My New Gallery (and why Flickr is relevant again)

I've once again changed my gallery.  But this time I think I'm going to keep it for a while.

This is in fact the fourth photo gallery I have hosted online.  I've also blogged about it - over and over and over.  

The first was a web app called Coppermine.  That marked my beginning as a "pro-am" photographer; I sold photos through that gallery and hosted wedding photos, although I never really made any money from it.  Also, Coppermine is a very "nerdy" piece of software and the interface was cluttered with features that no one would ever use (except me).  Coppermine was also the first time I created a custom theme for a web app, to match my blog (Wordpress at the time).

The replacement was a cleaner web app called Gallery.  It integrated well with Drupal, which was useful as I upgraded from WP to D6 at the same time.  That was also my first experience with web app integration; Gallery integrated with Drupal through a module, and with my desktop photo software, Digikam.  The problem: both Gallery and Drupal got old.  Gallery 2 has been replaced by Gallery 3, and Drupal 6 has been replaced by Drupal 7.  So I was stuck using two antiquated pieces of software, neither of which had an upgrade path.  Over time they required more and more maintenance just to function, to the point where I gave up.

My next solution was a home-grown gallery using the Gallery Assist module with Image Fuploader.  Blessedly, it worked with D6.  The problem: it too is finicky.  Sometimes it simply doesn't work.  I'm not interested in spending more effort on yet another antiquated piece of software.

Enter Flickr.

I've been using Flickr for years, but never seriously.  The problem: they had limits on how many photos you could upload per month, how many photos you could upload total, and how much memory they could take.  But they just raised the limit to unlimited photos with up to 1 terabyte of storage.  That's spectacular.  None of the other online photo websites offer that kind of storage, certainly not for free.  At the same time, Flickr revamped their entire interface to make it modern and sexy, and released a mobile app too.  The result is that Flickr is relevant again, just as people were announcing its demise to younger photo services like Tumblr and Pinterest.  But Flickr's relevance goes beyond the photoblogging world.

Flickr used to be a perfect example of what was wrong with Yahoo.  Flickr began life as an independent company but was snarfed up by Yahoo back when Yahoo was still king of the internet (yes, it happened).  However, Yahoo never really knew what to do with Flickr, just like the rest of their online services.  As the internet giant slowly crumbled, Flickr was told to go stand in the corner and not make a sound.  It became symbolic of Yahoo's stubborn refusal to capitalize on their own awesomeness, insisting instead of a slow inexorable march toward irrelevance.

But then along came a new CEO.  She was young and good looking and had a pedigree from Google.  A year later, Flickr completely revamped its image, and now offers a service light years beyond its competition.  At the same time it stayed true to its roots, and still offers all the amazing features it used to.  If this is a sign of things to come for Yahoo, we should all be very excited.

So, what does it mean for me?  Well, both Drupal (my website) and Digikam (my desktop photo app) have excellent support for Flickr.  These aren't old pieces of software that aren't being supported any more; these are large projects with a good deal of ongoing community support.  Right now it all works flawlessly and I expect it will continue to.

Now, when I upload a gallery to Flickr, I can simply make a post on my website and it will link to the Flickr gallery.  These posts will be linked on my home page, Nathan's page, and Aaron's page.  I can simultaneously upload to Facebook, if I want.

So: here's my new gallery.  Here's my Flickr page.  If you're curious, you can still check out my old Gallery2 gallery and my custom Drupal gallery.  Now that I have a solution that works (and works well), I intend to upload photos more often.  Stay tuned.  :-)