How Piwigo can help teams collaborate remotely

The second wave of covid-19 is hitting hard in many countries. Lockdowns are back and most of us are supposed to work remotely. Since the spring, we have had to change our teamwork habits: no more coffee breaks, and welcome to chat messaging, video meetings, and other collaborative online tools…

At Piwigo we are used to working remotely, since all team members (permanent staff, interns, external collaborators, community contributors…) work from different places and even different countries. And among other tools, we use Piwigo every day for teamwork! That’s why we had the idea to share some tips to use Piwigo in the current context.

Moving from Local Storage to the Shared Cloud

It is not possible to share an external hard drive with your colleagues when you are no longer physically at the same workplace. 

It is also difficult to rely on the shared network directory (you know, the Z:/ directory on your computer’s desktop, from which you access billions of folders…).

Moreover, these are rather risky backup media (read our blog post on this subject).

So the right resolution is to move to the Cloud to store, organise and share your files.

How convenient : at Piwigo, we propose a ready-to-use offer to host all your files (mainly images, but also videos, PDFs…). And if you want, you can ask someone who knows about IT to install Piwigo for free on your web hosting.

With Piwigo, a secure Cloud dedicated to media files

With Piwigo, you have all the tools you need to create your company’s media library, secure and accessible from anywhere by all your coworkers.

Most of Piwigo.com‘s corporate customers use Piwigo this way, which means that their photo library is completely private, inaccessible to the public, and only accessible to employees.

It is possible to manage different levels of access (viewing, adding, modifying…), to limit the access of employees to certain albums only (depending on their department, for example). It is also possible to create temporary access for external partners and to activate sharing by link for people who do not have an account on your photo library.

To keep it short: with Piwigo, you have the perfect tool to store your files on an online, shared, secure space, and the icing on the cake: respectful of your personal data. No advertising trackers with us. No loss of your intellectual property.

To find out more, read the customer testimonial from Germain Dutilleul, Communication Manager at ICAM.

Organize your files for easy retrieval

“Where’s the latest version of the logo?”

You’ve already heard that a thousand times in the office, and now that you’ve switched to working remotely, it’s no better. It’s time to clean up your files, don’t you think? That way, everyone would be autonomous to find the file they need and save time.

That’s great, Piwigo will help you. Instead of searching for hours in a folder tree, with Piwigo finding a file is a piece of cake.

Just like on your computer, you can create albums and sub albums with infinite depth, but that’s not over. You can also use tags to classify and filter your files, regardless of the album they are classified in.

You can of course search for your images by name or other criteria (author, description…) thanks to the search engine, and even display them on a map depending on where they were taken.

You can even set up a multi-criteria filter system as shown in the example below (read this article for more information).

Our customers say it best:

“Since the implementation of Piwigo, we lose much less time looking for the photos we need, it’s instantaneous, we’re always up to date.”

Cindy D, Communication and Marketing Manager at ECT (read the testimonial).

Share your files in a few clicks

“Will you send me a Wetransfer?” 

You’ve heard that a thousand times, too. You organise a photo shoot, the photographer sends you a Wetransfer link, you download it to your computer, clean up the images, and then you send a Wetransfer back to your colleague…

With Piwigo, it’s all over. Your photo library has everything you need to share files and collaborate.

First of all, you can allow your photographer or anyone else to upload files directly to your Piwigo, safely and securely.

Then you can “clean up” the files directly on Piwigo, keeping only the best photos. Or keep the archive and create a selection to share with your coworkers and partners.

All this is true for photos but also for any other type of file, image, video or PDF! Brochures, graphic designs, brand guidelines… That’s why the communication teams love Piwigo.

You can also, when you are asked for a particular file, share the link to that file directly. All this avoids duplicates, version issues (which version is the right one?). 

And the best for last: it’s good for the planet!

Fight digital pollution with Piwigo

Yes, you’ve read correctly: collaborating with Piwigo can reduce the digital pollution caused by team exchanges! 

