The idea of organizing and sharing your photos from your server is great.
Though, the usability of Zoph on Freedombox has a huge space for development.
To me, it still felt like an application that is still in alpha and need lots of work for non-technical people like myself.
My two-cents on trying to use Zoph is as below.
List of things you liked
The idea is excellent. I’ve been looking forward to organizing my photos on a server and to be able to also share them with family and friend really got me excited.
List of things you disliked
- Having to only be able to store and bulk upload photos to /var/lib/zoph is not good for me. I’ve tried various ways of creating a folder on an external drive (that’s NOT BTRFS), changing mod and ownership, but its just not practical. When doing this, even bulk copying files with install requires too much effort.
- The applications time to import was not tolerable. I have thousands of photos that I want to process. Even when running FB on an SBC (a pi 4) with 8GB ram, importing a single photo captured in a reasonable resolution with a cellphone takes 15-20 seconds. Additionally, importing doesn’t work in the background. Having to keep Zoph WEBUI open and waiting to import an album with as little as 50 photos is not practical.
- I accidentally deleted the ‘Root Album.’ No more albums for me… Couldn’t even re-create the root album. I had to do a complete re-install because I don’t know how to use php (or whatever it takes to correct the mess).
- When importing photos, I would have preferred to create new albums, new categories, new locations, new people during the import. For every instance, having to go to the dedicated tab to create a new group, person, location, album, etc. and then re-attribute these to the imported photos is not practical.
- Sharing doesn’t work without a password. If I want to share a photo with a member of the family or friend, I had to create a dummy user on my FB and provide them with a username-password. Additionally, I couldn’t share albums; just single photos. A link open to public access for sharing single, category or album photos (or any filtered list of photos) would be very nice.
- An upload limit of 2MB due to Apache configurations and not being able to change this value without knowing how to find and edit the php.ini file was good stress. At least an error with also stating location of the php.ini file would have saved a lot of time and research.
- A cleaner and smarter WEBUI would some UX that’s of this decade would really be nice.
- There’s a "pref"s tab, then a “config” screen, never-ending sub-titles constantly scrolling down… I’m a simple user; I just want to archive my photos and find them when necessary… Why so many settings?
- When importing photos, if a photo has any meta data that Zoph doesnt understand; you’re stuck with an error… Couldn’t import a good number of photos because of this.
All in all, having a ‘free’ photo organizer is great. Though, it feels like Zoph was just rushed into the FB ecosystem. I have backports enabled (I dont know if Zoph is available on the stable distro). I think Zoph is still in it’s early stages and really didn’t give me the feeling that I could depend on it to save and store my years of photos. I think a prior warning on FB stating that Zoph is in early development or that it’s experimental would be a good heads-up for novice users like myself.