Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

72photos: Proto/Scripty Photo Sharing Site

Category: Examples, Prototype, Scriptaculous

XMG Networks has thrown their hat into the on-line photo sharing ring with the launch of 72photos, an Ajax-heavy site which looks at least partially inspired by Apple’s iPhoto ’08-generated web galleries.

We asked 72photos to tell us a bit about how they went about building the site and how it compares to competitors like Flickr and Smugmug; “Eric A” kindly replied with some details:

Building the Site

We do indeed use Prototype / Scriptaculous for our main Javascript frameworks and it’s been that combination from the very beginning. There’s always been a way to accomplish want we’ve needed PT and is due to the fact we tend to use more of the basic PT functions (selectors, event handers) and build our own “sub-frameworks” as we go along. Our functionality is fairly unique to the web and hasn’t been done in any sort of pre-packaged framework yet (as I know of). Thus, we found ourselves building a good portion of things in-house.


We don’t do anything extremely new or groundbreaking in terms of features at the moment, somewhat of a reason for that is the fact our site appeals to a large percentage of novice users and we wanted to tune our functions to resemble something such as a desktop application which seems to be the familiar place for all users. However, as development continues, we’re constantly finding the balance between integrating professional features as well as fine-tuning the basic features that everyone is familiar with. There are a myriad of experimental features we have planned and developed, but opted to build a solid foundation incorporating those familiarities before implementing our more eccentric features which we’ll be looking to integrate over the next few months.

Compared to Other Photo Sharing Sites

1. Fully customizable photo galleries – Our gallery interface features drag & drop functionality to add and arrange photos in a gallery. Real time customization options let users customize the colors and fonts for the gallery and preview the changes real-time. Several preset gallery themes are also available. Here’s a sample screen:

2. Profile pages – All users get a full profile page displaying all their photos, tags and galleries elegantly:

3. Community Features – Our community features are also superior to that of other sites, such as the ability to track friends activity by seeing recent uploads or galleries by them and having the ability specify the type of friend they are (friend / family) then modify your photo/gallery/profile permissions accordingly.

4. Editing – Our editing features are all done in Ajax / Javascript which covers the basic cropping, effects, enhancing, constraining and will soon feature much more robust functions including step-by-step versioning (compared to our basic versioning features) and a greater array of editing effects and manipulation functions (batch editing, watermarking, etc).

5. Webspace – We always save users fullsize photos, no size caps on individual photos or monthly limits. Only an overall size limit per account type (free or pro).

6. Usability – All the backend functions are done “real-time” in lightbox windows, so there is minimal page reloading which is offers a considerable increase in efficiency when working with photos and galleries.

Eric also shared some of their plans for the future:

Currently, 72photos is just an evolved version of sites such as Smugmug, Flickr, and Zenfolio. Offering features to professionals and novice users in a carefully thought out and intuitive interface. In the near future we’ll be greatly expanding our community features to cover areas of what you do after the point of uploading and editing your photos. Such as offering areas for photographers and artists to sell their art and other areas such as a place allowing models to find photographers in their area, vice versa, and more.

I just wish the iPhone would follow other handset manufacturer’s lead and put a really nice camera in the phone. I know I’d pay extra money to have a 4 MP camera with a nice lens and a flash…

Posted by Ben Galbraith at 5:00 am

3.8 rating from 39 votes


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Very nice design, and some pretty cool Ajax. I wonder how they do the image effects – via the backend, I expect, though I know someone has used the Canvas tag to do client side image effects.

Another take on the image gallery can be seen at

This one also features a lot of AJAX (mainly jQuery). Plus, you can text your images to it, and they will magically appear in your gallery.

Comment by ajk47 — June 18, 2008

It looks great, but why’s it called I thought the whole stupid /[0-9][0-9].+\.com/ meme had died off. (I’m sure that regex is wrong, but I’m drunk. You get the idea. 37folders, 24ideas, 32somethings, 17etc)

Comment by mrdanimal — June 19, 2008

mrdanimal – domains are running out, with just about everything sensible registered. It’s probably going to come down to prefixing words with numbers, or making up brand new words to get a .com less than 30 characters long.

Comment by mike08 — June 19, 2008

I use :

Free Image Hosting Service – Pic4us

is online again and open

Comment by sangor — July 12, 2008

Wow, what a gorgeous site. I remember the old days in the 90’s when blinking text was “rad.” It’s so nice to see that new technologies like Ajax are not only cool, they enhance a site user’s experience.

Comment by beersdesign — October 27, 2008

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