Vista picture “Web Publishing” regression

I just tried to upload some hundreds of vacation photos from Windows Vista to our gallery which I’m hosting on my own root server. It turned out that this would be a not-so-simple task… 🙁

Previously, using Windows XP, this would be as simple as

  1. invoking the “Web Publishing Wizard” from the “Folder Tasks” pane,
  2. clicking “Publish this folder to the web”,
  3. optionally selecting a target size for resizing (a copy of!) the photos before you upload them, and finally
  4. clicking “Finish” to start the upload.

Not so anymore with Vista!

First, you don’t have the “Web Publishing Wizard” in the “Folder Tasks” pane anymore. It took me quite a while to find that out, because I first thought Microsoft had hidden that feature somewhere else. No, it’s simply gone!

Ok, so I googled for a solution and found a hint that the “Windows Photo Gallery” now is the correct way of uploading photos to your gallery. You have to select the pictures you would like to upload in “Windows Photo Gallery” and then click “Print -> Publish”. As usual, for your gallery to appear in Windows, you have to download a registry update from your web gallery, and apply that to Windows.

Strangely enough, I was not given the option to resize my pictures while uploading them, so I cancelled out. I tried to find the option somewhere in the program’s settings, but they wasn’t any. So I had a new idea – copy the photos and manually resize the copies. Again, to no avail. “Windows Photo Gallery” doesn’t have a (batch) resize facility. 🙁

Again, I went to Google and searched for a solution. Someone pointed me to “Windows Live Photo Gallery”, which is another of those “monster” downloads… It even needs “MS SQL Server” (runtime?) in order to function properly, which it automagically downloads from the web. Of course it continuously tries to persuade you to use “Windows live!”, but that’s a different story… 🙁

Even after I had installed “Windows Live Photo Gallery”, there still wasn’t the option to resize pictures during download, so I had to resort to a trick: I copied the photos to be uploaded to a temporary directory, imported that into “Windows Live Photo Gallery”, and then batch-resized the copies of the photos. When you batch-resize photos, you have to specify a destination folder. You cannot resize the pictures “in place”. And you cannot resize a hierarchy of folders either, replicating the hierarchy, because the destination folder you select will be the one where all resized pictures will be copied to (“flat”, i.e. destroying the folder hierarchy). 🙁

So I had to manually resize 9 folders and afterwards upload them to our gallery.

What a piece of crap!

I hope that this will be easier again in Windows 7… Let’s see…

BTW, during my “research” for a solution to this whole mess, I came accros the Image Resizer Powertoy Clone. This brings back the “Resize Image” facility to Windows Explorer which let you batch-resize large numbers of images in a single operation. It could be installed to Windows XP from Microsoft’s website as “Image Resizer Powertoy for Windows XP“. Unfortunately these power toys aren’t available anymore for Windows Vista — as if Vista didn’t badly need such toys anymore!!! 🙁

3 thoughts on “Vista picture “Web Publishing” regression”

  1. I’m sorry to hear that you had to go through all that trouble, Ralf, but, to be frank, you’d run into a lot fewer problems like this one if you would overcome your apparent fear of using software that manages files for you.

    Had you used iPhoto (on OS X) or Picasa (on Windows), for example, you would have been done with resizing and uploading in a few minutes, instead of spending much more time and unnecessary effort like you apparently did.

    In a blog post about note-taking software, I recently read that only programmers insist on managing media data on a file level, and I wholeheartedly agree with that sentiment: if it wasn’t for Aperture, whose manual expressly reminds one not to mess around with the raw image files contained in Aperture’s library, I’d either have given up on digital photography or lost my mind. If I do, however, want to manage some files manually, I can easily export images from Aperture as needed.

    The very fact that I do _not_ have to handle such media on the file level, and can instead resort to using extensive organizing features — including keywords, EXIF data management, calendar filtering, and more — lets me concentrate on what I really want to do, which is managing content, not containers.

  2. @Jochen Wolters: It’s not exactly “fear of using software that manages files for you,” but I simply don’t want to depend on a particular piece of software.

    What if some day this piece of software is no longer available or supported? Then all my efforts I put into it are lost. And this risk I simply don’t wonna take.

    Moreover, some pieces of software like this don’t operate on an existing file tree, but they insist on importing files they “administer” into a proprietary “database,” so that I have two copies of them — one is the original, unmodified file, the other one is the one in the database. I could delete the original copy, but what if the “proprietary database” is corrupt one day? Sometimes you can’t (easily, if at all) extract individual files from such databases. Sometimes original files will be modified in some way, such as flattening folder paths, renaming files, modifying the file content (e. g. by embedding meta info), etc.

    All this is simply not acceptable for me.

  3. Well, I don’t think that iPhoto or Aperture will be EOL’ed anytime soon, but if they are, you will still be able to use either application’s export functions to move your media into another application. What’s more, many competing programs allow importing existing databases from other applications, so the threat of lock-in almost becomes a non-issue.

    As for keeping files in a database, both iPhoto and Aperture on the Mac use packages for their databases, and these do contain the unmodified original photos. If all else — including exporting from within the app — fails, you can still “Show Package Contents” for a database in the Finder and rescue the media that way.

    Same for iTunes, by the way: its media library is just a folder tree, sorted by artists and albums, and the important metadata is embedded right inside the individual files.

    Of course, if you do not like any of these applications because you find their user interfaces lacking, that’s a different matter entirely…

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