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A software developer’s musings on software development

Album Thumbnail PHP class

Warning: I wrote this blog post in 2010. That is a long time ago, especially on the internet. My opinions may have changed since then. Technological progress may have made this information completely obsolete. Proceed with caution.

You may have noticed that the thumbnails for albums on our photos page are each little collages. Here are some examples:

Well as of today I’ve received three requests for the code behind these images, so I figured it was time to write up a proper blog post about the it. I mentioned the code in 2006, and that it was inspired by this article from A List Apart. I took their idea and came up with several more layouts to use, and some code to generate the thumbnail from dynamic layouts.

The class takes four image files as input, and generates a thumbnail for them. It does have the annoyance that the generated images have varying heights. I’ve thought about writing a fancy “2.0” version of the code, using Javascript to position/crop/scale the images, then use PHP to render the final result. But who knows if I’ll ever get around to it.

For now, I’ll just show you how it’s used. It’s very easy:

$at = new album_thumbnail();


On my admin page, I initially pick four images at random from a given directory. I can then try again with four more images, or specify to keep some of the images and pick random images for the others, or I can specify the ids of all the images I want to be used. That part is left as an exercise for the reader. Without further ado...

View the source code here.