The New Zealand Rail Maps Project aims to create free maps of the present and past national public railway network, which are produced and distributed by a variety of means, through several web sites. One of these is the Volumes site, and it is intended to distribute individual images that each represent a small part of a map. A collection of these images makes up an individual Volume, or part of a Volume; there are 12 Volumes that cover the whole of New Zealand. At the moment the Volumes site, like most of the NZ Rail Maps sites, is implemented as a WordPress blog. However, the key issue for implementing an image gallery site – as Volumes effectively is – in WordPress is to find a suitable way of implementing the image gallery. So far I have trialled and evaluated a number of different WordPress options, including its built in media library system and numerous plugins, but generally I am inclined to reject them all. WordPress’s built in option fails on the grounds that there is only one hosting option and that is on WordPress’s own servers, which makes it difficult to organise and maintain the individual collections. All the plugins fail on the basis that they are not open source and require subscription fees. This creates lockin to their platform and perpetual expense. Moreover, they have many features well in excess of what I need, and customisation of the sort that I might desire would be dependent on their development priorities.
This gallery system also has the capability to automagically create thumbnails assuming the script is given write access to the thumbnails folder. My preference is not to grant that access (for various including security reasons) and create the thumbnails manually. Here, there are many packages in Linux I can use to do this. My choice will be Converseen, an open source GUI that is available in the default Debian repository. Back in the day I would have used a nice Windows GUI called IrfanView, which is not available for Linux, nor have I found anything else that is nearly the same.