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Announcing Flickriver – my latest project

FlickriverI love Flickr. I use it almost daily – I post my own photographs and view photos my friends are posting. I search Flickr for specific locations, events, objects or people. Sometimes, I explore Flickr and discover amazing pictures and great photographers.

I think Flickr has great user interface, but after using it for a while I could think of quite a few things I wanted to add, tweak or just do a bit differently.

Enter Flickriver – my latest personal project. It’s new website that offers a different approach to viewing and exploring Flickr photos. Basically, it encompasses several of my ideas for how Flickr viewing experience could be enhanced. As I said, I’ve been thinking about these ideas for a while now, so I used the recent holiday to go ahead and implement some of them using the Flickr API – and this is how Flickriver was born.

Here are a few examples of what Flickriver offers:

  • River of photos view – on Flickriver, the photographs are always displayed as one continuous stream – you can view thousands of photos without ever needing to hit ‘next’ and waiting for the next page to load! This is also known as “infinite scroll”. I noticed that with paged interfaces, I’d typically see a page or two of any specific view and then give up and move on to something else. With “river of photos” I can see much more photographs, or even all photographs in a view, quickly and conveniently. For an example, you can see the most interesting photos stream from a couple of days ago
  • Large images – I believe that size really matters when you truly want to appreciate the beauty of photography – thumbnails just don’t do justice to many photographs, making it so much easier to miss a great photo. So, all photographs in Flickriver streams are always displayed in large size.
  • Black background – I believe that most photographs just look much better on black. I think that the photograph (and not the background) has to be the brightest thing on the page – this really makes great photos “pop out” and look even more beautiful.
  • User most interesting photos – when I stumble upon a new Flickr user, the only view I get on Flickr is “user’s most recent photographs”. But what if the most recent photographs are not very good, while other, older photographs, are really outstanding? How can I discover these great photographs? I believe that “user’s best photographs” is a very important view for discovering and exploring users. Flickriver adds “user’s most interesting photos” view, allowing you to quickly see user’s best work. Check out my most interesting photos for an example.
  • Photos of user’s contacts – this is an additional Flickriver view not available on Flickr. Basically, Flickr can show me what my friends and contacts are posting. But what if I want to see what the friends of my contacts are posting? This additional Flickriver view is a great way to discover new people and photos through other people. For an example, you can see photos from my contacts here.
  • Most interesting Pool photos – similarly to user views – Flickr only shows the most recent photos added to any given group pool. Flickriver allows you to also see the most interesting photos in any pool. Here is an example for the 24 hours of Flickr project pool.
  • Keyboard navigation – when viewing a Flickriver stream, you can press j/k to go to the next/previous photo. Hitting space also allows quickly jumping to the next photo. So, you can quickly go over many photographs with Flicrkriver just by pressing space and going through the pictures one by one. When you’re using keyboard for navigation, Flickriver adjusts the view so only one photo is visible at any given moment.

These are just a few of the things Flickriver enhances. Beyond that, Flickriver has many additional Flickr photo views – user recent photos, favorites, sets, user and everyone’s photos by tag, everyone’s most interesting and recent photos, group and pool photos and much more. Also, Flickriver follows the Flickr URL structure as much as possible, so you can easily go back and forth between the two.

I added several tools and extras to enhance Flickriver – you get a link creator that allows you to quickly create a link to any Flickriver view and post it on your site and there’s a mini-Flickriver widget that you can embed on your Webpage. There is a bookmarklet and a Greasemonkey script – both allow you to quickly jump from any Flickr page to the corresponding Flickriver view. Finally, there are ‘share’ buttons that allow you to post any Flickriver view to StumbleUpon, Delicious, Digg and Facebook.

That’s it for now, I hope you enjoy Flickriver as much as I do :)

13 Responses to “Announcing Flickriver – my latest project”

  1. Owen Says:

    Congratulations Alex — looks great!

  2. clickykbd Says:

    I had a thought regarding improving the “contacts” history to facilitate more than the limiting 50.

    You could cache contacts latest photos for given usernames by periodically running a cron-task to fetch new ones. Set your own expiry or count to keep. This seems like it would cause massive databases, but not if you only do this for a handful of days following a query against that username, if someone hits that same username again you reset the day-count, so frequently used ones stay current and infrequent ones don’t cause massive database load.

    Still loving it,

  3. Dror Says:

    Explored it today – just awesome!


  4. L8o Says:

    I’m sold! :`)

  5. FLEB Says:

    Does anyone have a link to specs or info on that “infinite scroll” technique? That’s pretty slick.

  6. Iosart Says:

    @clickykbd: thanks – I’ll see what I can do :)

    @FLEB: I’m not sure if there’s a spec – I just implemented it the way I saw it – once the scrollbar comes near the bottom – fetch more stuff and add it to the bottom of the document…

  7. Tim Says:

    I would like to use this on our site for nordic ski racers.

    Is there any link or information that would expain how to do this. I have never used this kind of script before so i am quite in the dark as to how to install this on our site.

    Please let me know. I think this is way cool.

    Thank you.

  8. Marc Says:

    It looks great but I’m unsure how I contribute or if you do all the choosing?

  9. Nicolas Mertens Says:

    Beautiful interface! I put a flickriver in my flickr gallery ( and another in my Website ( Thanks, Alex! It’s really, really nice…


  10. Petrus Says:

    I accidentally stumbled across this functionality..WOW!

  11. David Says:

    Hello Alex

    Thanks for this great application, i love it!

    Yours Dave Guy

  12. David Says:

    My most recent will not upload new photos!

  13. Tommy Kane Says:

    What a brilliant idea. I came across my flickriver and was blown away. I love it. You are a genius.