Indeed, every time you send one or more attachments by email or another messaging tool, every time you upload files to a server, every time a file is stored in duplicate somewhere: you are using server resources, and therefore, energy.

By centralising all your media on Piwigo, you avoid the digital pollution caused by file sharing. Each collaborator can go and get the files they need from the photo library, you can simply share a link rather than attachments. This is one of the good practices recommended to limit the digital pollution linked to the digitalisation of working methods.

How we use Piwigo for teamwork

At Piwigo we use our own solution on a daily basis to work as a team remotely. 

We have an internal Piwigo gallery, which is only accessible to the team. We use it, for example, during the design stages of new features or new pages on our websites. The designer creates an album to share their proposals of graphic models, everyone can view the mockups online and download them if they wish in small or large format. 

piwigo teamwork photo library
Screeshot of our internal Piwigo

Everyone can also post a comment to give their opinion.

Our internal Piwigo also allows us to share screenshots when we encounter a bug or malfunction. 

Finally, we use Piwigo to host all the resources that we regularly need: logos, mockups…

At the same time we use another open source software, Mattermost, an instant messaging software. It allows us to discuss in real time on thematic discussion groups, to share links, documents… In fact, we hardly send emails anymore!

Mattermost, an open source online chat
Mattermost, an open source online chat

We are convinced that the open source world has an important role to play in the digitalisation of companies. It is important that we do not let our working tools be confiscated by GAFAM. There are alternatives to Microsoft Teams, Google Drive and other Salesforce, and at our level, with Piwigo, we want to help employees and entrepreneurs all over the world to collaborate better and work more efficiently.

Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash

Results of the Piwigo survey

In January, we asked Piwigo users to answer a survey. Our goal was to get to know better the community members, their uses and expectations.

We sent out the questionnaire at the end of January 2020 in French and English, and in March we sent out the German version.

The questionnaire was sent via Piwigo newsletters in the 3 languages, but it was also distributed on the piwigo.org website, on the piwigo.com blog and on social networks.

We were pleasantly surprised by the quantity and quality of the answers.

A total of 1116 people responded.

Only 10% of the people who responded to this survey are customers on piwigo.com. The others host their Piwigo gallery themselves. This makes sense because these people make up the majority of subscribers to the Piwigo newsletter, and because Piwigo is first and foremost a free and open source project.

The results of the survey are available in the form of an infographics that you will find at the end of this blog post; but we also tried to find out if there were any notable differences between the answers of the customers on piwigo.com and those of the users who host their Piwigo themselves.

Here are the main differences we observed!

Geographical distribution

While the French account for 33% of respondents overall, they represent 68% of piwigo.com customers who responded to the survey!

Why choose Piwigo

To the question “why did you choose Piwigo”, (3 possible answers) the piwigo.com customers chose 3 answers among the 10 proposals:

  • For its low price (50%)
  • For its ease of use (41%)
  • For the richness of the features (38%)

It was found that French customers also largely chose Piwigo for its French origin.

Before Piwigo

Half of the customers who filled the survey indicated that they used physical media (CDs, USB keys, hard drive…) to store and share their photos before setting up Piwigo.

Preferred features

We noticed while reading the survey results that many customers are not aware of the extent of Piwigo’s possibilities. 

Here are a few features that are not well known but that you might be interested in:

  • The ability to manage video and PDF files (for companies only)
  • The creation of shareable selections
  • The possibility for non-administrators to add photos on Piwigo
  • The presentation of photos on a map 

And now, the information that pleased us the most: 100% of piwigo.com customers said that they would be willing to recommend Piwigo to someone they know!

For more information on the results of this survey, look at the infographic below and read the announcement on the piwigo.org forum !

piwigo survey

Add a filter bar to your photo gallery

You want to offer your visitors an user friendly interface to navigate through your photo gallery? With the Tag Groups plugin, you can add multiple filters to your Piwigo photo library.

Warning

This plugin is not available to customers who have subscribed to an “Individual” offer on piwigo.com.

Reminder: how tags work with Piwigo

If your Piwigo photo library contains a lot of media, you’ve probably decided to organize them with tags, or keywords.

