Ever wanted to have your own Web Gallery of watches like Mark Gordon's (Welcome to USSR Time!)? Wondering how to put on a webserver all the pictures and descriptions together with search functions (and you are not PHP programmer)?
So, I had this problem...
Until now I was using Microsoft Access database developed by myself which is fine for a PC user. But there are some problems with it:
- for some mysterious reasons it is very troublesome to handle images in Access
- adding advanced search functions requires VBA programming
- when I'm abroad I don't have access to the latest data; it happened to me a few times to buy on Internet auction a doubled watch because I was sure I didn't have this particular flavor of Pobeda.
- you can't show it in the Internet
The solution was to go on-line. The question is how? Below I will give you some advice.
1. You need to have data (like brand, factory, movement...) in a structured form (if you have nothing until now, skip points 1 and 2). It could be Access file, Excel spreadsheet, dedicated software for collectors with data export functionality. Every watch should have a unique ID.
2. You need to have pictures. Good idea is to have thumbnails for every picture. There should be a relation between your pictures and your data. For example picture name stands for Watch ID (0001.jpg, 0002.jpg). You may also keep pictures names as records in your database.
3. You need to have an account with Web Hosting company. There are hundreds of them in every country. You can find them for a price of few dollars per month. Make sure your account has a possibility to use:
- MySQL database (optimally version 5 or higher)
- good to have PHP MyAdmin there
- traffic limit is not too strict
- disk space of 1-2 GBs
4. Now you need software that will create a web gallery of watches for you. It helps to have some knowledge of SQL commands but you don't need to know PHP. I've tested a few apps and decided that "ScriptArtist" is the best choice for my needs.
- "Data ASaP!" (Data ASaP! Publish Your Access, SQL Server, MySQL database Online.) is pretty simple. Could be good for basic gallery.
- "AppGini" (AppGini, web database applications builder without coding) is also nice but is missing one important functionality: creating drop-down lists for search screen. You can't just display a list of brands and pick one for searching like "Rodina". You need to manually type "Rodina" in the form.
- "Script Artist" (ScriptArtist - PHP Code Generator with AJAX supported for MySQL), the most powerful and the most expensive (but 15 days trial lets you easily build full featured site). It lets you build the full app with uploading pictures, adding and editing records, password protection of some screens so you can split your site into private and public areas. It has a broad library of styles, but you can also create your own.
5. Other freeware software that might be handy:
- "FileZilla" - free FTP client (FileZilla - The free FTP solution)
- "Fast Image Resizer" (adionSoft Fast Image Resizer - Freeware). You can resize your pictures in a batch (good for creating thumbnails)
- "Access To MySQL" (Access To MySQL) - great tool that directly transfers data from your Access database to your online database on server.
You can find my "beta" gallery here: Watches Gallery
I'm still working on it (customizing the layout, cleaning the data) but feel free to take a look.
I didn't find any website that lets me have such a gallery. If you know any website like that please let me know! Colnect.com looks promising but you can't add your pictures there.