Automatically adding photos to Flickr photosets

I’m quite lazy when it comes to organising my photos into photosets on Flickr.

The whole process has always been a bit too manual for my liking.

It’s been on my todo list to find a way of automating it so this weekend I tried to do just that.

My thinking was to somehow link my photosets to the tags I already use for my photos. These are set when I upload from my photo database (photodb).

I know Flickr Set Manager already does this but I wanted something integrated into my photo database.

I’d already decided I didn’t want to store details of the photosets in my database as it would be a maintenance pain if I removed a set.

Plus I’d need to write some code and web pages for managing it all.

As I was pondering alternatives I had the idea to add some metadata to a photoset description on Flickr then parse and match on that in my app.

Cluttering up my set description with such metadata was a little messy but as you can’t add tags to sets it seemed the simplest way.

The basic plan then was to load all my photosets from Flickr when I chose to upload a photo.

Then parse the set descriptions for my metadata and match that against my photo’s tags.

This would then pre-select those sets in a multi-choice select box displayed on my upload page.

I could then de-select any incorrect choices and choose additional sets too.

Once I had knocked together a little prototype it occurred to me that as I store lots of other metadata about my photos I could automatically add to sets based on all sorts of criteria.

So I set about feeding location data, camera and film information into it too.

The really nice part about this solution is that if I want to create a new set based on a particular location or new camera I just need to add an entry into the set description and it all “just works”.

I mentioned above my plan to use a multiple choice select box – I forgot to mention how much I hate them though. Luckily for me I’m not the only one who hates them.

This article talks about various alternatives – the best one for me being the jquery-asmselect plugin which provides a clean and elegant solution to the problem.

Of course; all this only works for newly added photos. What about the 2000+ photos I already have on Flickr?

I need some sort of batch process to re-organise my existing photos.

Fortunately I’ve already written something similar for tagging photos which I can re-use.

Finally, here’s how it looks on screen.

If you click through to the photo on Flickr you’ll see notes I’ve added to explain things in more detail.