Tags allow you to qualify your photos according to your own classification criteria: this can be colors, image formats, places, themes or any other useful information to easily find photos that have something in common.

A photo can have an infinite number of tags, and you can combine tags to refine your search.

The tag search is available from the “Related tags” menu item of your photo library (that you can activate with the “Menu Tags” plugin), or from a tag cloud that can be displayed on a page of your gallery.

tag cloud piwigo

Example of tag cloud

Thus, the tags are complementary to the albums.

Let’s take the example of the photo library of the Archeological Museum Archéa.

The photos of this photo library are organized in albums: Exhibitions, Collections… Each album is also organized in sub-albums: in the Exhibitions album, there is one sub-album per exhibition.

But if you’re looking for photos that match a finer criterion, that’s where the tags will prove themselves useful. You can find in one click all the photos tagged “Middle-Ages”, “Necropolis”, or “Merovingians”, whatever their album.

What if I want all the pictures of Merovingian necropolises?

Don’t worry: I just have to combine the two tags “Necropolis”, and “Merovingian”, as you can see on the example below.

search multi tags piwigo

This operation is very simple and convenient, but the tags are all mixed together. 

For an even better organisation, and an easier search, a new plugin is available on your Piwigo photo library.

Set up a filtering search bar with The Tag Groups plugin

This plugin allows you to use tags to set up a filtering search bar on your photo gallery.

How does it work?

You now have the ability to regroup the tags by family, with the new notion of “tag group”. 

The tags “blue”, “pink”, “green” can be associated with a “color” group. To do this, simply add a prefix in the tag name. Thus, by naming a tag “color:blue”, you will have the tag “blue” belonging to the “color” group.

You can see below a page that lists the tags of a Piwigo gallery, grouped by tag group.

word cloud tags piwigo

If we go on with the Archéa Museum example, we could imagine that the tags “High Middle Ages”, “Classical Middle Ages”, “Gallo-Roman Antiquity” and “Merovingian” would be classified in the “Period” group.

And the tags “ceramics”, “ornaments”, “furniture”, “tools”, “religious practices” etc. could be classified in the “Objects” group.

We could thus set up in the gallery a search engine with filters by period, and by type of object, with drop-down lists as in the example below.

tag groups plugin piwigo
Photo library on which the Tag Groups plugin has been installed

On the above example, (click on the image to enlarge it if necessary), you can see that we first filtered the pictures to show only the “Tulip” type flowers.

You can then refine the selection by color with the “Color” filter. It lists all tags of type “Color”, but only those that are present on photos that also have the tag “Tulip” are clickable.

filter bar multi criteria piwigo

If I select the “Purple” color, the selection only shows me files with the “Tulip” tag AND the “Purple” tag.

filter bar multi criteria piwigo

If you wish to test by yourself, you can view a demo by clicking on this link.

We hope you like this new feature!  Would you like to implement it on your Piwigo gallery?

If so, you have two options :

  • If you host your Piwigo yourself, download the Tag Groups plugin
  • If you are a customer of a hosting offer with Piwigo.com, please contact support. Indeed, you can’t (yet) activate the Tag Groups plugin yourself. Warning! This plugin is only available for customers who subscribed to an Enterprise offer.

Covid19: extended trial period for companies

They are exceptional circumstances calling for exceptional measures. Until the end of the lockdown phase, we have decided to double the trial period on Piwigo.com, for companies. Here are the reasons that led us to make this decision.

First of all, the Piwigo team hopes that you are all well and in a good mood in these unusual times. We at Piwigo are used to working at home, and the remote communication tools hold no secrets for us. But let’s be honest, the latest events have turned our lives upside down…

Working from home in containment period…

And in the last few days, we noticed an unusual phenomenon: several companies that were testing Piwigo contacted us to ask us to extend their trial period. The trial period for Piwigo is usually 30 days, which is normally enough to test Piwigo software and make an opinion.

