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.