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Photology is a new photo cataloging software from company called Enoetic. There are tons of photo cataloging programs out there so company really needs a good reason to develop a new one. And I need a good reason to test out another one...

But Photology has two good reasons:

  • It promises I can search for pictures querying for pictures using their features. So I can do a query for "yellow", "plant", shot in the "afternoon" that is out of "focus. That sounds cool!
  • It's using Windows Presentation Foundation, which is spankin' hot Microsoft technology everybody is drooling over but I have some trouble jumping into.

So I gave Photology a spin.

image

Here is a really quick rundown:

The good:

  • innovative - I can think of situations I would want to search for "pink", "faces" "indoors". And I don't know any other software that would let me do that.
  • design - It looks alright, but it's not far better the Picasa for example.
  • ease of use - just a few buttons and clicks, not million of options.

The bad:

  • no browsing - I didn't find any way to browse photo like we are used to. I can only see searching photos as a supplemental features of regular photo cataloging software, not as a separate piece of software.
  • search isn't terribly accurate - searching for "outdoor" and "beach" gave me some beach shots. But also gave me shot from top of the mountains, kids in backyard and an really old clock tower in Prague.
  • ease of use - I'm digging simplicity lately. But there is a  thin line between featureless and simple. I missed a lot of things, for example "restore". Program was maximized all the time so I had to lower screen resolution to make screenshot.

What about WPF?

I wouldn't know. I didn't notice it. Nothing spectacular for users, I hope developers found working with WPF easier that with regular old Windows Forms.

 

Photology somewhat does what it promises but there is a long road ahead of the team to make it really work. It is definitely not something I would buy right now.

But I can see Google buying the company and incorporating technology in Picasa 3. Not that would be cool!


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Posted on Thursday, November 01, 2007 5:35 PM | Filed under: Photography Software |

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# re: Photology - real life WPF application 11/1/2007 10:36 PM Bojanv
I prefer Windows Photo Gallery from Vista. It has everything i needed. Still, this app could be (when injected with a little bit features), a good example, what could be done with WPF.

# re: Photology - real life WPF application 11/5/2007 5:31 PM JohnnyL
I pretty much tag every picture I put on the computer at the time I load them in using Photoshop Elements. I can find very specific photos very fast. With Photology I can see using it to find large numbers of pics that fit a specific search and then having to browse down through them to find a specific picture. Just as with Google I can see someone having to spend quite a bit of time trying to refine searched in order to zero in on that correct result. How can I find pictures of Aunt Mary that someone sent to me or I have taken over the years if I have no idea when they were taken, the colors in the pic, or care whether they were outside or inside? I can't see Photology helping at all with this. I'd rather spend 5 minutes tagging my pics and actually being able to find them versus just getting in the ballpark and getting thousands of results. I see this app being helpful for those that don't take many pics or just take them on special occasions.

# re: Photology - real life WPF application 11/8/2007 11:29 PM Tim
Disclaimer: I'm one of the guys behind Photology.

Thanks for your post about Photology. I'd like to address your comments about the issues you had with Photology:

"no browsing" - Photology is about finding your photos by searching for them, not browsing for them, so that's an intentional emphasis. You can always scroll through all of your photos without searching, if you so choose.

"search isn't terribly accurate" - Of course, Photology isn't as good as you are at understanding an image. How it identifies photos is based on statistics, so there will always be some "errors," but even those "errors" will share visual characteristics of the accurately identified images. It's about making it easy to find your images, not replacing a person. How accurate is Google Search at finding what you ask it?

There would be no need for Photology if everyone took the time to tag all of their photos as they saved them, and if that tagging was completely accurate and robust. But even the best intentions lose out to time contraints, laziness, and lack of interest. Most people have a completely unmanaged mess of photos on their computers.

With Photology, you can go from 1000s of photos down to a couple by selecting two or three filters. And since searching is so fast, you can experiment with those filters to get the results you want.

"ease of use" - This is a tough one, as everyone has a different way of working with their computer. We've kept the interaction stream-lined to make it as easy for users to find their photos. Obviously, some of those decisions worked for you, and some didn't. The goal is that those features you "miss" aren't necessary to get the job done, but rather are artifacts of habit for other applications.

"didn't notice WPF" - WPF was a huge win for us in doing this implementation. We have complete control over the appearance and interaction of every UI element. It looks like a Flash application, but it has none of the shortcomings of working on that platform. And there's absolutely no comparison to working with Windows Forms.

I invite you to visit http://www.getphotology.com and view our video tutorials or read our blog for more detailed information about these issues.

Thanks for your interest.

# re: Photology - real life WPF application 11/10/2007 6:33 PM JK
I'm one of the developers behind Photology. I wanted to expand a little on what Tim said regarding WPF.

We definitely kept the Photology interface pretty simple, and avoided the cool moving animations and 3-D you can do in WPF. This was a design choice to keep the users focused on their images. But, believe me, WPF helped us immensely versus something like Windows Forms or Flash.

Some of the effects you do see, like gradients, transparency and animations are an absolute snap in WPF. Those were the kinds of things that were a real bear in Windows Forms, plus it was hard to get them robust. And compared to something like Flash, all the code behind is nice object-oriented, strongly-typed, easily-debuggable C#, which integrates seamlessly with all our framework code (which is also in .NET). There's no way we could have produced this app in the short time we did without WPF (with a very small UI team), and that was going from no prior WPF experience.

So am I a fan of WPF? Well, it won't solve all your UI problems (especially for Web apps - until Silverlight gets more traction, there are lots of other good choices), but for desktop apps, I think it's a great way to go, especially if you want to do anything graphically rich.

# re: Photology - real life WPF application 11/11/2007 9:48 PM David
Tim, JK,

Thx for stopping by and explaining things. I understand the goals behind your software and respect it. I hope you succeed in the market. If you don't, there is always a chance my prediction in the last sentence comes through. ;)

About WPF - I'm glad you shared your experience - it's truly great to hear that you found a good use for WPF and that it made your job easier. You are paving the path for the rest of us!

Keep up the good work and I hope I'll hear more from you and about you soon!

--David

# re: Photology - real life WPF application 4/12/2008 4:46 PM anoop
Photology - real life WPF application

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