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File manager user interface

DAlbum user interface and model of operation was copied from a file manager. There is a tree of directories on the left, and thumbnails displayed on the right.

This similarity goes beyound user interface. DAlbum expects images to be stored as you probably have them already - in a system of nested directories and subdirectories.

For example:

Serving images

Album users have access to only two DAlbum pages. The first page is index page with tree view and thumbnails. The second page is displayed when user clicks on the thumbnail and shows a large version of the image.

Every image is stored in DAlbum in maximum three different sizes:

  • Original - the way it was uploaded.
  • Resized - is created when the Original is too large to be displayed in browser. Default size of this image is 800x600, but this can be changed.
  • Thumbnail - is displayed on the index page. Default size is 128x128.

Resized image is not created if the Original is small enough (i.e. smaller than 800x600 by default). Thumbnail is created even if the Original is smaller than thumbnail size.

Images are resized in advance by album reindexing procedure. Resampling of an average 3 Megapixel image requires up to 2 seconds on PentiumIV-1.5MHz so it would not be possible to do it "on fly".

Sorting images and directories

Exactly as many file managers do, DAlbum orders images and directories in alphabetical order of their filenames. This way images produced by modern digital cameras as "IMG_0001","IMG_0002" are sorted automatically. Things get worse with custom filenames. In the example above album "Birthday 2003" is displayed above "Christmas 2002" although chronologically it must be vice versa.

Solution is obvious - either a new level of subdirectories is produced:

Or a date is added before the folder name:

Please note that only filenames will have the leading digits - it is possible to change album and image titles aftewards to produce a tree as follows:

Leading digits can also be removed automatically by using a method described in FAQ.

Another suggestion is not to use spaces and special characters in names of files and directories as these names will be used in a page url.

For example, if a directory is named "2002-Christmas-2002", the produced URL to it would be http://www.mysite.com/index.php?folder=2003-Christmas-2002. It certainly looks better than the URL for "2002 Christmas 2002" - http://www.mysite.com/index.php?folder=2002%20Christmas2%202002.