Last night, I tried to bring my photo archive into iPhoto. Why? Well, there’s a very cool piece of software called Galerie that appears it will do what JAlbum does for me.

JAlbum’s been very, very good to me, so why do I need a replacement?

When Apple last upgraded the Java code on the box, it broke JAlbum. When run from the console, JAlbum now thinks, no matter what Java I point it to, that the Java is too old, and refuses to run. Having it run scripted through cron was part of my master strategy for the workflow that puts the photos on the site. Ugh. This event is probably a great argument against automatic updates, but I’d rather that than having an insecure box.

So I started looking around for ways to handle creating web pages for large photo galleries, and I wanted that something to be Mac-centric. Enter Galerie.

This code seems to do an awful lot of what I want, and integrates with iPhoto, which seemed like a good place to organize my photo library. I made a copy of my photo library (100Gb+!!!!) just in case either iPhoto or Galerie did something unexpected to the originals, and set about importing some folders of images into iPhoto.

iPhoto has some hooks for creating slideshows, PDFs of image albums, books, etc. — a lot of very cool things. One downside of iPhoto, though, is that it makes an independent copy of every photo you bring in. For me, that’s a bunch of disk space!

The importing went well, but I was having some trouble with date sorting the new folders inside iPhoto. I did a little search on their help file, and while looking, I found an entry talking about how many photos iPhoto could handle in a single library. And that number was 25,000 — way too low for my needs. As I started researching on the web, it sounds like it really grinds up even a big machine with that many photos in an album. I suspect my little iMac is probably not up to handling that.

Now, you could make a pretty good argument that I don’t need all those photos, and that I really don’t need all of them in the same library. But since I want to keep ’em all, and keep ’em in the same library somehow, that trumps any other argument. 🙂

The final straw was discovering that Spotlight doesn’t seem to see the folders (rolls) in iPhoto. Script integration with Spotlight is my master plan for being able to search through my library from the web without having to write a lot of extra code. I’ve already seen that Spotlight can see the metadata for the images, so that’s definitely the way to handle the image searches…. but it has to be able to see the images!

So I’ve given up on using iPhoto for cataloging/archiving of my library, although I expect I’ll still use it for select tasks (slideshows, PDFs). That probably nukes me out of using Galerie too, although I’ll have to dig a bit deeper to see if it can handle things outside of iPhoto’s odd storage arrangement.

Today’s search: A piece of Mac code that will handle very large photo libraries!