A very long response to Julian’s photo site requirements

Requirement Flickr Pro

“The images shall be available on the web, accessible by a typical web-browser, without requiring registration for the typical user.” Yes

Print-quality (e.g. 0.5-1.0 MB sized) images shall be available.


Desirable: Archive-quality (e.g. 6-10MB) images shall be stored.


Web-quality (e.g. 30-200 KB) images shall be displayed by default.


It should automatically generated thumbnail and web-quality images based on the originals.


Desirable: Customisation of thumbnails and web-quality images shall be available (e.g. choosing to crop over shrinking.)


Critical: I own all images I upload. Me! Not you! Me!


I own all meta-data that is placed on an image. That’s right. Let’s be clear about this. Me!


“All images and meta-data is either backed up to, synched with or sourced from my hard-drive that I can hold in my hands, read with my own software, and put under my pillow at night.” ? Maybe… kinda

“Don’t waste my time with quotas… Okay, I will accept a quota that is an order of magnitude greater than I will ever use. I currently use 2-3 GB online and 40-50 GB on my hard-drive, so don’t bother me any quota less than 0.5 TB.” Yes

Let me group photographs by event.

Yes – with Sets?

Desirable: Let me group events by type. (e.g. Let the mibologists view all of the Mibology Conventions.)

Yes – with collections or groups?

I need the ability to tag who is in the photograph.

Kinda – with tagging conventions

“I also want to tag places, pets, things and activities.” Kinda – with tagging conventions

Desirable: Being able to tag particular parts of the photo.

Yes – Notes

I would like the ability for other people to tag my photos.

No – but comments and notes are available

“Sometimes, I will only know the person’s first name. Sometimes, I will know their name, email address, web-site, Facebook ID, etc.” No

There will be multiple different people with the same name; let me add secret comments to remind me which one is which.


“Their email address should never be published on the web, but a link to their web-site should be!” No – other than comments/notes

“Sometimes, I will correct a person’s detail. It should update everywhere.” No – but tagging conventions maybe

A key reason for tagging is so people can find other photos of the same person.

No – but perhaps tagging conventions…

Even in different albums on my site.

No – see above

“Desirable: Even on different web-sites, such as Flickr or Facebook.” …

Some photos are not suitable for wide distribution. Have some decent concept of privacy. Think about Google when you come up with that.

“Yes – rough authorization controls and “”passes”” ”

I want to tell people when photos of them become available. No-one has ever complained to me that such an email is spam.


Comments can be fun


Comments only work if you can subscribe to comments; especially if you are in the photo!

No – aggregate rss for activity on photostream

“Sometimes, I am not the photographer; let me assign credit.” No

“Sometimes, the photographer is not the copyright owner. Let me assign ownership.” No

“I often take lots (way lots) of photographs. Big collections of photographs can be boring and scare people off. The perceived quality of the album is (I believe) proportional to the average quality of the photographs, not the size. Thus, adding photographs to an album may actually reduce its overall value. Therefore, I want to be able to rate the quality of the photographs, and only present the best ones to the casual user. Interested parties should be able to lower the quality threshold to see more.” No

Read my EXIF data; particularly date and time info.


“Desirable: Some control over the ordering. Particularly, I do not want to be forced to have photographs sorted by time-stamp.” Yes

Support search of tags


Support search of album names


I need to be able to find an original photo on my hard-drive based on an edited on-line photograph. Store some meta-data to help me do that.

No… maybe a description convention?

Help me out with the tags; I shouldn’t need to re-type the whole tag every time.


Be wary that I have over a thousand different tags. You need to scale!

“Unknown, but probably”

Let me keep images in a draft state until I am ready to publish them.

Yes – permission settings/collections

“Desirable: RSS and ATOM feeds, for the win!” Yes

Next and Previous buttons when looking at a large image.


Desirable: Slideshows


Desirable: Don’t be scared to put more than 5 thumbnails on a page.


Fast viewing is good. Super-Duper fast viewing is perfect.


Cheap is good. Free is perfect. The biggest issue with “cheap” is that one day it might become expensive.

“Yes, for pre-retirement values of cheap”

I already have a decent web-host. The incremental financial cost of hosting another application is pretty close to zero.


“I take many photos, which makes optimising the administration work-flow important. About 1 minute face-time per photograph would be desirable.” “Yes – Offline uploadr software is pretty efficient, and you can write your own with the API..”

“I want to see constant improvement to the software, while I sleep.” Yes

Mandatory: Ability to migrate from my old software to the new system: That means an API of some description. That also means having tags that are not limited to some part of the photograph.

“Yes – API, tags and notes”

“My current software permits me to construct a URL like so: example.com/allPhotosOf/KeanuReeves. That way, if I am ever at a party with Keanu Reeves, I can tell him the URL to see all the photos of him, without needing access to a computer. That’s nice (and relies on a search and non-clashing subject names!). It is desirable to be able to keep doing similar things.” Maybe – like here?

“If you are going to keep viewing metrics, the metric I want to optimise is “How long does a visitor stay?” so be sure to tell me that.” No

Anti-requirement: You might need the ability to do simple edits to the photos online. I don’t; I use Photoshop.


Basic support for video would be desirable.

Yes – up to 90seconds for now

“Within the definition of an event, you should be able to link across to other photo databases of the same event.” ?