I guess I’ve never written about it here (except in passing) but for the past 10 years I’ve been running Gallery to manage my photo websites (before that I hand-coded HTML pages!). I started with Gallery v1.4 way back in October 2004, upgraded to Gallery v2.x in November 2005, tried the Gallery v3.x alphas and betas in 2009 and 2010 (but didn’t really like them) and then finally upgraded to v3.x in October 2011. Then, in June 2014 it was announced that the Gallery project was going into hibernation. I wasn’t too worried as the software was pretty stable and there weren’t a lot of security issues, but always in the back of my mind I knew at some point I’d have to move on.
My theme of choice for Gallery was Grey Dragon by Serge, a heavy Gallery user who also contributed themes and modules to the project. After the Gallery team announced the hibernation, Serge starting looking at and evaluating replacement candidates, which I followed with interest. He eventually settled on Piwigo, a French-based open source project (which believe is pronounced “PEE-wee-go” and was formerly called the PHP Web Gallery), and converted all of his G3 sites to PWG (including porting his Grey Dragon theme). Over the holidays, I decided to give Piwigo a try.
Installation and setup is straightforward if you’ve use LAMP stack software like this before: unzip the archive on your web server, create a fresh MySQL database and hit the installation page in your browser. The key to my migration, however, was plg‘s Menalto2Piwigo extension/plugin. After synchronizing my local photo directory structure into Piwigo, I used the plugin to transfer across all of my image names, descriptions, tags, etc. from the G3 database into the PWG one. It wasn’t a 100% success, but it did save me a ton of work. For example, I installed the VideoJS plugin installed to support video files in my gallery and the plugin didn’t bring over the metadata for movies, but I was able to correct this with some PHP code changes to the plugin. Also, since I was merging two separate G3 installations into a single PWG database, I ended up with a lot of duplicate tags that I had to clean up and merge. Luckily, I do database stuff as my day job so I’m no stranger to writing SQL scripts. I was able to do some “fancy” scripting to fix these problems instead of having to clean them up manually. This also included updating all of the links (again, via SQL) in my WordPress database in the places where I’ve direct-linked to files in my photo gallery.
Overall, I completed moving my two large Gallery 3 installations (14k and 16k items) into a single Piwigo site, including all of the setup, data conversion, and cleanup, in just a few days. It went so well that I ended up shutting down my two Gallery sites earlier than I had originally planned. I’m still tweaking and doing some minor cleanup behind the scenes, but so far I’m pretty happy with the result (which you can see here).