I was desperately looking for a way to manage my small photo collection. I ve got a few key requirements that the solution had to cover:

  • Sync the Collection between my PC and my Notebook
  • Tagging and Searching of the pictures on both systems (without any network connection)
  • Website, Album and Slideshow creator (generator)
  • Some basic editing features (red eyes, brithness, lossless rotation, etc)

None of the tools (i know of) on the market can do all this. So i have to find a solution that works as painless as possible for me. While looking around i was somewhat surprised that it gets even more complicated when you want to use different tools to manage your photo collection. There is no widley adopted standard for tagging and searching of your pictures. When you add a discription to a picture in tool A it is not visible in tool B. I ve tried Picasa, Zoombrowser and the WinXP own tools.
There are industry standards like IPTC that most tools want to be compatible with, but in fact they are not.

But thats another story. Before we go into tagging and searching i need to do a simple sync of the files and folders between my PC and Laptop. I ve started with the WinXP own sync tools but that doesnt work very well. MS seems to know that and provides a free download of “The Sync Toy”. Its a very easy to use Tool to sync any Folder you want. The sync between the two Systems is solved by the MS Sync Toy.
The tagging of the picture was a much more difficult problem, because almost every photo managing Tool (picasa, Zoombrowser, WinXP it self) stores the tags and other information (like descriptions) in its own proprietary format. And dispite of that it is almost impossible to sync this proprietary data. (Note that another requierment is that i dont want to spend lots of money for bigger solutions like cumulus.)
The tool that uses a (Adobe) standard format based on XML/RDF called XMP and also writes standard IPTC tags is PixVue . It writes IPTC & XMP which Picasa is able to read.

So, i do all the tagging with PixVue (its free), do the sorting / searching with picasa and the synching with MS Sync Toy.

A Slideshow and Webpage generator is included in Picasa and in PixVue. The Picasa Generator is very limited and does not support own templates BUT it can generate XML to do your complete own layout of the pages.
This combination works best for me…..