Wednesday, December 17, 2003

iPhoto: A Potemkin Application?

Apple - Discussions - Restore from iPhoto Disc: Not Truly Possible?
I'd naively assumed that when one burned albums to an iPhoto Disc (CD/DVD) one could then restore the albums to iPhoto.

Today I actually tested that. I was stunned by the results, so I turned to Adam Engst's excellent book and a number of web searches. They all tended to confirm my fears.

Yes, one can drag and drop images from an iPhoto Disc into an iPhoto Library. But one can't drag and drop albums. If you drag and drop the SAME photo from two iPhoto Disc albums (one photo appearing in two albums), iPhoto stores TWO photos. The data relating a photo to an album is not transferred.

Please tell me I'm wrong. I've reviewed help files and online references and my iPhoto books. They all point in the same direction. The iPhoto help file suggests one can restore albums, but it doesn't say how. I suspect this functionality was scheduled for the release but didn't make it in.

Burning a CD from iPhoto 2 apparently does not, contrary to common perceptions allow one to restore an iPhoto Library. It's commonly known that one cannot restore roll information, but it is not widely understood that one cannot restore the relationship between a single photo and one or more albums that 'reference' the image file.

Backups of an iPhoto Library must be done using standard methods, such as Retrospect and Backup. Given the very high frequency of occult corruption of iPhoto databases, and the size of the Librarires, these are not ideal solutions.

iTunes is a very good application. I can't comment on iMovie. iPhoto 2 is infuriating. It has aspects of genius outweighed by great flaws. Database corruption is commonplace and hard to detect. Performance is laughable. (I overheard an Apple store employee trying to claim that 1000 records was a lot to handle, thankfully he was not a "genius bar" worker.) Then this -- the primary "backup" modality for iPhoto doesn't support a full restore of the work done. It's primarily a modality for sharing individual images.

Bottom line: iPhoto 1 shipped 6 months too soon, iPhoto 2 shipped 4 months too soon.

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