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For a while now I have been thinking about getting my photos organized on the computer but it is such a daunting task that I have been putting it off and off. A couple of days ago I ran into a website which mentioned a photo library written in PHP for MySQL which could be used to catalogue photos and search through them.I did a wider search on the net and found a large number of other Open Source projects which were doing the same thing,so I sorted through them by looking for the ones which had been regularly updated and had the ability to store and search EXIF data and I ended up with the following candidates: Zoph, OSIC and LinPHA.

I started with LinPHA which looks quite good but had a lot of troubles after the installation. I am running Suse 10.1 on the Linux box and I think LinPHA was not developed under that platform, there seemed to be a problem with some of the files which needed to be included for PHP to connect to the database. Anyway after banging my head against this problem for a couple of hours I moved onto Zoph.

I had some login issues but eventually got it working only to find that the importing of the photos was very strange and not very nice to use. So I moved on to OSIC. It got this one working without too much trouble (probably because of the experience gained from the other installs) and it looks more organized than Zoph but it is still a young project and didn’t have all the EXIF features that I needed so after hours of wrestling with the Linux box I decided to get some sleep and to go back to LinPHA tomorrow and try to fix whatever it was that was breaking it.

It is amazing how some problems don’t look as daunting with a fresh mind. I did some searching on the LinPHA forum and found that someone else was having the same problem and there was a fix. Just uncommenting a line in that PHP file and commenting one in this PHP file and LinPHA was ALIVE! For a while anyway, it broke again when I tried uploading some images but this time I was better prepared, did some searching for include files and made sure they were all going from the TOPDIR of the web server and that fixed the problem.

Now I have started the huge task of going through all the photos, categorizing them and adding keywords to them, once this is done I will be a able to search through the photos by just typing a keyword and LinPHA will search the filenname, description and the EXIF data for a match. It will be great for my partner H as well, she is studying Graphic Design and they use photos all the time and it would be great to have her own searchable photo library. I want to use this database to make a travel website that I have been thinking about since we came back from India, but that will take a while…

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