Image Index

(c) 1999-2004 Scott M. Baker, SB-Software

Image Index is designed to produce html format catalogs for image files. I can think of two purposes for this software:

  1. You're a webmaster, and your site has a lot of pictures. You want to produce some thumbnail screens to let users browse through the image collection.
  2. You can run Image Index on your local hard drive -- it'll produce html catalogs of all your images, which you can then view with your browser.

Image Index falls into my "special purpose/expert tool" category. It is not indended for novices. The documentation is sparse, it hasn't been as thoroughly "idiot-proofed" as my other software, and it might not even do anything useful for you.

Quick Start: Browsing Your Hard Drive

  1. Select the "Run" tab in the Image Index window.
  2. Enter the starting path. This is the base directory of where you want the catalogs to start. If you want to catalog your entire C: drive, then just enter C:. If you want to catalog just C:\MYIMAGES\, then enter C:\MYIMAGES.
  3. Press the <Start> button.
  4. Image Index will generate the catalogs for you. When it's finished, press the <Browse> button and you may begin browsing.

Quick Start: Creating Web Indices:

  1. You probably want pre-generated thumbnail images; Select the "thumbnail" tab and check the checkbox marked "create thumbnail files".
  2. Select the "Run" tab and enter your starting path. The starting path should be the root directory of your website (or where the images start in your website)
  3. Press the <Start> button
  4. Image Index will generate the catalogs.
  5. Upload the catalogs to your website, presumably via FTP. You will need to upload image*.html in each directory, and the entire imgdex_tn directory. The imgdex_tn directory contains the pregenerated thumbnail images.

Using the "Clean" tab:

If you've run Image Index, and it doesn't suit your needs and you want to delete all of those annoying imageindex.html files, then the clean button is what you'll need. It'll automatically remove all of the files Image Index created.

What the heck is thumbnail generation?

Normally, we want the thumbnails to be much smaller than the fullsize images so that we can view many thumbnails per page. If you're on your local computer, then it doesn't matter how large the thumbnails are, since they are retrieved very fast from your hard drive. We'll just let netscape load the full image and resize it automatically. Our job is done.

However, if you want to put the thumbnail catalogs on the web, then your users won't want to download fullsize files for the thumbnails. What we need is something to generate smaller, condensed thumbnail files -- the user pulls down the small thumbnail files and getss much faster operation. The is where the pregenerated thumbnails come into play.

There are also some other reasons why you might want to let Image Index pregenerate the thumbnails:

  1. Inefficient browsers like Internet Explorer still take a long time to resize images, even from your local disk -- pregenerate the thumbnails and you get faster performance.
  2. The pregenerated thumbnails look nicer than the automatically resized ones. Image Index can do a better job since it's a specialized tool.

What in blazes does the Hierarchy setting do???

Let's assume we have lot's of nested directories. For example, we have an "animals" directory, which has the subdirs "dogs", "cats", "pigs", and "horses". Under the "dogs" directory, we have "shepherd", "collie", "poodle", etc. It'd be nice if we could move between all of these indices with the browser -- that's what the hierarchy generation does. It'll place links in each category page for the subdirectories within it.

However, if you're using Image Index on a website, then you probably want to implement your own links. Turn off hierarchy links and the automatic stuff will go away.

How do I use the header and footer templates?

You can create an html file representing the header or footer and have Image Index automatically incorporate that file into the catalogs. For the header, Image Index will include the entire file, from start to the </body> tag. For the footer, Image Index includes everything from the <body> tag down to the end of the file. If a <body> (or </body>) tag cannot be found, then Image Index just includes the entire file.

Contacting the author:

You may reach me via my website at, or email me at

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