But these days, many professionals have seen their work processes turned upside down. Priorities are changing, people have to start working remotely, they need to replace colleagues who are on sick leave… The decision-making process is slower and, overall, everything takes a little longer.

And at the same time, it’s an ideal time to focus on substantive projects, such as setting up an online photo library to replace external hard drives, shared network directories and USB sticks! Because now they are stuck at home, people realize how much they need reliable tools to work and collaborate from anywhere.

That is why we have decided to temporarily increase the trial period for companies to 60 days instead of 30 days

If you are a company (or public sector, or non profit) and are currently on trial, you will receive an email informing you of the extension of your free trial. This is normally applied automatically.

If you’re a private individual, you’re not concerned: we assumed that it doesn’t make any difference to you since you use Piwigo in your spare time anyway. 

In any case, we advise you all to take advantage of the lockdown period to take the time to organize and sort your photos! It’s a very useful activity that is often postponed, so now that you are stuck at home, you can get on with it 🙂

Good luck to you all, and take care! 🥰️

You haven’t tested Piwigo yet?

Try Piwigo for free!

Piwigo 2020 survey

To start the year off on the right foot, we have decided to invite you, members of the Piwigo community, to have your say.

We need to get to know you better and understand why you are loyal to Piwigo, and how we can make it even better.

It will only take a few minutes to complete this survey, but it will really help us!

We hope that many of you will participate. And as we value transparency, we will communicate the results of the survey.

New Piwigo mobile application for Android

We announced it in our latest blog post: for several months now, we have been working hard to finally release a new version of the Piwigo application for Android.

Good news: that’s it, the application is available! 🥳

This mobile app is the result of a collaborative effort between Phil Bayfield, an English contributor who relaunched the Android application project a few years ago, Raphael Mack, our German Android lead developer, and Valentin Baizeau, a French intern at Piwigo for several months.

Let’s hear Valentin presenting his work in person:

“ My role is to take part in the developpement of the android application. For this first version, we focused on the user experience, by listening to the users requests about what features were priorities for our app. It is now possible to view in full screen your photos by tapping on them for instance, and it is also possible to create new albums and add some photos to them. The idea is to gradually develop new features to be able to offer the same possibilities as the iOS app.”

Valentin, student at EPITECH Nantes and intern at Piwigo.

We are very happy and proud to present this new application that will allow you to:

  • Connect to Piwigo from your Android smartphone
  • Display your albums
  • Navigate through your photos and display them in full screen
  • Create new albums
  • Upload photos to your Piwigo from your Android smartphone

Don’t wait any longer to download the application and give us your feedback!

télécharger piwigo android

If you wish, you can also download the application from the alternative F-Droid directory.

Discover some screenshots below:

piwigo android albums
piwigo android photos

External drives, CDs, network directories : the enemies of your photo library

Whether you are a private individual or a professional, from the moment you start using digital photography, the question arises: how can you be sure not to lose your data? And how to share your photos easily?

So you will set up a backup system: on a USB key, a DVD, an external hard drive, a shared network directory… Let’s take a look at these solutions and see if they are durable… and user friendly.

USB stick, CD, DVD: say goodbye to them

Recently, while I was helping my father-in-law configure his new computer, I realized that for years he has been storing his travel photos on USB sticks.

USB sticks and memory cards use flash memory.

He ignored that a USB stick has a very limited life span. USB sticks or flash drives use what is called flash memory, a storage format that by essence is not sustainable. USB sticks should never be used to store data permanently, but simply to transfer it.

So I explained all this to my father-in-law, and what did he answer ?

“You know, I also have all my photos from the 2000s on CD-Roms!”

You can’t imagine my face when I heard that.

Yes, this kind of face.

Burnable CDs and DVDs are today endangered species, but have long been used as a backup medium, and still are, in families but also in companies.

Big mistake!

I have another story about this. When I was a student I went to Greece for 6 months for an Erasmus exchange, and when I came back home in France, I burned all my photos on 2 CD-Roms. My laptop having crashed, I only had these CDs to keep track of my 6 months abroad.

