sm-photo-tool 1.16 released!

Hey there Smugmuggers!

I’m releasing version 1.16 of sm-photo-tool tonight. For those that don’t know, sm-photo-tool is a command line program that aids in managing your photos on Given a directory of photos, you can create a new album on, then upload all of the pictures in the directory into that newly created album.

[jmrodri@firebird ~]$ cd myphotos
[jmrodri@firebird  myphotos]$ sm-photo-tool create 'my photos album'
[my photos album] created with id [9164554]
[jmrodri@firebird myphotos]$ sm-photo-tool update
./spaceshuttlehuge.jpg...[OK] 939321 bytes 24 seconds 38KB/sec ETA 0
24 939321 bytes 38KB/sec

This release is mainly a maintenance release but I also refactored the code from a single python file to a series of modules, and cleaned up the available commands.


Version 1.15 of sm-photo-tool contained a single python script, while this is easy to use, it is a bear to maintain. All of the commands were moved into as new classes.  I then replaced all of the horrible option parsing from the previous script in the individual command classes. Thanks to yum and tito project for the inspiration in moving the commands to a separate module.


In the process of refactoring I deemed a few of the commands as redundant and merged them into other commands.

[jmrodri@firebird ~]$ sm-photo-tool 

Usage: sm-photo-tool [options] MODULENAME --help

Supported modules:

	create         creates a new gallery and uploads the given files.
	list           Lists the files in an album, or lists available galleries
	upload         Upload the given files to the given gallery_id.
	full_update    Mirror an entire directory tree.
	update         Updates gallery with any new or modified images.
  • create_upload no longer exists, it was replaced by create –upload
  • galleries merged with list
  • list gained two new options album and galleries
[jmrodri@firebird ~]$ sm-photo-tool list --help
Usage: sm-photo-tool list 

Lists the files in an album, or lists available galleries

  -h, --help           show this help message and exit
  --login=LOGIN username
  --password=PASSWORD password
  --quiet              Don't tell us what you are doing


If you download the tarball, do the following:

  • cd /opt/
  • sudo tar -zxf ~/Download/sm-photo-tool-1.16.tar.gz
  • cd sm-photo-tool-1.16/src/
  • copy the smugmugrc to $HOME/.smugmugrc
  • add your login and password to .smugmugrc
  • ./sm-photo-tool –help

Fedora users have an easier time :) <pre>rpm -Uvh</pre&gt;

Happy uploading! If you run into any problems, leave me a comment or write up an issue here:

Busy weekend

It was a busy weekend, Liz went away for the weekend while I watched the 3 kids. They were actually very well behaved and gave me little to no trouble. I was expecting quite a bit :D We went to their Friday playgroup, afterwards had the kid’s favorite: McDonald’s for dinner. On Saturday, we went to Border’s to get the kid’s some books, I went with the intention to buy Doctor Who Season 2, but didn’t want to pay the $68 for it. I ended up getting a Doctor Who book instead, yeah I’m as surprised as you that I ended up with a book.

In the evenings I spent the time catching up on my sci-fi shows: finished watching Doctor Who Season 4, saw all of Season 1 (I started with Season 2), and I started watching Firefly (thanks robin). I also managed to get 2 patches submitted and accepted to redstone-xmlrpc, and I submitted the package to jpackage for review. Another library I use all the time is jdbcLogDriver written by a former colleague of mine, I got commit access to it this weekend as well. Today I started to shake the dust off zmugfs. I still haven’t been able to add write access to the file system, and the read mode is extremely slow at startup. I need a better algorithm for downloading the photos and caching them.


I released a new version of sm-photo-tool. It’s a simple script that that was originally written by John Ruttenberg wrote. I took it and packaged it in rpm form and have been maintaining it under source control (versus a forum).

sm-photo-tool help
Usage: sm-photo-tool create gallery_name [options] [file...]
       sm-photo-tool create_upload gallery_name [options] [file...]
       sm-photo-tool update [options]
       sm-photo-tool full_update [options]
       sm-photo-tool upload gallery_id [options] file...

       sm-photo-tool --help for complete documentaton

It’s create to upload an entire directory of photos to smugmug from the command line.

zmugfs roadmap

I released zmugfs 0.1 on October 31st, 2007, but I haven’t done anything else with it since then. I’m overdue for finishing it.

Next up is to add the write mode capability to the file system which will actually allow you to upload your photos to Here’s a quick list:

  • ability to create:
    • albums
    • categories
    • subcategories
  • upload photos
  • edit attributes of photos (not quite sure how this will work)

Stay tuned for more.

    Why they do Python…

    Found this nugget while reading blogs this morning: Python Experts – Why They Do Python

    In the article they ask “What do you think is the most important feature of the Python language?” I’m surprised that the fact that white space is part of the language leading to more readable code was one of the strengths. When I first learned Python I hated the white space being part of the syntax. Coming from Java it seemed unnatural. But after a while it’s a wonderful thing. It makes the code easier to read, I’ve become very fond of it.

    My favorite response to the question was by Tim:

    It’s pragmatic nature.. It doesn’t try to be the coolest or most flexible or most ‘enterprisey’. It gives the programmer a very predictable framework in which to ply their skills. In short it doesn’t dictate or get in the way but does gently suggest that you could do better…

    If you haven’t played with Python, I urge you to give it a try. It’s best to pick a project and try to do it in Python. You’ll have to do more than one because at first the frustration will annoy you, especially if you’re coming from Java. But after a bit of coding you’ll wonder why you never moved to Python a long time ago. :)

    SOAP is dirty!

