Acidfree is the 4th generation of a brainchild of Darren Hart, Bret Gundersen, and mine as we sought to create a cool webpage that our families could use as a communication hub. The original photo albums looked about the same, but were so integrated into the website that it was a bit of work to extract them and insert them into my own young website. The code was, frankly, not my best work ever. But I was young, inexperienced in web development, php, and user interfaces so my shortcomings can be overlooked for this first generation. The important point is that I got better.

The second generation was a bit of a rewrite to make the albums more modular so it would be easier to share the albums with other people. I think the biggest change was that the new albums were my first attempt at an object-oriented version. But with the limitations that php4 had, it really wasn't done right.

The third generation was a complete rewrite using php5 and a well-designed architecture done by Darren. In short, I thought this was the final resting place for the my photo albums. It worked well, and I was not the only one that thought it was an elegant design. But in the end, I realized that I didn't really want to play the part of Content Manager, Layout, and more. Darren introduced me to Drupal and the rest is history.

I found out that you could create modules to extend Drupal and immediatly the thought that if I could but have my happy albums, I would be a Drupal man. So I set out. At first, my realization that Drupal was object-oriented without using actual php5 object was disappointing. I got over that and wrote a module that extends the node type to behave like a photo album. Some time during this process I chose the name Acidfree because like all the acid-free scrapbooking supplies, my albums will not cause your images to fade or discolor over time. It took me some time and several tries before I was happy with the code structure and program flow. But about two months later, it is running on my own Drupal-based website. And three others.

Since getting Acidfree into the Drupal Contributions section, I have received help from several people in the form of patches, advice, and support help for all the support requests. Robb has also time and a considerable amount of code to get Acidfree working better with the various node_access modules. And finally, (and my wife's favorite part of all of this) is that various people have made monetary donations to the project. These go to a special fund that helps keep my wife happy so I can keep coding.

Behind the name

In the world of photo archival, acid-free paper is essential for the care and protection of your photos. In the paper creation process, the pulp is acidic (whether it is added for some reason or if it is naturally acidic, I don't know) and thus when it is made into paper, it causes what is called slow fires in the paper, which eventually destroys the paper and the images. My wife and all my sisters are avid scrapbookers and have told me that using acid-free paper and supplies is essential. So, when I was making my digital album, I wanted to follow suit and make sure that it was acid free and will keep my photos safe for generations to come.

What Acidfree is and what it isn't

Acidfree is not Gallery. Acidfree is an easy to use, good looking, Drupal-based photo and media album. It was written so that it could be extended to support other media types. It was written so it would be easy enough to use that my mother-in-law could use it.