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Posted 24 Nov 2004

Photo album browsing control

, 1 Dec 2004
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A web control that allows photo album browsing


This control allows someone to include a photo album browser on their website with the minimum of fuss. It is implemented as a web control that can be sited within a parent ASP.NET page. It automatically generates a treeview of navigable albums, the album pages themselves and all the navigation elements. New albums can be uploaded by just uploading a directory containing the source images to a specific folder on the server.

To see a live running example go to


Previous to writing this web control I was using JAlbum to create static HTML pages for all the photos that I wanted to host on my website. Eventually the number of photos I was putting online was becoming unmanageable and I was finding it a chore to write the HMTL to link all of the albums together. I therefore decided to write an application that allowed me to simply upload the photos to the server and get ASP.NET to do the hard work of producing the pages. My first attempt worked but was a bit clunky due to me not knowing ASP.NET particularly well. What is presented here is my second version which I think is much improved. The control will render the album treeview, which is based on the file structure under a specified ‘photos’ directory. As the user navigates around the photos, the web control produces thumbnail pages for each album. This can be navigated through via the usual forward and back buttons. The user can examine photos in greater detail by clicking on each thumbnail, at which point they are also able to add comments.

Using the code

The code is comprised of three Visual Studio 2003 projects

  • The PhotoBrowser project is an ASP.NET web application that contains the control that renders the HTML.
  • The PhotoBrowserLibrary class project that encapsulates the photo directory file structure.
  • And the squishyTREE project which contains the treeview control that is used to display the album list. Note that this project is copy of the one released by squishyWARE, modified by adding a parent property to the TreeNode class.

In order to use the photo browser in your web application you'll need to perform the following steps:

  1. Import the PhotoBrowser.ascx file and the PhotoBrowserRes directory. PhotoBrowser.ascx is the web control itself and the PhotoBrowserRes directory contains the images it requires.
  2. Add a reference to the PhotoBrowserLibrary DLL and the squishyTREE DLL.
  3. Add the following line to you page, just before the closing </head> tag:.
    <script type="text/javascript" src="PhotoBrowserRes/overlib/overlib.js">
    <!-- overLIB (c) Erik Bosrup --></script>
  4. Add the following line just after the <body> tag.
    <div id="overDiv" style="position:absolute; visibility:hidden; 
Then simply drag the web control on to your .aspx page, as shown below.

Points of Interest

The treeview is implemented using the excellent squishyTREE control from The comment popups were implemented using the excellent overLib. I used some code from here to help me sort out getting the date the photo was taken from the embedded EXIF data (apologies if this is the wrong link but I can’t honestly remember where it came from).

Popups by overLIB!

Known Issues

The application currently only detects changes in the photos contained within a directory when the number stored in the database and the number on the file system differs. This is for performance reasons. At some point in the future I would like to make this cleverer so that it can detect when an image has been 'touched' (e.g. its size changes). There is also no way to use a hyperlink to externally link to a single album (although you can use a link for individual photos). Lastly, I know there are a number of issues with the attached CSS. This CSS was *obtained* from JAlbum and I haven't had a chance to strip it down to the bare minimum.

I welcome any feedback or comments.


  • 1.3 (2 Dec 2004)
    • Implemented the comment popups using overLib.

  • 1.2 (29 Nov 2004)
    • Removed the Tooltip JavaScript includes from the source archive due to not being aware of the licensing restrictions.

  • 1.1 (26 Nov 2004)
    • Updated to handle ampersands in photo filenames and for the source archive to include the squishyTREE control project.

  • 1.0 (24 Nov 2004)
    • Initial release


This article has no explicit license attached to it but may contain usage terms in the article text or the download files themselves. If in doubt please contact the author via the discussion board below.

A list of licenses authors might use can be found here


About the Author

Web Developer
United Kingdom United Kingdom
I'm currently working in London working on a variety of technologies.

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