Sunday, November 6, 2011

Piqs

I just created a new repository on github for yet another hobby project I've been working on: piqs. It's a lightweight image gallery program with advanced tagging capabilities.

It's an experiment in alternative categorization; rather than sorting images into albums/folders, they are all shown in a single flat view, but that view can be filtered with tag queries. Of course, lots of gallery software have tagging capabilities nowadays, but piqs takes it a bit further. You can set up tag aliases and implication rules and something I don't think I've seen elsewhere: tag namespaces. For example, the tag string "[cat, orange], [dog, yellow], backyard" might be applied to a photo of an orange cat and a black dog taken in the backyard. The search string "cat, orange" will return all pictures with a cat and something orange, but the more specific "[cat, orange]" will return pictures of orange cats only. Further, boolean operators are supported: "cat, !dog" will return pictures with cats, but not dogs. "cat, (!dog|[dog,black])" will return pictures with cats and no dogs, unless the dog is black.

This sort of tagging only really starts to pay off once the image collection starts getting very large, so I've tried to design piqs to support huge galleries. So far, I've tried it with about 50000 untagged images and it hasn't choked yet. To help tag every image comprehensively, piqs can infer new tags based on a set of rules. E.g. the rules "cat --> mammal, carnivore", "mammal --> animal" will automatically add the tags "animal", "carnivore" and "mammal" to a picture tagged with "cat".

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