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parallel-flickr 🐼

parallel-flickr is a tool for backing up your Flickr photos and generating a database backed website that honours the viewing permissions you've chosen on Flickr. parallel-flickr is not a replacement for Flickr.

parallel-flickr is still a work in progress. It ain't pretty or classy yet but it works. It almost certainly still contains bugs, some of them really stupid.

It still needs to be documented properly.

In the meantime, here's a blog post and some screenshots.

Installing parallel-flickr

These instructions are incomplete. They'll probably work but I have tested them from scratch yet. The following assumes you're running on a brand new vanilla Ubuntu machine.

  • First, some basic OS-level setup:

    $> sudo apt-get install git-core

    $> git clone git://

    $> cd parallel-flickr

    $> sudo sh ./ubuntu/

    $> sudo chown -R www-data www/templates_c

    TO DO: apache configs see: apache/parallel-flickr.conf.example

    $> cd schema

    CHANGE flickr DB password in

    $> mysql -u root -p <

    $> cat *schema | mysql -u root -p flickr

  • Now set up the application config file (grep for TWEAK ME):

    $> cp www/include/config.php.example www/include/config.php

    TO DO: updating the config file, see also:

  • That's it.

Backing up photos

After setting up everything above, and setting your API key callback to "", visit /account/backups/. This will create your backup user account and then from here you can run the various backup scripts inside of the bin/ directory.

Keeping up to date

It is helpful to set these various bin/backup_* scripts to run via cron. According to your level of faving, uploading, and contacts fiddling, you may have your own requirements for often you want to run the various backup scripts.

Here's my a once-a-day example, which works for a moderate level of activity:

0 3 * * * php /full/path/to/parallel-flickr/bin/backup_contacts.php
15 3 * * * php /full/path/to/parallel-flickr/bin/backup_faves.php
30 3 * * * php /full/path/to/parallel-flickr/bin/backup_photos.php

Using Amazon's S3 service for storing photos (and metadata files)

parallel-flickr is able to store your photos and metadata files using Amazon's S3 storage service.

Setting up an Amazon account and getting an Amazon Web Services (AWS) API key and secret are out of scope for this document (there are lots of good howtos on Amazon's own site and the Internet at large) but once you do it's easily to configure parallel-flickr to use S3. Specifically, you just need to add the following settings to config.php file:

$GLOBALS['cfg']['enable_feature_storage_s3'] = 1;

$GLOBALS['cfg']['amazon_s3_access_key'] = 'YER_AWS_ACCESS_KEY';
$GLOBALS['cfg']['amazon_s3_secret_key'] = 'YER_AWS_SECRET_KEY';
$GLOBALS['cfg']['amazon_s3_bucket_name'] = 'A_NAME_LIKE_MY_FLICKR_PHOTOS';

Automagic backing up of your photos (using the Flickr PuSH feeds)

parallel-flickr can also be configured to archive the photos for registered users using the real-time photo update PuSH feeds from Flickr.

By default this functionality is disabled default because in order to use it you need to ensure that the directory specified in the $GLOBALS['cfg']['flickrstatic_path'] config variable is writeable by the web server. Another way to deal with the probem of permissions is just to use Amazon's S3 service to store your photos, described above.

To enable the PuSH features you'll need to update the following settings in your config file:

$GLOBALS['cfg']['flickr_push'] = 1;
$GLOBALS['cfg']['flickr_push_backups'] = 1; 

The easiest way to enable PuSH backups is to go to the Flickr backups account page (on your version of parallel-flickr). That is:

If you've never setup backups before and the flickr_push configs described above have been enabled then PuSH backups will be enabled at the same time that backups (for your photos, your faves, etc.) are registered.

Not all backup types are valid PuSH backup types (like your contact list, for example).

If you have enabled "poor man's god auth" in the config file (described above) then there is also a "god" page that will list all the PuSH subscription registered for user backups and other features at this URL:

From here you can create or delete individual PuSH feeds, although the tools are still feature incomplete. Specifically, it is not yet possible to register new feeds with arguments (like a tag or a user ID).

Poor Man's God Auth

Poor man's god auth is nothing more than a series of checks to restrict access to certain parts of the website to a list of logged in users and the "roles" they have assigned. It works but it would be a mistake to consider it "secure".

To enable poor man's god auth you will need to add the following settings to your config file.

$GLOBALS['cfg']['auth_enable_poormans_god_auth'] = 1;

$GLOBALS['cfg']['auth_poormans_god_auth'] = array(

    # poormans god auth is keyed off a user's (parallel-flickr)
    # user ID, that is the primary key in the `db_main:Users`
    # table

    100 => array(
        'roles' => array( 'admin' ),

Currently the only role that parallel-flickr uses is "admin".


See also: TODO.txt

To note:

  • password reminders are disabled, only because I don't have a mail server set up

A note about (Github) branches:

If you look carefully you may see that there are a lot branches for parallel-flickr in my Github repository. These are there purely (and only) for my working purposes.

You're welcome to poke at them obviously but the rule of thumb is: If it's in "master" then it should work, modulo any outstanding bugs. If it's in any other branch then all the usual caveats apply, your mileage may vary and we offer no guarantees or refunds.

See also:

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