Pondering Photo Organizer's Future

Last week I formally released an update to Photo Organizer. It was the first release in two years, and had no new features whatsoever -- just a large-ish pile of bug fixes.

I've been thinking about PO's future lately; where I'd like it to go, and to a lesser extent, how to get there. I still don't have a good answer. Pretty much every feature on the wish list is pretty invasive, and I just don't have the drive to make it happen, because PO has largely done what I've needed.

Most features I've added over the years have been due to my workflow requirements, and I've largely hit a dead end on that front. I've started to experiment with alternative workflow models, but until something gels into a new ideal, PO won't change much.

Since I started on a photo-a-day commitment, my workflow has had to cope with more regular postings, and it's exposed a few cracks in how I used to do things. I'd like to automate some things better, but I'm running into bigger-picture limitations in how I combine PO with my blogging software. For example, none of my "witty" captions have made it back into PO. Fixing this properly means writing a RESTful API to manipulate arbitrary data, which is a huge undertaking.

That said, the biggest driver of change is the massive event-type photography binging like what I got up to last weekend. (Last night I batch imported 44 gigabytes of NEF files; 3,588 images) -- I need a better way of grouping, tagging, and ranking images to manage this sort of thing better. Proper hotkey support would make this a lot easier.

Meanwhile, if the other seeds I've been sowing come to fruition, I'll be working with models on more formal shoots. This will require yet another type of workflow -- less organization, but considerably more post-processing. This means the current versioning system must be beefed up to handle multiple RAW renderings and sidecars. Distributing the final images also exposes weaknesses of PO's permission system.

At the of the day, PO's just a tool that's supporting my needs as a photographer. I'd rather be behind a camera than in front of a computer, especially given that I already spend eight or so hours a day writing software for my day job.

Anyway. As I type this, my PO instance houses some 143,434 images, of which 120,070 are mine. Not counting filesystem overhead, they take up some 1,509,037,063,959 bytes of disk space. Yowza.

In other words, PO's going to be maintained pretty much forever.