Picture Perfect!

Posted on Friday 10 October 2008

I was working on a new website that one of my daughters had wanted me to set up and one of the things she really wanted was to showcase all the cakes that she has made.

I did my homework and found several really good java scripts that did exactly what I wanted. They were easy to set up and modify and gave me a great looking slideshow embedded on  her home page. If you want to do something like this, then I recommend that you check out avascriptkit.com’s website.

She took one look at it and told me, no… she wanted a photo album that she could build upon… This was a double challenge now, because while it may be “simple” to create a photo album in HTML, and/or Java, allowing her to update it on her own would be a MAJOR Challenge.

So once again I was looking for something new, a dynamic but simple photo album creating tool, that she could use and update without me getting involved or having to recode it each time….AND hopefully find it for free!

I’m pleased to say that I found one, and not only does it do exactly what I wanted it to do, it creates amazingly beautiful albums as well! It is called Photo! Web Album and it is one of a suite of free Photography tools available from VicMan Software.

This package of course runs in Windows and is extremely simple to operate. You just choose the template ( it comes with about 8 and another 20 or so that can be downloaded of the net. ) Then just choose the pictures you want and voila “instant photo album.

It’s preview mode shows you exactly what the web page will look like when you are done. The package even comes with a tutorial so that you will get quickly up to speed and comfortable manipulating the pictures ( there is even a built in picture editor that you can use as you add your pictures. )

Once you have chosen your template, there isn’t much more to do. Except name your album, and set your home page ( or the page you wish to return to when leaving the album. ) This is actually my biggest/only complaint with the package – you can’t modify any of the templates, nor create new ones! I sent their help-desk an email asking about this limitation and/or workarounds and never got a reply.

It is possible ( but not for the faint of heart ) to do some minor changes “behind the scenes” by editing the “default.css” style sheet for a particular template. You will find them located in ( based on WIndows XP – Vista may be different ) C: -> “Documents and Settings” -> “Your Account Name” -> “Application Data” -> “Photo! Web Album” -> “Design Templates” -> “Template Name” -> “styles”.

The other portions of the template can also be found her ( various .gif files and the like ) but for whatever reason the program has difficulty reading or using any of the changed pieces. Manually adjust or change those as you wish.

Once you have finished with your creation you will have two options for publishing the album. One is locally on your computer, which you will then have to upload later ( and in this case set up an account on the website for my daughter etc etc ) or you can publish it to Vicman’s own Pho.to website ( an account is required on Pho.to to do this – but is free. )

Once your pho.to account is set up the process of publishing to it is very straightforward within the software and much, much faster than doing a transfer of all the files to your own web server. When it is done, the software will then give you several “coding” options that you can copy directly into your web page and other internet objects. I incorporated the link given for the photo album into her website and it is seamless and perfect, with the homepage returning any viewer back to the original website.

My daughter is extremely pleased and is planning a huge layout as her cake photography continues… it’s a major success – so much so that now my other daughter is considering doing the same… so it goes… who ever said that one becomes even more busy once one has retired – was right!

Oh, and if you want to check out her onlime photo album you can do so by clicking here…

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