Apache::Album - Simple mod_perl Photo Album


Add to httpd.conf

 <Location /albums>
   SetHandler perl-script
   PerlHandler Apache::Album
#   PerlSetVar  AlbumDir            /albums_loc
#   PerlSetVar  ThumbNailUse        Width  
#   PerlSetVar  ThumbNailWidth      100
#   PerlSetVar  ThumbNailAspect     2/11
#   PerlSetVar  ThumbDir            /thumbs
#   PerlSetVar  DefaultBrowserWidth 640
#   PerlSetVar  NumberOfColumns     0
#   PerlSetVar  OutsideTableBorder  0
#   PerlSetVar  InsideTablesBorder  0
#   PerlSetVar  SlideShowDelay      60
#   PerlSetVar  BodyArgs            BGCOLOR=white
#   PerlSetVar  Footer              "<EM>Optional Footer Here</EM>"
#   PerlSetVar  EditMode            0
#   PerlSetVar  AllowFinalResize    0
#   PerlSetVar  ReverseDirs         0
#   PerlSetVar  ReversePics         0


This is a simple photo album. You simply copy some gif's/jpeg's to a directory, create an optional text block (in a file called caption.txt) to go at the top, and the module does the rest. It does however require that PerlMagick be installed.

Default settings in the httpd.conf file may be overriden by using .htaccess files.


  perl Makefile.PL
  make install

(no test necessary)


The configuration can be a little tricky, so here is a little more information. It's important to realize that there are two separate, but related directories. One is where the physical pictures reside, the other is where the "virtual" albums reside.

Consider a filesystem called /albums exists and it is this filesystem that will house the images. Also consider that multiple people will have albums there, so you would create a directory for each user:


Then in your httpd.conf file you would have the following entry to allow pictures in those directories to be viewed:

  Alias /jdw /albums/jdw/

At this point you could view a full sized picture under the directory /albums/jdw/albums_loc as the url /jdw/albums_loc.

To have an album that creates thumbnails/captions of those pictures you would need an entry like:

 <Location /jdw/albums>
  SetHandler perl-script
  AllowOverride None
  Options None
  PerlHandler Apache::Album
  PerlSetVar  AlbumDir /jdw/albums_loc
  PerlSetVar  Footer   "<a href=\"\">Jim Woodgate</a>"

Note how AlbumDir points to the url where the files exist, and the url you use to access the album will be just like that url, only substituting albums for albums_loc.

If anyone knows of a way to accomplish this same thing, but using a DirectoryIndex instead, please let me know. I tried and could not get it to work!


This module sets up a virtual set of photo albums starting at the Location definition. This virtual directory is mapped to a physical directory under AlbumDir. Under AlbumDir create a sub-directory for each photo album, and copy image files into each subdirectory. You must also make the permissions for each subdirectory so that the id which runs Apache can write to the directory.

At this point, if you have PerlMagick installed, you can go to Apache::Album will create thumbnails for each of the images, and send the caption.txt file along with the thumbnails to the client's browser. The thumbnails are links to the full sized images.

The caption.txt file

The caption.txt file consists of two parts. The first part is text/html that will be placed at the top of the html document. The second part is a mapping of filenames to captions. The module will do some simple mangling of the image file names to create the caption. But if it finds a mapping in the caption.txt file, that value is used instead. The value __END__ signifies the end of the first section and the beginning of the second.

  For example:

  Image   -> Bob_and_Jenny.jpg
  Caption -> Bob and Jenny       (the auto-generated caption)

  override in caption.txt
  Bob_and_Jenny.jpg: This is me with my sister <EM>Jenny</EM>.

Here is a sample caption.txt file:

  <H1>My Birthday Party</H1>

  <center>This is me at my Birthday Party!.</center>

  pieinface.gif: Here's me getting hit the face with a pie.
  john5.jpg: This is <A HREF="">John</A>
ThumbNail Types

ThumbNailUse can either be set to "width" or "aspect". If ThumbNailUse is set to "width", thumbnails that need to be created will be ThumbNailWidth wide, and the height will be modified to keep the same aspect as the original image.

If ThumbNailUse is set to "aspect", thumbnails that need to be created will be transformed by the value of ThumbNailAspect. ThumbNailAspect can be either a floating point number like 0.25 or it can be a ratio like 2 / 11.

If an image file is updated, the corresponding thumbnail file will be updated the next time the page is accessed. In practice I have found that Netscape will used the cached images even if they are updated. I normally have to flush the cache and reload to see the new images.

At any time you can rm -f tn__* in the AlbumDir/album_name/ directory, the next time the page is loaded all the thumbnails will be regenerated. (Naturally image names that start with tn__ should be renamed before placing them in the album directory.)


URI which points to where the thumbnail hierarchy will live. Note that in previous versions a thumbs subdirectory would be created. This made traversal a bit more difficult and always made permission creating a challenge. By putting all images created by the server in one place we can easily track diskspace usage and make sure the server sets up all permissions.


A general number of how wide you want the final table to be, not an absolute number. If the next image would take it past this "invisible line", a new row is started.


Instead of using DefaultBrowserWidth and a guess at the number of pixels, NumberOfColumns can be set to the maximum number of columns in a table. The default is 0 (which causes DefaultBrowserWidth to be used instead).


This entire string is passed in the <BODY> tag. Useful for setting background images, background color, link colors, etc. If set in the httpd.conf file, you must put quotes around the value, and escape any quotes in the value. If this value is set in the .htaccess file, this is not necessary:

  In httpd.conf: PerlSetVar BodyArgs "BACKGROUND=gray.gif text=\"#FFFFFF\""
  In .htaccess : PerlSetVar BodyArgs BACKGROUND=gray.gif text="#FFFFFF"

This variable's value is passed to the outer table's BORDER attribute.


This variables's value is passed to all the inner table's BORDER attributes. Note that the name of the InnerTablesBorder has an 's' in it, as it modifes all the inner tables.


The number of seconds to spend on each picture when viewing a slide show.

This text/html will placed at the bottom of the page after all the thumbnails, but before the end of the page. Useful for links back to a home page, mailto: tag, etc.


Allows the user to create new albums and upload pictures. Obviously there are security implications here, so if EditMode is turned on that location should probably have some kind of security. Albums can share the same AlbumDir, so you can have something like:

/albums - ReadOnly version, no security /albums_edit - Allow new album creation and picture uploads, require authentication

both using the same AlbumDir.


If this is set to true, the user will have 3 additional options when viewing the full sized picture. The thumbnail can still be selected to view the full picture, or Sm (Small), Med (Medium), or Lg(Large) can be selected to bring the picture down to fit better in a 640x480, 800x600, or 1024x758 screen.


When viewing albums, they will be sorted by name. If this is set to true the order will be reversed. (Useful if you want to use things like dates/months as the directory names, this will put the most recent albums first.


When viewing pictures, they will be sorted by name. If this is set to true, the order of the pictures will be reversed.


For people with lots of bandwidth and memory, Apache::Album can generate a single page with all the full sized pictures (or all the Small(sm), Medium(med) or Large(lg) pictures if AllowFinalResize is turned on). This is enabled by passing ?all_full_images=sm|med|lg|full to the url of an album, for example:


Will create a page with all the picutres in an album, but none will be larger than 640x480. The pictures will have captions as if the pictures were being viewed one at a time.


PerlMagick is a limiting factor. If PerlMagick can't load the image, no thumbnail will be created.


Copyright (c) 1998-2004 Jim Woodgate. All rights reserved. This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as Perl itself.


Jim Woodgate


perl(1), Image::Magick(3).