Disclaimer: This is a medium-length entry about photo sharing on the web and the merits of one popular platform versus a more hetergenous and open approach. If you haven’t heard of Flikr and you don’t remember what wabson used to be like back in the good ol’ days, then the following probably won’t interest you. Otherwise, please read on.
Unlike many people I know, it’s only recently that I’ve started actively using Flickr to share my photos on the web. Before that most of you will remember that I used to blog the occasional photo by uploading JPEG files through WordPress, and that before that I had a cool home-grown PHP solution that got trashed when I decided it was all a bit too much effort to maintain after all.
I resisted using Flikr until now – even though it would have no doubt made my life much easier – for a few reasons.
- You have to be a registered Flickr/Yahoo! member in order to comment on other people’s photos. I don’t like shutting people out from my work, simply because they choose not to use Yahoo’s services.
- I don’t like the idea of my photos being owned (or at least appearing to be owned) by some third party. My blog is hosted on my own domain (and not, say, with Blogger) and I like the feeling of independence that gives me.
- I find the Flikr interface sometimes difficult to navigate and inconsistent – why do I get a column of medium sized pictures in one page and a grid of small thumbnails with another, for instance?
Granted, Flickr is a great tool for sharing photos with others and has built a huge and enthusiastic community around that, but should that community be limited to signed up (and in a lot of cases paid up) members of Yahoo! Inc.?
Take blogs as a counter-example. We in the Planet Afterlife circle have our own blogs all hosted across different servers in different parts of the world and use different software to manage them, but it’s still a successful community, right? Afterlife continues to pull in these heterogeneous sources of literary profoundness thanks to Laurie and that works pretty well, doesn’t it?
I’ve started thinking again along the lines of “why can’t I have my photos hosted on my own domain?”. The previous incarnations of wabson with photo management functionality built in also worked pretty well for some time, so could I perhaps somehow ressurect that functionality?
The code would no doubt need some modification to get it working again, and there may be some issues with the new web host. It would also likely need some work to clean up the interface and separate it from the integrated blogging tools that never were quite up to scratch. But it could be done.
The only question is – is it really worth it? I might well do it anyway just to see if I can produce an open source web app that’s less annoying to use than Flickr, but I’d be interested to know how many of the people who used wabson so enthusiastically in the old days would use it again in whatever revamped form it takes? I’m not asking you dump Flikr, just perhaps for a bit of help in testing whatever I manage to produce.
And yes – I may even put the old photos back up 🙂