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iPhoto 2.0 -- Mostly Good News

by Derrick Story
Mac Newsletter for 01/31/2003

Dear Reader,

Apple released iPhoto 2.0 for download today, and I've had a chance to run it through a few preliminary tests. I've been receiving lots of questions about its new data structure. I hope this letter will provide you with a few top-of-mind answers.

First of all, this upgrade seems like mostly good news. iPhoto 2.0 has a hefty list of new features and improvements such as the Enhance and Retouch tools. They are very intuitive, and you'll be up to speed in no time. But we already knew about those goodies, right?

The Upgrade Process

The burning question has been how 2.0 restructures your iPhoto Library, and what will break as a result. Before I get into those details, let me quickly outline the procedure you should follow for this upgrade.

  1. Before you do anything, back up your iPhoto Library (or libraries) located in the Pictures folder in your Home directory. I used the iPod for this since I keep it with me in my backpack.

  2. If you have multiple iPhoto Libraries, select the smallest one for testing 2.0. You may even want to create a test library just to be super safe.

  3. Download version 2.0 from Apple's iPhoto page. It's a 32MB transfer, but the Apple servers seem to be in good shape, and it only took a few minutes (if you have bandwidth to begin with). You can also use Software Update.

  4. Check out the documentation in the Read Before You Install folder, then double-click the iPhoto.pkg installer.

  5. After the installer has updated your existing iPhoto app, launch iPhoto. It will notify you that it has to update your existing Library. Click OK.

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Check your preferences to make sure they're set correctly, and start enjoying the new iPhoto!

Library Folder Structure and iPhoto Library Manager

The first thing I did after the install and Library update was to go to my Pictures folder and see what 2.0 did to my iPhoto Library. On the surface it appears that everything is the same. Apparently all the changes are internal.

I then decided to test iPhoto Library Manager 1.0. If everything was the same on the outside (file names, folder structure, and so on), then why wouldn't the existing version of iPhoto Library Manager work?

Lo and behold, Library Manager allowed me to quit iPhoto, switch libraries, then launch iPhoto again--just as always. (Note: Be sure to QUIT iPhoto before switching libraries. No Exceptions!)

BetterHTMLExport 1.6.4 Didn't Fare As Well

Unfortunately, when I tried to create a web page using my favorite plug-in, BetterHTMLExport 1.6.4 , it didn't work. And in fact, having it in the iPhoto 2.0 plug-ins folder seemed to disturb the default web page generator, so I recommend that you pull BetterHTMLExport 1.6.4 out for the time being. Once I removed it, the default generator seemed to work much better.

Conclusions

I'll continue to test iPhoto 2.0 over the next few days (and get to working on the update for "iPhoto: The Missing Manual "). But if you carefully back up your data, you should be able to upgrade to iPhoto 2.0 right now and begin enjoying its benefits, including still using the iPhoto Library Manager. The exception is, if you need the BetterHTML plug-in, then you might want to hold off until an update for that package is available. Word is, the plug-in update should be ready soon.

I want to stress that these are only preliminary findings. As you discover things through your testing, you might want to share them with others via the TalkBacks at the end of my weblog on the same subject.

Until next time,
Derrick
--
Derrick Story
O'Reilly Network Managing Editor
derrick@oreilly.com

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