Padilicious on the iPad
Apple just made an announcement that they have sold 2 million iPads in 60 days, and for the most part just domestic sales. It is clear that this device and other ones like it will be the default picture viewer in the near future if not already. I have been looking for the best way to put my bird images on the iPad and have found a couple of great applications in Dropbox and the built in photo application. Both have great photo resolution and Dropbox can be shared with other users, but I also wanted to have a web based gallery that anyone with an iPad can share the same experience without invitation.
Padalicious is one such solution. I first heard of it from the great Andy Ihnatko and it seemed to be an interesting way to create a gallery (portfolio if you will) specifically tailored to the iPad. I really fell in love with the ability to have text that can be used for promotion or image descriptions. It is billed as a simple task but as usual became a rather lengthy project. So lets take a look at Padalicious and maybe I can save you some time and trouble.
it’s an Automator action that requires you to be working on a Mac with Snow Leopard installed and it gives you a few options. A cover page with or without text and images with or without text are the main features. The cover page requires some title text that must be displayed in the center of the image. The only way I can think of to eliminate that text is to make it a very small and the same color as the background image so that it can’t be seen. Next, there is no control over the text that appears with the images (Padilicious calls it the “Carousel”). That’s right, no control at all. To make matters worse, the text that is displayed on your desktop Safari in the preview is different than the text on the iPad. In fact the text displayed on the iPad is virtually impossible to read. I spent quite a while trying to get around this and then finally resorted to editing the the text in the “photos” CSS page using Go Live. Problem solved. Editing the Style Sheets directly gave me complete control over text fonts, color and size.
Prepare your images. If you want to have text with your images you will really, really want to add, edit it, and check it twice before attempting the Automator action. Don’t exactly know why but anytime you add to or edit and image and the rerun the Automator action it usually does not pick up the changes. Does not matter if you are pulling images using iPhoto of just the finder. The easiest way I found around this is to just copy all the photos and put them in a new folder, then all the changes are picked up. Concentrate on horizontal images too. They simply look much better and vertical (portraits) are not displayed full screen. Set your pixels to 1024 on the long side with a 4×6 aspect ratio, bigger hi-res images will tend to make the document pretty large. In order to control which order they appear I simply renamed them to letters of the alphabet. I used Adobe Bridge to add the text to the images in the description field of the meta data menu, but you can do the same in Lightroom, Apeture, and iPhoto. The website also has a link to an Automator download to edit the data in Finder.
Upload. Wile the instructions guide you through hosting on Mobile Me, you can also upload the Padalicious folder to any hosting server. Simply rename the folder to whatever you like and upload the whole thing then just point to the “index.html” file inside the folder and you are done.
Too much real estate. As soon as you fire up the gallery on the iPad the first thing you will notice is that the image is larger than the screen, the address and bookmark bars are taking up valuable pixels. Safari only goes to full screen for video right? Wrong. Save it as a home screen link and then relaunch. The Padilicious gallery is displayed in beautiful full screen mode and everything is sized correctly. I do find it disappointing that a casual viewer won’t see the gallery at it’s best and think it is too much to expect someone to make a home screen link just to see it once, but that is an Apple failing.
Crash. Yep it will crash, if you zip through it like you are playing a video game it will crash. I suppose it may have something to do with the number and size of images and it stresses the processor, but if you take the time to actually view the pictures as they come up it seems to work OK. A lot of things crash the iPad, this is no worse than many others. *After doing a hard restart the gallery has not crashed once.
Conclusion. If you are a looking for a pro look you are probably going to want to have some one just do web pages from scratch. If you don’t have much time, you might not be happy with the results right out of the box and would be better served to look around for something else. But if you are a guy like me with a little time, only a little money, and a decent working knowledge of the “inter-nets”, you can come up with a pretty cool portfolio on the go that anyone in the world with an iPad can view. Best of all it is free.
To download and learn more about Padalicious click Here.