Automated Photo Sharing with Photocrumbs

Dmitri Popov

Productivity Sauce

May 29, 2014 GMT
Dmitri Popov

Using a simple Bash script and a cron job, you can turn Photocrumbs into an automated photo sharing bot. This way, you can drop multiple photos into a separate directory, and the script/cron job combo will publish them one-by-one at specified intervals (e.g., hourly, daily, etc.). The basic version of the Bash script is simplicity itself:

#!/bin/bash
FILE=$(ls *.{jpeg,jpg,JPG,JPEG} | head -1)
mv $FILE /var/www/photocrumbs/photos/

The script uses the ls and head tools to obtain the name of the first photo in the current directory. The script then copies the photo to the photos directory inside the Photocrumbs installation. To set up the script, create a text file and paste the code above into it. Save the script under the photobot.sh name, and make it executable using the chmod +x photobot.sh command. Next, you need to create a cron job that will run the script at a specified schedule. Use the crontab -e command to open the crontab file for editing and add the following job to it (replace path/to/dir with the actual path to the directory containing the script and the photos):

daily cd path/to/dir ./photobot.sh

This job will run the script once a day, but you can specify any other schedule. Of course, this basic script can be improved in a number of ways. For example, you can add a condition which aborts the script if there are no photos in the directory:

#!/bin/bash
FILE=$(ls *.{jpeg,jpg,JPG,JPEG} | head -1)
if [[ -n "$FILE" ]]; then
 mv $FILE /var/www/photocrumbs/photos/
else
 exit 0
fi

Since Photocrumbs can pull descriptions from accompanying .php files, you can tweak the script to generate a .php file with predefined text for each photo.

#!/bin/bash
FILE=$(ls * | head -1)
TEXT="Monkey loves banana"
if [[ -n "$FILE" ]]; then
 PHP_FILE="${FILE%%.*}".php
 echo $TEXT > $PHP_FILE
 mv $FILE /var/www/photocrumbs/photos/
 mv $PHP_FILE /var/www/photocrumbs/photos/
else
 exit 0
fi

Another variation of the script grabs a random line from the text.txt file and uses the obtained text as a description of the published photo:

#!/bin/bash
FILE=$(ls * | head -1)
if [[ -n "$FILE" ]]; then
 TEXT=$(shuf -n 1 text.txt)
 PHP_FILE="${FILE%%.*}".php
 echo $TEXT > $PHP_FILE
 mv $FILE /var/www/photocrumbs/photos/
 mv $PHP_FILE /var/www/photocrumbs/photos/
else
 exit 0
fi

Of course, this technique is not limited to Photocrumbs: you can easily adapt the script to work with any other photo sharing application that publishes photos by pulling them from a specific directory.

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