Alan Richards, a Cornish artist approached us to create a showcase for his many and varied works of art. We discussed his workflows and identified that there would be periodic updates as new collections of his work were photographed and he was ready to put them online. He was keen to be able to organise the photographs into collections that made sense to himself, but didn’t necessarily reflect how they were displayed on the website. We concluded that given the graphics heavy nature of the content by far the simplest approach would be to let Alan manage his content as a simple set of folders accessible via SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol), he could then use any client he felt happy with or even mount the SFTP share as a drive on his computer. This way of working allowed him to directly mirror how he would arrange the photographs within his own computer’s filing system and avoided the overhead of a more complex and fiddly web user interface.

A nightly job rebuilds Alan’s site choosing a random selection of his work to display on the home page and adding any new works into the galleries. The folder structure Alan uses to manage the content is ignored by the scripts that rebuild the site and instead we look for a text file to accompany each image, that file contains the prose to go with the art and some specific markup such as the tags to associate the art with, it is these tags that create the set of galleries presented on the site.

The end result is a site that Alan can manage with minimal fuss and using tools he’s familiar with on his computer making it easy to periodically come back to things after an absence without the trouble of remembering how some special custom UI worked.

'About' page on Alan Richard's website 'Gallery' page on Alan Richard's website 'Artwork' page on Alan Richard's website

You can visit Alan’s page at