It’s been a month and half since Bulkr was released and I’m delighted to say that it has been already used to download more than 1 million photos (1,004,530 as of this writing) from Flickr! Thank you everyone for using the app and for your feedback/comments. I wanna share a small story on how Bulkr came into existence and how an app I created for myself has been used by thousands to download more than a million Flickr photos in a short time.
How it all started…
Bulkr started with a problem – somewhere in mid November last year I wanted to copy all my Flickr photos to Facebook. After struggling with few apps it occurred to me that there really wasn’t a decent tool to backup Flickr photos on Mac. So, in a few days I created a small prototype app which could download everything from my Flickr account to the computer. It was called PhotoGettr then. Here are some screenshots tweeted during it’s development:
- Initial idea on paper
- The first working version (it didn’t even have a download button!)
- During development
PhotoGettr was not really on my project list for ClipYourPhotos. I created it just because I needed it then. The first version was named Bulkr and it was up on ClipYourPhotos on 6th Dec, 2009. Only after it was featured on MakeUseOf.com few days later, I realized how useful this was to others too. Bulkr was mentioned in dozens of other blogs and the snowball effect started.
Bulkr had a great month. Many people sent in comments and suggestions. Being on Flickr App Garden also helped. But soon it became clear that some Flickr members found Bulkr upsetting. The idea that anyone could have access to their photos so easily was appalling to them. Few emailed and said that they would complain about this to Flickr. I replied assuring major changes would come in the next version of Bulkr and thanked them for their feedback.
And then the party stopped…
On 5th Jan, (while eating breakfast) I got a mail from Flickr with the subject “Flickr Appgarden Violation”. And that kind of subject is never a good sign :). Apparently, Flickr had been getting complaints about Bulkr. They reviewed the app and found out that any Flickr user’s large size photo could be downloaded using the “Browse User” button. During development I thought that this would be a cool feature and ignorantly included it, forgetting Flickr’s privacy settings. It was relatively a small bug. But it proved to be fatal.
My bad. The app’s API key was disabled by Flickr immediately. Which is a fancy way of saying Bulkr was no more functional!
I stopped eating breakfast and got to work right away. And in 2 days a new version of Bulkr was ready. It had all the changes that Flickr users wanted. I discussed the changes with the nice folks at Flickr and everything was well. The API key was enabled and Bulkr was back from the dead.
The downloads resumed…
Since Flickr re-enabled the API key, the downloads have resumed and every day Bulkr is used to download literally thousands (sometimes tens of thousands) of photos everyday. It has been an awesome learning experience for me. My sincere thanks to everyone who used the app and sent me feedbacks/comments – which really helped to make the app better. Also kudos to the Flickr dev team for creating a fine API framework and to Chris from Flickr, who helped me steer Bulkr in the right direction.
And thank you for reading. I did not intend this post to be so long, but since you have reached here, I guess, you don’t mind 😉
More features will be added to Bulkr. Perhaps it should also have an uploader? Or something else…? Your suggestions are always welcome. You can keep up with developement and other bits happening at ClipYourPhotos on Twitter.
If you like Bulkr, please add it as a fav in the Flickr App Garden. It’s good karma 🙂