Organizing photos with jBrout
Lately, I’ve been looking at a number of tools for organizing my photos. It’s not that I have a lot of photos (well, I do, but not all of them are on my computer). And it’s not that I’m obsessed with software. I’m just trying to find a minimal yet useful app to help me organize my photos.
As I wrote in a previous post, I like Shotwell. I’m not planning on dropping it any time soon. But that doesn’t mean I can’t look around at other options, does it? It’s not like I’m cheating on a favoured app or anything like that …
In the last couple of days, I’ve found a very good option: jBrout. It’s very similar to Shotwell, and while it’s still a bit rough around the edges jBrout has a lot of potential.
Obviously, the first thing that you’ll need to do is download and install jBrout. Users of Debian and distros based on Debian can add a repository and use apt-get to install the software. There are also .rpm and Gentoo packages available, along with the source code.
Before installing the software, you’ll probably also need to install some Python (the language that jBrout is written in) packages, which are listed here.
Once jBrout is installed, you’re ready to go. As with Shotwell, you need to import photos into the application. To do that, click the Add button on the toolbar. You’ll be asked to select a folder containing the images that you want to import. The import process doesn’t take too long; I pulled in several hundred photos within a minute.
jBrout groups photos in albums. An album is merely the folder that in which jBrout finds photos. Which is logical. You put those photos in folders for a reason.
I noticed that the import did one or two funny little things. The most annoying of which was replacing thumbnails with a large X. I’m not sure why that happened. But that’s easy enough to fix. Right click on the offending thumbnail, select Operations, and then select Rebuild thumbnail.
Like any good, modern app you can extend jBrout using plugins. It comes with a number already installed, including ones that let you:
- Add comments to an image
- Rotate, flip, and transpose images
- Share your photos on the Web via FTP
- Export photos to Flickr or Picasa, or send them via email
To use the plugins, select one or more images, right click on one, and choose Operations. A menu with the available plugin commands appears. Choose what you want to do and away you go.
jBrout has a number of other features, most of which I have yet to explore. Like what? How about the ability to:
- Link to external tools, like The GIMP, and launch them from within jBrout
- Add and edit EXIF and IPTC metadata
I don’t find the second of the two features listed above all that useful, but I can see myself using the link to the external tools. Unfortunately, at the moment you need to edit a text file to set up the links – select File > Edit external tools. It’s easy to do, but that step could put off some users.
While jBrout is still a work in progress it’s a very usable work in progress. I’m not quite ready to dump Shotwell for it but I’m definitely going to keep an eye on jBrout’s development.