Some time later, I wanted to show my photos to a friend: unfortunately, one of the two CDs was unreadable. These photos were lost forever. Too bad, isn’t it?

Burnable DVDs are no better. These devices have a limited lifespan and are extremely fragile.

Conclusion: if you have photos stored on USB sticks, CDs or DVDs: move them quickly to a more reliable medium (if they are not already lost).

External hard drives: not as reliable as you might think

External hard drives have the reputation of being a robust backup medium. Yes, they are certainly more reliable than CDs… but they have some issues too.

First of all, external hard drives don’t live forever.

Yes, an external hard drive can die suddenly, and this happens more often than you might think.

First of all, you should know that a hard drive is provided for a certain number of read/write cycles. Depending on its use rate and storage conditions, the average life of an external hard drive is from 5 to 7 years. Without mentioning the risk of failure!

SSD hard drives, which are the new standard, are no exception to this rule since they are based on a flash memory system, such as the USB stick.

Therefore, they cannot be fully trusted.

“Yes, but external hard drives are still very convenient for sharing photos”, are you going to tell me?

It’s true that if you work as a team within an organization, the photo library will often find its place on an external hard drive that you will pass on to your colleagues.

But really, you think it’s convenient?

What if your colleague deletes photos by mistake?

What if you need to manage different access rights for different people?

And honestly, is it really that easy to find your way it out in this mess of files?

Everyone will end up copying all the data onto their own computer’s disk, and you’re done with your attempt to centralize your photo library.

Among our corporate customers, many who have been there no longer want to hear about a shared external hard drive!

Shared network drives and NAS: collaborative, really?

If you are computer literate or work in an organization, your photo library may be accessible from a shared network drive. This is a folder accessible to all users on your local network. This folder can be stored on a single network computer, a server, or a NAS (a shared storage device on a computer network).

Shared networks drives on Windows.

Regarding reliability, this system is far above that of a USB key, of course. But be careful, you must plan a second backup system, otherwise you will lose all your data the day the machine fails.

Moreover, since your data is stored physically at your place, you can still lose everything in the event of a fire, for example.

Finally, if you look at the collaborative aspect of this system, you’re not far from the external hard drive. Of course, no need to move the hard drive from one workstation to another, everyone can access the photo library at any time. You can also limit access rights by directory, and prevent users from deleting files.

But honestly, to find what you look for in this folder tree structure, it’s not always easy. When you have thousands of archived photos, it sometimes becomes a puzzle to find the image you need.

The hosted photo library: reliable and collaborative

You might have guessed what will follow: CDs, USB sticks, external hard drives and even shared network directories are not effective solutions to manage your photo library. They can even turn against you.

This is exactly why more and more organizations are choosing Piwigo to host their photo library.

With an online photo library software, you have a user friendly user interface to sort and organize your photos: by title, by theme, by date or place of shooting…

Piwigo backoffice
Piwigo backoffice

You can share a photo or directory with a person at any time with a few clicks, without any danger.

“Previously, our photos were stored on external hard drive and CDs, and indexed in a spreadsheet. A real challenge to find a file! Now it has become very easy and fast for the whole team to navigate through our photo library. Piwigo has completely changed the way we work! We chose Piwigo because the tool was complete, easy to use and affordable.”

Remi Ancel, Documentation Manager, Archea Museum

You can choose to download Piwigo for free from piwigo.org, and host it on a server of your choice.

You can also create an account on piwigo.com: in this case, we take care of the hosting and the backup of your data. Even if you delete a folder or a file by mistake, we can go back and recover your precious lost data.

For more information, please read the article: Where are photos stored with Piwigo, which details the security measures taken by our team.

Where are photos stored with Piwigo ?

Looking for an online solution to manage your photo library, someone recommended Piwigo, but you don’t really understand how it works, and where your photos will be hosted? Don’t worry, you will find everything you need to know in this blog post!

Piwigo.org or Piwigo.com ?

Firstly, you will need to understand the difference between the two options available, this difference could be confusing for some :

  • On the one hand you can download the open source Piwigo software on piwigo.org;
  • Or on the other you can create an account on piwigo.com.

