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So I put together another picture sharing site

10 May 2011 21:50

Almost a year ago I put together a simple picture sharing site, which was designed to accept uploaded images via OpenID logins and then share them. It was created because none of the existing image sharing sites allowed OpenID logins - and because frankly I rarely trust sites I don't control. (Especially when they're free sites, with no obvious revenue stream. We can reference recent compromises if we wish to be topical, but even without them it is all about trust.)

I opened up the site to allow others to use it, but assumed it would remain Steve-only - After all why would somebody choose to use my site rather than imgur, or similar?

Over the year I've spotted several minor problems with the site. The built-in support for comments was never used, primarily because I didn't have any other users, and some of the tagging aspects were hard to use.

Since I've started using twitter I again found myself wanting a picture-hosting site, one with "short links". I started using twitpic.com, but wasn't happy with it.

So the plan was formed; build another picture sharing site. But this time with short URLS. Sadly my first choice of http://picc.ie was denied to me - I couldn't register it as I don't live in Ireland. But my second choice http://linkti.me was free.

As a challenge to myself this site uses Redis for storing all user-details, all image details, and all session data. It hasn't been difficult to implemenet a multi-user site, with logins, file uploads, and tagging. I guess I cheated as a lot of the code is borrowed from the previous site, but this time it looks prettier and there have been many cleanups due to my previous experience.

This time round I was more focussed upon short links, so each image is allowed an incrementing number, which is then encoded using base 36 math - which is the alphabet you get if you use [0-9A-Z]. I designed three shareable links for each image to keep it simple:

Why "/r" for the thumbnail? Well because it is a random thumbnail. To cope with difference sizes, and allow the recent image display to look regular, I wanted each thumbnail to be 150x150 pixels. My thumbnail generation simply picks a random X,Y co-ordinate from the image and then cuts out a 150x150 square block starting at that offset.

The results of a random segment of an uploaded image are sometimes very cool, altough equally often they are misleading. If I upload naked people there is the possability that we'll just get a nipple or a cock - but I'm actually quite smug about the way it turned out. Simpler to code than to resize, scale, or similar and surprisingly random when you see 9x9 random images (as you do on the front page).

Anyway that's all for now. I was tempted to talk about implementation or migration, but I've written too much for an early morning already. Some other time?

ObQuote: "He's just trying to freak us out. " - 30 Days of Night.



Comments on this entry

icon Stéphane Péchard at 11:19 on 10 May 2011

Very nice!
Is your code available, in order to be deployed on a personal server for example?

icon Steve Kemp at 11:29 on 10 May 2011

The code currently isn't public, but there isn't any reason why it couldn't be.

I'll almost certainly publish the mercurial repository in a day or two, although you might need a bit of help getting it installed. (Not too much, it is written around CGI::Application & Redis).

icon Samat at 22:18 on 18 May 2011

No more OpenID login?

icon Steve Kemp at 04:39 on 19 May 2011

No, no more OpenID login.