Created 6 January 2012, last updated 23 May 2012
This is an application that downloads all your tabblos from Tabblo, the photo-sharing story-telling site I helped build, and which is due to be shut down on May 30, 2012.
Tabblo Lifeboat runs on either Windows or Mac. Download the version that’s right for you:
- Windows: Tabblo_Lifeboat.exe. This is not an install kit, it is the program itself. Run it after downloading it.
- Mac: Tabblo_Lifeboat.dmg. Opening this will give you a “Tabblo Lifeboat” disk. Open that, and you will find a “Tabblo Lifeboat” application. Double-click it to run it.
When you run Tabblo Lifeboat, a new window appears in your browser. Enter your Tabblo username and password. Other than that, you have only one choice to make: whether to download full-sized photos or not. If you do, it will take much longer. If you don’t, you’ll only have photos at the size they appear in your tabblo.
Once you’ve entered your account information, click Start. It will connect to Tabblo, log you in, get a list of all your tabblos, and then start downloading them one at a time. This can take a long time. The green-on-black window shows the geeky stuff happening behind the scenes, and should give you a sense of the progress.
If nothing seems to happen, try disabling your anti-virus program, your firewall, anything that might interfere with its operation. Run the program again, you’ll get a new browser window, and it might work better.
If you need to stop the program, just click Quit, and it will stop. You can then close the browser window. Re-launch Tabblo Lifeboat when you want to continue downloading. Once you enter your username and password and click Start again, it will pick up where it left off.
Eventually, all your tabblos will be downloaded, and a message at the top of the browser window will show you the location of your tabblos.
When Tabblo Lifeboat is done, in your Documents folder, you will have a folder called Tabblos. In there will be a folder named for your Tabblo username. You can use Tabblo Lifeboat with a number of different usernames, and each will download into its own folder. In the username folder will be a sub-folder for each tabblo. Each sub-folder has two HTML versions of the tabblo:
- The page named “index.html” is a self-contained page showing the design of the tabblo. The photos have all been downloaded into the folder. If you chose to download full-size photos, then they are shown when you click a photo on this page. This version of the tabblo doesn’t have comments.
- The page named “tabblo.html” is a copy of the HTML page from Tabblo. It will have all the text, including the comments, but the photos still refer to tabblo.com, so they will be broken once the site shuts down.
In addition to each tabblo in its own sub-folder, you will have three HTML files that act as a table of contents:
- all.html shows all of your tabblos, regardless of their status.
- published.html shows all of your published tabblos, regardless of their access setting.
- public.html shows only public published tabblos.
All of these files are in a form that you could put on a web server so the pages are viewable on the web. How to do this is complicated, and I’m afraid I can’t help with it. If you do this, keep in mind: the access controls on Tabblo are not present in these files. If you put a private tabblo on a web server, anyone will be able to see it.
A few minor improvements.
The Lifeboat is now multi-threaded, which means it will download tabblos much faster.
The original HTML from Tabblo is now saved as tabblo.html in each folder.
Some tabblos fail with an “HTTP Error 500.” This is most likely due to a photo with non-English letters or symbols in the filename. Now those tabblos are skipped, and other tabblos continue to download. To fix those tabblos, you will either have to remove the photo from the tabblo, or delete the tabblo entirely. I can’t tell you how much I wish this weren’t so...
Sometimes, the downloaded tabblo zip file seems OK, but is actually missing some images. Tabblo Lifeboat now checks for this when the zip file is downloaded, and will retry if parts are missing. It will also check all your previously downloaded tabblos in case you had downloaded them with an earlier version.
Added a choice about whether to download original photos or not.
You can download from more than one account without getting things tangled up.
Better indications of current status, and better handling of starting and stopping.
Added a browser-based UI.
If you’re having trouble getting your tabblos, let me know. Maybe there’s something I can change to make it work better.
If you know what you’re doing with Python, you can hack on the code for Tabblo Lifeboat yourself.