What Is ThumbNails?

ThumbNails is a software system developed by Al Evans for maintaining a web site full of digital photographs. It is efficient, extremely easy to use, and requires very little administration.

ThumbNails processes directories full of digital photographs, and automatically produces web pages filled with clickable links like this:

Big Head In Paris
Big Head In Paris
Alan's Shop
Alan's Shop
Alec The  <B><i>Pirate</I></B>
Alec The Pirate
Electric Belt
Electric Belt
Alec's Fifth Birthday
Alec's Fifth Birthday

Here's What One User Says:

I have read the technical explanation of how ThumbNails works...and I didn't understand any of it. But then, I don't have to. I am only an overwhelmed user of this fine image management system.

I have used every parameter of ThumbNails and found that it is intuitively obvious in image uploading, child's play in its editing simplicity, and it is more visually pleasing than any image site I have seen...and I have seen many.

I always feel like I am in control of my images rather than my being just an often ignored adversary.

Al Evans is to be commended for all the work ThumbNails does in the background. The background is conveniently out of reach of those users who just want to load, edit, add titles and captions, and arrange and display their imagery in a tasteful manner.

I am often complimented by my website visitors who say my site is simple to operate, yet it is fast. I do not tell them that I only did the easy part because Al Evans did the hard part.

Ken Cashion, Luddite Publishers

Easy To Use:

Using a graphical FTP client, just drag and drop folders full of pictures into a directory on the server. Within a few minutes, thumbnails are made of the new pictures, and they are added to the photos you have published on the web.

At any future time, log in via the web to the ThumbNails database, and add titles, captions, credits, dates, and copyright information to your photos. ThumbNails will automatically pick up the added information, and add it to the web pages it produces.

Automatic Maintenance:

ThumbNails is substantially self-maintaining. A background daemon watches over user directories and databases, and updates the published HTML pages as changes are made.

Versatile Database Back-end:

ThumbNails uses the MySQL database server to store titles, captions, and other information about the photographs. This affords unlimited flexibility in access to the photographs and information concerning them. For example, it would be easy to create a CGI script which allowed ThumbNails databases to be searched for keywords in the captions or titles.

System Requirements:

ThumbNails should run on almost any UNIX or UNIX-like system. It has been tested mostly under RedHat Linux, version 6.1. ThumbNails requires Perl 5 and ImageMagickTM. Obviously, you'll need a web server running to publish the images on the web. In order to use the optional database features, you will need MySQL. In order to use all the features of ThumbNails, you will need the Perl CGI and DBI modules, which you can get from CPAN.


ThumbNails is an open-source software system. ThumbNails is ©2001, 2002 by Al Evans, and is released under the terms of the "Artistic License". For more information, see the README. You can get a copy of the latest version of ThumbNailsHERE.

Last updated July 9, 2002