Saturday, December 8, 2012

Nested Folders for PicasaWeb, now Google Plus, now Google Photos

I have always been a fan of Google's products, but was not willing to spend the kind of money that most android devices cost.  However, Ting changed all that; I was able to get an android phone with a plan I liked at a price I liked.

I have always used Google's online picture storage applications, first PicasaWeb, and more recently Google+.  And I have always been bothered by the fact that I was unable to have nested folders in them.  I understand that the world is moving away from the folder mentality for base storage, but it still exists as a viewing option in most applications.  The desktop application Picasa even offers this feature, but for some reason it was left out of PicasaWeb.

With my android phones auto upload feature for photos I started taking a lot more pictures, and my online picture storage started getting messier and messier.  Finally I could not handle it and decided that if Google was not going to fix the issue after five years of people asking, then I would fix it.  I have always liked PicasaWeb more than Google+, probably just personal preference, but I decided to write a plugin for PicasaWeb to give me the folders I wanted.

The original Labs project for GMail folders gave me the idea.  After a few hours of hacking apart the PicasaWeb HTML interface I had a nice little Chrome extension that worked in the background and turned:


Into the three level folder hierarchy I wanted.  Now granted it was not quite perfect, no flash icon or anything like that, but I decided to put it into the Chrome web store for others to have if they wanted.  A day later I went to look at it and the lack of images looked horrible, so I went back, added a setting feature to remove the right side bar and create more view-able area for the folders, added an icon and an example image and uploaded the second version.

Now this little tool works great for me and does what I need.  Before I started putting a lot of effort into it I figured I would wait and see if others felt the same way.  So now I wait, this major missing feature is now available for Chrome users, time will tell just how major others feel the feature is.

Edit (5/2013): I have finally found the time to port this extension over to Google+.  The project ended up being more difficult than I had anticipated.  Google+ makes it very difficult to modify the pages DOM, so I ended up having to actually replace all the album objects with my own custom version.  The port is pretty good for a first version.  The biggest complaint I have is that sometimes the javascript navigation that Google+ uses doesn't trigger it to run.  But it works for now.

Edit2 (5/2016): I, once again, have found the time to port this extension to Google's newest photo product Google Photos.  You can download the newest version here.  For those of you who have a really large number of albums, like myself, the plugin will scroll to the bottom of the list of albums, wait 2 seconds, then scroll to the bottom again.  It will repeat this process until all your albums have been loaded; otherwise you would have missing albums on the page.  You can adjust the delay time in the plugin settings.