It’s interesting how the migration of photography from film to digital has changed the way we take and share pictures. During the film era I was very judicious of what I took pictures of. After all, I only had 24 or 36 shots per roll so I had to be careful in deciding what would be captured. It was always hit or miss as to whether the shot I just took would turn out the way I wanted or if it would be yet another failed attempt to capture what was in my mind’s eye.

After the film was developed, I would review the shots and pick out my favorites. The remainder of the pictures would go into a pile that would rarely be viewed again. There may be times where I might have a second set of images printed to send to parents or grandparents but mostly the pictures stayed in an envelope.

At some point my wife Trina decided to take up “scrapbooking”. She was going to take the hundreds or thousands of pictures we had taken in our lifetime and sort them assembling photo albums that could be looked at by friends and family.

The problem was that you had to be at the physical location of the pictures in order to enjoy looking at them. For parents and grandparents that meant that they rarely saw the pictures or if they did it was during a visit.

When digital pictures began to be prevalent, things substantially changed. The photographer had immediate feedback to determine whether the picture turned out or not. The number of pictures you could take was dependant on the size of your camera’s memory card.

With the continual reduction to the price of memory, camera photo cards became very inexpensive and hence people began taking a lot more pictures. Initially the digital pictures suffered from the same problem as their film counterparts. They were stored on a hard drive somewhere and rarely looked at.

As the Internet became more pervasive it became easier for people to keep in touch through email, social media sites, and via web sites. Before long people wanted to share their photos with others who were not necessarily close.

One such program that facilitated the sharing of photos was JAlbum. This software allows you to create on-line photo albums that can then be uploaded to a web site where anyone can view them.

JAlbum is written in Java and has been ported to several platforms including Windows, Linux, and Macintosh OS X. This makes it extremely valuable since it will run on any standard operating system the person may have.

Creating an online album is relatively simple with JAlbum. You simply select the images you want to include to decide where you want the album to be saved. JAlbum offers the ability to modify the look and feel of the album by using one of several themes or skins.

These skins modify the overall look of the photo album while keeping your pictures the same. There are skins that look like wedding albums, birthdays, and several color and sizes to give your album a unique look and feel.

Once you have decided on a skin and identified the photos that should be included in the album, the software allows you to generate the photo album. The software then creates the pages with the appropriate HTML and CSS values to produce a finished photo book.

You can provide JAlbum with the address of your web site and it can automatically update your web site with the new photos or if you don’t have your own web space the software can assist you with finding a place to host your photo album.

The software also allows you to share your album with other JAlbum users creating a photography community where you can find others who share your passion for photography or inspire you to create new and exciting pictures.

JAlbum is maintained with new versions coming quite regularly. The software updates are fairly simple to install and activate new software features. I use JAlbum quite often when I need to publish photos.

Two of the more popular online albums are Dakota’s soccer pictures and My Scrapbook. Now with JAlbum my pictures are no longer banished to a box or hard drive but are being shared with family and friends.

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