Saturday, 9 June 2012

Allen for Umbraco with location EXIF meta data

The latest version of Allen for Umbraco has now hit the Apple App store, we have managed to add some nice improvements to this version that include:
  • Storing location and direction information when photos are taken within the App
  • Embedding EXIF data into the images when they are upload
  • Background Uploading
  • Pull to refresh the media tree

Location and Direction

By default when the camera is used within an application the location and direction that the camera is pointing is not stored within the image meta data. We have now added full support so that this data is now added. We have added a setting which allows you to prevent this data from being uploaded to your website if you do not want the location data to be sent you can turn it off within Allen,

Note: Please don't forget that location services do need to be turned on to allow the app to access the images in the phone's asset library.

We have had quite a few ideas from users already for using this location data, including logging free parking in Denmark to geo-tagging holiday photos and linking the photos to Google street view.

Embedding EXIF data

We now embed all the meta data available on the iPhone into the image when it is uploaded to your server, this allows you to pull the data out and use it within your site. Have a look at Cultiv's Photo Meta Data package for great example code that allows you to automatically pull this data out and populate properties on your Umbraco media item.

We slightly modified the source code of this package to allow the package to always extract the image data, as the default package requires a property to allow the data to be extracted, it's an easy change, if you get stuck add a comment to this post.

Background Uploading

If you try to upload multiple images and need to start doing something else on your phone, you can now click the home button and the application will continue to upload your images in the background. As soon as it has finished you will receive a standard Apple notification.

Pull to Refresh

Our final enhancement has been to add "Pull to refresh" to the media trees, just pull the tree downwards with your finger and it will refresh, this is useful if you are adding items to your media tree while testing your site with Allen for Umbraco.

Future enhancements.. your ideas?

If you have any ideas for future enhancement feel free to add a comment below!


  1. Pls publish the in app purchase rates for 3,5 and unlimited sites so this can be assessed pre-purchase. If multiple sites are housed in a single instance of Umbraco using subdomains, does that count as a single site?

  2. Hi, fellow Umbraco developer here... Just bought your app since it sounds like a really wonderful idea, something we would hope to recommend to all of our clients to buy and use.

    So I started to test it out and uploaded a few photos from my camera roll. However, ... some of the photos appear upside down! Maybe I held my iPhone upside down when I originally took the photos, since of course it doesn't really care and rotates the display for you anyway, and when I view them in my camera roll they appear right-side up. But this seems like somewhat of an oversight.

    ALSO, the app doesn't upload anything if you deny it Location Services. When setting up my site in Allen, I even told it "no" to GPS tagging, but regardless it seems to require it. (So I fixed this by allowing it Location Services, but perhaps not everyone will do this?)

    I'm holding off on posting a review in the App Store, but with these two items addressed, I'll definitely be giving it five stars. Thank you!

    1. Hi,

      Thanks for your suggestions regarding Allen for Umbraco.

      The Location Services is unfortunately an Apple issue, for some strange reason Apple have tied the permission to access images with the Location Services. This is why we added the option to say "no" for GPS tagging, this means that although if you take a photo within the app it will still geo-tag the photo, when you upload the photo to your website the tag is removed before sending it.

      We will look into the rotation issue, but I think it's fixed in a later version?

      Do let me know by updating this comment or by dropping me an email.

      Cheers, Chris


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