Today I was really impressed by a piece of software. I have to say that it has been a while since I felt so excited about software the last time.

I came across the link to these videos that show KimDaBa in action. KimDaBa, by the way, stands for KDE Image Database. Basically, this is a program that allows you to manage a collection of images in a very effective way. By managing I mean organize, tag, search, and do all sorts of processing.

So, what is so exciting about this particular program?

Well, for starters it uses tags to keep information about pictures. But it’s implementation of tags is a slight improvent over the vanilla tagging used all over the web. KimDaBa allows tags to be categorized. They almost don’t look like tags anymore.

For example, it comes with three categories of tags that can be used to describe the images – People, Locations, and Keywords. Now this is a very smart move from the point of view of an average user. Now there is an easy way of marking who is on the picture and where the picture was taken, as well as storing the usual keywords for the picture.

It is, of course, possible, and I have to say easy, to manage these categories. Particularly, one of the videos shows how to add a category Animals. Tags in the category can be further organized by grouping. For example, tags in the Locations category can be grouped by country or area. Each tag can belong to several groups, which makes it trivial to find.

But tagging in itself is a widely used concept and is not enough to amaze me. What I liked really a lot was the simple and fast interface to tag images. That’s the biggest win. Everyone can use tags to search for images, but noone wants to spend time tagging all those images. KimDaBa makes tagging very fast and effortless. It has two actions for selected set of images – edit them one by one, or edit them altogether. Think about this for a moment…

You want an example? Easy. A couple of hundred pictures from a conference or a party can be tagged with location and event tag just by selecting all of them and choosing the group edit from the menu. That saves a lot of time. In fact it is so easy that I am temted to retag all my pictures in KimDaBa now.

On top of that, KimDaBa has a very powerful, but easy to use searching tool. This one has to be tried rather than described. Never before searching was so easy. Nope. Not even with Google.

All of these nice features are creamed with support for Kipi image plugin interface. Kipi is a joint effort to create a common plugin infrastructure for KDE’s graphical applications. Most of the graphical editors provide actions like resizing, rotating, EXIF manipulations, raw image convertions, contrast and saturation enhancers, slideshows, image gallery creation and things like that. In stead of reimplementing these in every application, Kipi compatible software can just use any number of kipi plugins. And KimDaBa is one of those Kipi compatible applications.

By now you must be asking why am I not converting all my photo albums to KimDaBa at this very moment. And even if you aren’t, I’ll tell you anyway. Because my photo albums are connected to the web in a very specific manner. Since my images have been linked to from a number of places and have been nicely indexed by a number of search engines, I don’t want to change the way they are organized. KimDaBa, although has the whole two ways of exporting albums for the web, still needs more work in this department. Currently it does not provide the way for me to generate a web gallery exactly the way I want without using its Image::KimDaBa perl module (which is a very nice tough by the way).

I appreciate the beauty of KimDaBa very much and I really want to use it all, but I need stronger support for the web. Maybe with all the publicity KimDaBa is getting recently there will be someone who would implement better web integration. But until that happens, I won’t be able to use KimDaBa seriously. It will be just a fun tool for me.

But if you have to manage a large collection of images and be able to find things fast, I strongly suggest you to consider KimDaBa. Once again, check the really cool videos from the website and I guarantee you will be downloading the program ten minutes later.

2 thoughts on “KimDaBa”

  1. Leonid, I am missing something when you say that you don’t use kimdaba because you don’t want to change the layout of your photos on the web. You can still keep the layout as you want and use kimdaba to index your photos. You will need a separate tool to generate the html pages (the same you are using now) but you will get the full tagging and searching power of kimdaba. No?

  2. Marco,

    You will need a separate tool to generate the html pages (the same you are using now) but you will get the full tagging and searching power of kimdaba. No?

    No, I won’t. :)
    I use the gallery from a lot of different places and browser is the only tool that I can use sometimes. Tagging images in KimDaBa won’t make me any good if I am not at home. But I will have to do more work by tagging in both Gallery and KimDaBa.

    Hopefully there will be more options for web in KimDaBa contrib with time. :)

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