Showboat is an inexpensive scrapbooking app, with some good basic features for throwing together collections of photos quickly. This app will provide a way to showcase your photo collections of app screenshots, real estate summaries, art portfolios, items for sale, etc. It’s an ideal app for when you know you’re Internet access will be absent or patchy.
Although it’s still undergoing development, this is an app to watch. Lets take a look at what it offers out of the box right now.
Collect Your Thoughts.
The iPad photo app does a good job of showing your photos, and has some limited folder support. If, however, you want to create multiple custom views of your photo collections to showcase specific projects or portfolios, then Showboat is worth a look. Adding a collection is simply a matter of tapping the stacked-folder icon, top right, and tapping the + symbol. The same actions are needed to add new albums into collections.
Collections can be given unique names and can contain multiple albums. Each unique name has its first character capitalized, but apart from that, at this stage, there is no support for additional font types or sizes. After creating a new collection, it will have a default greyed landscape photo pair thumbnail until you’ve added some photos. Then, it will inherit the first image from the first album in the set to use as its thumbnail.
Within a collection you can have what seems to be limitless album collections, containing limitless photos. I’m sure there will be some code limit somewhere, but I couldn’t exhaust it in my testing. Surprisingly, you can even call each folder by the same name, should you want to, and Showboat copes with this just fine. The album creation page has a few options, top right, including page layout, begin a preview playback and full-screen mode.
Once into the album creation, you can tap to add photos or select one of the defined templates to aid with photo placement. Be careful with this option, though. Once you’ve added lots of photos into a template, if you then wish to change it to reshuffle your photos, at present the app will just reset the canvas back to a blank drawing board. That’s useful if you want to erase and start again for a page, but a pain if you’d spent time getting things just right. I’ve advised the developers of this “feature,” too.
Adding Online Photos
One of the best features on Showboat is the ability to bring in photos from various online sources. There is support for Flickr, Instagram and Dropbox, and adding photos is as easy as tapping the source selection and then selecting your photos. It can take a moment or two to display your online collections depending on your bandwidth, but once items are added to your Album, you can play to your heart’s content.
Tapping Edit Photo allows total free movement of your photo to get it looking just right. Pinch in and out for size, use two figures to rotate or simply slide the image around to position. The album page order can be altered by sliding the pages left and right in the lower margin too, just tap and hold to move.
Once you are happy with the look and feel of the album, you can bring some extra value to each image by double-tapping the individual photos. With extended EXIF data support, photo note taking just got a whole lot more useful. The camera make and model, image dimensions, file size, and date/time stamp are all present. I don’t have a camera that has specific Geo-tagging information embedded into the photos, so I can’t advise if that is imported. Perhaps we can request integration with a maps application in the future?
If you just want to get rid of the album page, you can tap and hold, then drag up the screen to delete for good. I did this by accident to my peril, and unfortunately there is no “undo” facility. In fact, its one of the greatest omissions from the app, where often image processing software provides multiple layers of undo. This has none as yet, so be warned. I also didn’t really find it that intuitive dragging something off or up the screen to get rid of it, but that might just be me.
To Curl or Not to Curl
So, you have collection of photos arranged to your liking, and you take them on the road. Fire up Showboat and display your wares. The fullscreen preview of your photos is probably the best format to view them in, as it preserves all of your formatting and careful placement. You can simply “thumb through” the pages, and it is a delight. Alternatively, selecting the third from the right icon puts you into what I would call “home photo album” mode, where you can leaf through full screen photos, just like you might do with your printed holiday snaps.
There are some lovely screen effects, especially the page curl in this viewing mode, but, alas, this doesn’t extend to the full-screen preview provided by the Play button — the pages curl the wrong way, from left to right, to move forward. Even if you manually slide the page, it goes the wrong way. Off to the developers with that one too.
This is a really good first take at a scrapbooking app, and has a ton of technical goodness and finesse. It still has a way to go to be outstandingly awesome, but this is one to watch. I’ve been in contact with the developers, and they have assured me an update is due soon to tackle some of the niggles. I am sure with a little more work, this will go a long way to making this very good concept app great.