there is nothing in your “galleries” directory.

Piwigo.com does not propose the FTP + synchronization method to add photos. Several Piwigo.com users have asked to migrate their Piwigo gallery into Piwigo.com and when we see photos in the “galleries” folder, we use a script to move  files from the “galleries” to the “upload” directory. On Piwigo.org forums we sometimes have the question:

how do I move a category without losing photo properties?

so I’ve decided to convert my Perl script into a Piwigo plugin : Virtualize.

convert manual filetree into automatic filetree

convert manual file tree into automatic file tree

Written by plg

March 8, 2011 at 9:59 am

Posted in piwigo, piwigo.com, plugin

What if Flickr fails?

Two weeks ago, Doc Searls, which is a senior editor for Linux Journal and has many other roles, wrote a blog post that anyone who share photos online should read: What if Flickr fails?

The origin of this question is the:

One cause for worry is reports of sudden and unexplained account deletions.

But I doubt it concerns more than a tiny list of users. Okay it’s really not cool for these users, but I don’t think all Flickr user should fear for deletion. What I think is the most important is:

And the greater risk is not of Flickr’s deletion of customers, but of the market’s deletion of Flickr. Because, after all, Flickr is a business and no business lasts forever.

Then Doc Searls explains the Pro Vs Free accounts and how Flickr generate revenue with Free accounts (with advertisement).  Doc concludes with a solution for the future:

First is to pay more for what’s now free stuff. […] Second is to develop self-hosted versions of Flickr, or the equivalent.

I couldn”t agree more. This is exactly what projects like ZenPhoto, Menalto Gallery and of course Piwigo are trying to propose. The major problem with these systems is that they require higher technical skills because you need to get a hosting provider, install your photo gallery software (with concepts like database settings) before you can host your photos.

This is where Piwigo.com comes into action. Just like WordPress.com let you create a WordPress blog without worrying about technical requirements, Piwigo.com let you create a Piwigo photo gallery with just a 4 fields sign-up form to fill. This is what I explained in my comment to Doc Searls blog post.

Fortunately Flickr has a generous API Garden that does allow the copying off of most (or all) data that goes with your photographs. I’m interested in being able to copy all my photos and metadata off into my own self-hosted system.

Well Okay, you can perform request on an API and hope you will be able to fetch all your data, but for sure the gallery features will be lost : at best you only get your data back. With Piwigo.com you can get your data back and the software as well (from Piwigo.org) and then you can run your photo gallery anywhere you want. This is what we call the no vendor lock-in feature. And YES I think this is an important feature. Piwigo.com has many other features, such as the ability to customize your photo gallery theme but also activate or deactivate features, but I admit I’m very proud of this one.

Piwigo.org to run Piwigo on your own website

Piwigo.com to start a Piwigo photo gallery in a few seconds

Written by plg

January 28, 2011 at 2:41 pm

Posted in piwigo.com, piwigo.org

Tagged with ,

Piwigo.com in italian, german and spanish

In addition to english, french and chinese, Piwigo.com is now available in italian, german and spanish. I’m talking about the presentation and signup website, not about Piwigo itself, which is already available in 30 languages.

Benvenuti a Piwigo.com

Willkommen auf Piwigo.com

Bienvenido sur Piwigo.com

Nice job from translators!

Written by plg

October 16, 2010 at 10:44 pm

Posted in piwigo.com

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