    Contrary to popular belief, SOAP is dirty! When folks talk about web services they immediately think SOAP, which is unfortunate. When I think of a web service I think of system either a web site, a service running in your companies intranet, even a service running on the same machine, that I can send simple messages to and receive responses. The key is SIMPLE messages.

    Yes, that’s a rather loose definition. Mail servers probably fall into that definition, but to me that’s a web service. Well not very webby but a service nonetheless. So if SOAP is dirty what else can you use to create web services? Well there’s the venerable XML-RPC which is truly simple unlike SOAP. Most people don’t use XML-RPC because it doesn’t support “objects”, but then again those are overrated too. Seriously folks, you send a message you get back a structure. You really don’t need more than a hash or an array.

    Other reasons folks don’t like XML-RPC are that it lacks support for long data types (only supports integers), UTF-8 encoding (makes it hard to use for internationalization), and doesn’t have the concept of null. Those are all valid reasons, but a lot of times you don’t need that stuff in which case it’s still better to use XML-RPC rather than SOAP. The ease of development and ease of use from an api users point of view out weighs a lot of those things. XML-RPC is also trivial to understand. The specification is easy to digest: Compare that to the monstrosity of the SOAP spec. There still quite a few application that use XML-RPC as an API:, func, Red Hat Network, and flickr.

    If the limitations of XML-RPC truly are deal breakers for you, you’re probably wondering “I guess I’ll need to use SOAP!” Well, aside from needing soap to stay clean, you can actually be SOAP free in your web services and still use longs, nulls, etc. How? Use REST.

    There are two ways to implement REST services. There’s the purist way which uses the verbs of the HTTP protocol such as PUT, DELETE, POST, etc. The other more common way is to simply use the GET and POST. You supply your parameters on the URL including the method to be called and get back an XML response. A downside to REST is that the XML response is defined by the web service implementor, unlike XML-RPC or SOAP which have a defined structure. Nonetheless, REST has become very popular among web sites such as,, and

    REST and XML-RPC are not the only alternatives to SOAP, JSON is another. JSON is commonly done as a REST web service with the exception that the response is in JSON format. Most folks assume JSON is for use with JavaScript and web applications only, but that is not true. The thing I like most about JSON + REST is I get the ease of calling by a simple URL and get a well formatted easy to read response that supports nulls, UTF-8, and longs. You get none of the scum from SOAP, none of the limitations of XML-RPC, and a well understood format unlike the typical REST response.

    Ok the best way to “see” this is by looking at some code. Let’s look at XML-RPC first. Let’s assume we are calling the “smugmug.images.get” method at Using an XML-RPC library for your language (java, python, perl).

    client = ServerProxy("")
    session = client.loginWithPassword("uname", "pass")
    imgdata = client.smugmug.images.get(session, image_id)
    print imgdata['id']

    It’s that simple. The library did the parsing for me. imgdata will most likely be a hash. The library sent over something like this:

    <?xml version="1.0"?>

    The server responds with something like this:

    <?xml version="1.0"?>

    Pretty easy to read isn’t it? But as you saw in the code you didn’t have to know how to read it.

    Let’s try the same thing with REST. There are no frameworks that handle REST directly as it’s just a simple HTTP GET or POST and an XML document response.
    url = ""
    call = url + "?method=smugmug.images.get&session=AXE0123&id=40"
    response = urllib.urlopen(call).read()
    # parse response XML into a dictionary
    imgdata = parse(response)

    In most cases you’ll probably have to write your own framework which isn’t really that hard, I did it. What gets sent out is a simple HTTP GET request to What you get back is an XML document which you will need to parse.

    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>
    <rsp stat="ok">
      <Image id="17833"/>
      <Image id="17832"/>

    Yes, it’s XML but so far it’s not too bad is it? You’re probably itching to see what JSON and SOAP can do huh? Well, heeeeere’s JSON! (that’s a Johnny Carson reference for you youngins).

    url = ""
    call = url + "?method=smugmug.images.get&session=AXE0123&id=40"
    response = urllib.urlopen(call).read()
    # use builtin python library simplejson to read
    imgdata = simplejson.loads(response)

    The nice part about this is I don’t have to parse the response because libraries like simplejson do that for me. And I can easily make the calling code generic as I did in Again, the request is nothing more than a simple HTTP GET. The response is a nice JSON object.


    As you can see it is very easy to read and no nasty XML to deal with either. Best part is you could use this in an AJAX web ui with no need to create more than one API.
    There you have it, nice alternatives for creating web services without using SOAP.

    Oh you want to see the SOAP version of the above? hrm. smugmug was wise not to create a SOAP version of the API, but here is what it would probably look like. I’m warning you, you don’t want to see it. Ok here goes.

      import org.apache.axis.client.Call;
      import org.apache.axis.client.Service;
      import javax.xml.namespace.QName;
      public class TestClient {
        public static void main(String [] args) {
          try {
            String endpoint =
            Service service = new Service();
            Call call = (Call) service.createCall();
            call.setTargetEndpointAddress( new );
            call.setOperationName(new QName("", GetImagesFromSmugmug"));
            List<Integer> ret = (List<Integer>) call.invoke( new Object[] { "AXE0123", new Integer(40) } );
            System.out.println("Sent 'Hello!', got '" + ret.toString() + "'");
          } catch (Exception e) {

    Yes, I know it’s Java and not python, but that’s another problem with SOAP. The better libraries are written for Java not python, perl, etc.

    What would the SOAP request look like you ask? Probably like this:


    Followed by a nasty response:

             xsi:type="xsd:int" mustUnderstand="1">

    Seriously folks, it is truly possible to create web services and software as a service WITHOUT resorting to the evil that SOAP is. So the next time you plan on developing a web services api for your application consider XML-RPC, REST, and JSON.