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Simple photo gallery for Django websites
Python CSS
tag: 0.1

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mYk's gallery


myks-gallery is a simple photo gallery with granular access control.

It powers my humble photo gallery, allowing me to:

  • access my entire photo collection privately,
  • share some albums with family or friends,
  • make some albums public.

Use case

Rather than use a photo manager, I just create a new directory for each event and put my photos inside. I include the date of the event in the name of the directory and I rename photos based on their date and time. I regularly synchronize my collection to a server with rsync.

If you have a similar workflow, you may find myks-gallery useful.

Whenever I upload new photos, I re-scan the collection with ./ scanphotos, and myks-gallery detects new albums and photos. Then I can define users, groups and access policies in the admin.

Album access policies control the visibility of albums. Most often, you'll enable the "photos inherit album access policy" option. If you need more control, for instance to share only a subset of an album, you can disable this option and use photo access policies. You still need to define an album access policy, and it should be a superset of the photo access policies.

Obviously, requiring usernames and passwords doesn't work well for sharing photos with relatives. You might want to use django-sesame.


myks-gallery is a pluggable Django application. It requires Python 2.6 or 2.7, Django 1.5, and PIL.

Installation guide

This application isn't exactly plug'n'play. There are many moving pieces. Here's the general process for integrating myks-gallery into an existing website:

  1. Download and install the package from PyPI:

    $ pip install myks-gallery
  2. Add gallery to INSTALLED_APPS:

    INSTALLED_APPS += 'gallery',
  3. Configure the settings — see below for the list.

  4. Add the application to your URLconf with the gallery application namespace:

    urlpatterns += patterns('',
        url(r'^gallery/', include('gallery.urls', namespace='gallery', app_name='gallery')),
  5. Create a suitable base.html template. It must provide three blocks: title, extrahead, content, as shown in this example.

  6. Enable X-accel (nginx) or mod_xsendfile (Apache) for your photo and cache directories (GALLERY_PHOTO_DIR and GALLERY_CACHE_DIR).

  7. Scan your photos with the "Scan photos" button in the admin or the scanphotos management command and define access policies.

The source contains a sample application in the example directory. It can help you see how everything fits together. See below for how to run it.


myks-gallery defines two permissions:

  • "Can scan the photos directory" allows using the "Scan photos" button in the admin.
  • "Can see all photos" allows seeing all albums and all photos regardless of access policies.



Default: not defined

Path to the directory containing your photos. This directory must be readable by the application server but should not be writable.


Default: not defined

Path to the cache directory for thumbnails. This directory must be readable and writable by the application server.


Default: not defined

Tuple of (category name, regular expression) defining how to extract album information — category, date, name — from the paths of photo files.

The regular expressions match paths relative to GALLERY_PHOTO_DIR. They contain the following captures:

  • a_name: album name (mandatory) — to capture several bits, use a_name1, a_name2, etc.
  • a_year, a_month, a_day: album date (mandatory)
  • p_year, p_month, p_day, p_hour, p_minute, p_second: photo date and time (optional)

Here's an example, for photos stored with names such as 2013/01_19_Snow in Paris/2013-01-19_19-12-43.jpg:



Default: ()

Tuple of regular expressions matching paths relative to GALLERY_PHOTO_DIR. Files matching one of these expressions will be ignored when scanning photos.


Default: not defined

Dictionary mapping thumbnail presets names to (width, height, crop). If crop is True, the photo will be cropped and the thumbnail will have exactly the requested size. If crop is False, the thumbnaill will be smaller than the requested size in one dimension to preserve the photo's aspect ratio.

The default templates assume the following values:

    'thumb': (256, 256, True),
    'standard': (1536, 1536, False),


Default: {}

Dictionary mapping image formats names to to dictionaries of options for PIL's save method. Options are described for each file format in PIL's handbook.

This is a reasonable value:

    'JPEG': {'quality': 95, 'optimize': True, 'progressive': True},


Default: not defined

Name of the HTTP header that triggers sendfile on your web server. Use 'X-Accel-Redirect' for nginx and 'X-SendFile' for Apache.


Default: not defined

Part to strip at the beginning of the paths in the sendfile header. This must be the absolute path to the root of the internal location for nginx. It may be equal to the value of XSendFilePath or empty for Apache.


Default: "Gallery"

Title of your photo gallery. This is only used by the default templates of the index and year views.

Running the sample application

  1. Make sure Django and PIL are installed

  2. Download some pictures (warning: these files are large, total = 50MB; you can use photos of your own instead as long as you respect the format of the directory name: YYYY_MM_DD_album name):

    $ mkdir cache
    $ mkdir photos
    $ mkdir "photos/2013_01_01_Featured Pictures"
    $ cd "photos/2013_01_01_Featured Pictures"
    $ wget
    $ wget
    $ wget   JPG
    $ wget
    $ wget
    $ wget
    $ wget
    $ wget
    $ wget
    $ wget
    $ cd ../..
  3. Run the development server:

    $ ./ syncdb
    $ ./ runserver
  4. Go to http://localhost:8000/admin/gallery/album/ and log in. Click the "Scan photos" link at the top right, and the "Scan photos" button on the next page. You should see the following messages:

    Scanning .../myks-gallery/example/photos

    Adding album 2013_01_01_Featured Pictures (Photos) as Featured Pictures

    Done (0.01s)

    Now go to http://localhost:8000/ and enjoy!

    Since you're logged in as an admin user, you can view albums and photos even though you haven't defined any access policies yet.

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