1 – You host Piwigo by yourself

If you choose the first option, you will download files for free from piwigo.org, which you will have to install on a server. You will have to subscribe to an offer from a web hosting service and deploy your Piwigo yourself before you can upload your photos and organize them.

Manual installation of Piwigo

In this case, your photos will be stored on the server that hosts the application. Thus, if you install Piwigo on a shared hosting, at Gandi for example, your photos will be saved on the storage system associated with this hosting.

To find out more, check with your host to find out exactly where this storage system is located because it can be “remote”.

2 – You choose Piwigo.com

If you choose the second option, and sign up with piwigo.com, your Piwigo library will be created directly on our platform.

Sign up form on Piwigo.com
Sign up form on Piwigo.com

In this case, your library will be hosted on dedicated servers (which means that they are not shared with other sites). Piwigo rents these servers from OVH, a french host. Our servers are located in France at the Roubaix, Strasbourg and Gravelines data centers. Your data is stored on the hard drives of these servers, i.e. exactly where the Piwigo app runs.

To answer the question many users might ask, especially public administrations, we do not use the services of Amazon (AWS), Google (Cloud Platform) or Microsoft (Azure). We do not use them for two main reasons:

  • Firstly, we do not want to entrust them with our customers’ data;
  • Secondly, these services are very expensive, which would in all logic increase the price of our offers.

What guarantees for you data safety ?

If you choose to host your Piwigo yourself, it is up to you to make sure that your hosting provider has done what it takes to ensure that your data is safe. You are also solely responsible for backing up your data and files.

But if you choose one of our offers on Piwigo.com, we take care of everything: let’s see how we ensure that your data will not be lost.

Piwigo.com’s technical infrastructure is based on coupled servers. Each “main” server is duplicated by a “secondary” server that serves as backup system.

A Piwigo.com account is hosted on a main server (photos and database). Every night, each main server is synchronized to its secondary server. And every night, we make a copy of each database, and we keep at least the last 30 days. This allows us to restore your photo library in case of handling errors. To make it simple, we can restore an album that you deleted by mistake.

backup server
Every night, each main server is synchronized to its secondary server.

In addition to night-time synchronization, we have set up a backup system with finer granularity. Every 15 minutes, a script checks if there have been any changes on your Piwigo: add/edit/delete photo/album/tag/user/comment.

If any change is detected, your account is automatically synchronized on the secondary server. All these mechanics allow us, in the worst case scenario, to lose only the last 15 minutes of activity.

What if I want to switch hosting ?

One of Piwigo.com’s promises is to fight against “customer lockdown”.

We definitely don’t want to put a brake on you the day you want to switch to another hosting, or even to your own infrastructure. If you host your data on Piwigo.com, you can download your database and files at any time. You can move your Piwigo on to your own server if you wish, keeping your photo library exactly the same.

You will not lose the many hours spent organizing your content, visit history or user comments. All these operations are documented, just follow the guide!

But you can also decide to move your Piwigo from your server to Piwigo.com. We regularly carry out this operation for our customers. We take care of everything: data transfer, database import, Piwigo updates and extensions. This transaction is not billed as we consider it to be part of the services associated with the Piwigo.com offer.

To sum things up :

Piwigo offers two different ways to use its photo library management software and therefore, two different ways to store your files:

  • On the server of your choice if you choose the free download on piwigo.org
  • On our dedicated servers if you choose one of our piwigo.com offers.

Both solutions are used by thousands of individuals and professionals, and might fit your needs. It is up to you to decide which one is best for you!

Why Flickr could not remain free for ever

The news has made a big splash in the photo lovers community: on November 5, 2018, Flickr, the famous photo hosting and sharing service, announced a major change in its pricing policy: free user accounts hosting more than 1000 photos will now have to subscribe for a fee, otherwise their oldest photos will be deleted. Many users have started to share their disappointment on social networks, looking for a free and unlimited alternative to Flickr. Read More