Image database for a kitchen appliance manufacturer

With the update to TYPO3 6.2, DAM–the basis for a number of extensions, such as video management, IPTC data extraction and more–is no longer compatible.  The new approach is  File Abstraction Layer (FAL), a promising element in the TYPO3 core for managing media data.  FAL goes far beyond DAM functions and brings with it a number of features that previously caused developers headaches. However, a “crisp” front end was still missing.

Customer requirements

  • File import via FTP
  • Reading of metadata from IPTC and Exif
  • Automatic assignment to categories based on IPTC data
  • Output and media filtering at the front end
  • Varied views and options depending on user rights
  • Support for multiple languages
  • Responsive Darstellung
  • Watermark for unregistered users
  • Shopping cart / light table for multiple downloads

Technical implementation

In order to illustrate the interaction of the individual technologies and extensions, we have prepared a diagram.

Import of media files into FAL (indexing)

In order to make keywording as easy as possible for the client and to avoid manual maintenance of the keywords via the TYPO3-BE, we have developed an automatic system that extracts metadata directly during the FAL indexing process. The system currently supports the IPTC standard and Exif. An extension to other standards is easily possible. By supporting established standards, users can quickly and easily maintain metadata as usual in external programs such as Adobe Bridge or Photostation. Thus, keywords are preserved and can also be used in other databases.

We have added on the “board tools” available since TYPO3 6.2 for indexing files (FAL indexer) and extracting metadata (metadata extractor). Both operations can be executed as a task via the TYPO3 Scheduler, making it easy to upload files via FTP and process TYPO3. For metadata extraction, we have built on EXT:metadata, which provides the technical basis for reading various formats. For certain scenarios, such as the assignment of images to TYPO3 internal categories or stable UTF-8 support, we had to extend them.

Maintenance in the back end

Fabien Udriot’s EXT:media was used to edit media conveniently in TYPO3-BE. It offers a very extensive back end module for filtering, searching and maintenance and is much more user-friendly than the file module provided by TYPO3.

Output at the front end

The bar for image databases is high. Well known platforms like istock offer a wide range of features, and customer requests are correspondingly high. However, since many clients want their image database integrated into their CMS, we aimed to make this possible with TYPO3. For the output at the front end, the filter, search and result list had to be separate from each other. We use AngularJS to ensure problem-free communication between the plugins. This allows clean architecture at the front end and also does the image reloading via AJAX and the display in different grids.

On the server side, we have used functions of the media extension described above to search or filter data records. A clean software architecture makes it easy to migrate to other search frameworks such as Extbase or Solr.

A preview of the images was realized via the Javascript library MagnificPopup. It is also possible to download the images in several resolutions, but only for approved user groups. The EXT:fal_securedownload secures access to the actual images transparently. All images are searchable sithout registration, but the thumbnails are automatically watermarked by the system.


In the future, it will be possible to outsource large image inventories to the cloud and still access them transparently via the front end. FAL already offers drivers for this. Furthermore, we plan to search large image collections via the high-performance open source enterprise search platform Solr.

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