IT: Technology, Language, and Culture

iPhoto for iOS Journals

One of the niftiest new features of iPhoto for iOS are the Journals. Journals are digital scrapbooks, with photos, videos, and text items, including dividers, subheads, free-form text fields, and widgets (“Extras” in Apple parlance) like calendars, weather, and location and map data.

The Journals are created via the Sharing icon; you select images and videos, a layout and background, and give the Journal a title (if you’re creating a Journal based on an album, the album name is automatically supplied as the title, but you can change it). Once you have arranged the images and videos, and added the extras you want, you can Publish the journals to iCloud, or to a public Webpage derived from your iCloud account. Any changes you make to the journal (or its photos) can then be applied to the published version.

That’s all well and good.

But if you use the iTunes File Sharing support for iPhoto, you can export your journals. Open the journal in iPhoto, tap the Share icon, then tap the iTunes icon. Next, connect your iOS device to your computer, and open iTunes. Select your device, then click the Apps tab, and scroll down to the File Sharing pane.

Exporting is a bit slow (the speed is very much dependent on the resolution and size of your photos and their number) but you end up with a neat, orderly directory named after you journal, with all the photos, thumbnails, versions of the widgets and their data, and Javascript, htacces, html files included to create an independent mini Website. All you need to do is upload the entire directory and its files.

I suspect Journals were at least partially meant to be a replacement for .mac Web galleries, and, to some extent, for iWeb. It’s a nice idea. What I would have preferred as a feature, personally, was something like the old iCards, even if they were email only.