Caption Search

Background

During grade 11 and some of grade 12, despite being extremely busy with IB, I developed an interest in programming and the internet. CaptionSearch is where I applied everything I learned throughout those two years. It is basically a place to share funny pictures. The idea came to me one day when I was talking to a friend on the internet about the deficiencies of Google image search in finding images relevant to new memes. The Google bot couldn’t update fast enough. So I thought that if I made a website which would allow users to upload their images with descriptions/keywords, then all the new memes would be easy to find. The biggest difference between CaptionSearch and other image sharing websites is the 7 level heirarchy of users. That was obviously overkill for the number of users who actually signed up.

Technical details

I wrote this to work on a standard LAMP stack. The scripts are in PHP and the database is MySQL. I wrote almost every little detail entirely from scratch with only the Internet as my teacher. It’s hard to say how much time I’ve put into it. At least a several hundred hours. I wish I could describe all the details of the code, but I honestly don’t remember anything other than thinking “How on earth is anything on the internet reliable and/or fast!?!” I had to figure out how to process images, how to implement a search, a database, a pagination system, all kinds of crazy things (for a 16 your old) that I accomplished by just staring into space for long enough. I guess that’s what the life of a programmer generally consists of – countless hours of work for something that looks really straightforward when used. I guess that’s why I don’t want to do programming as a career. Too bad for the world because I’m pretty good at it. Edit: Wait, I said this? Sorry, internets. I don’t think like this any more.

Reality

I haven’t worked on the site since I started university and it’s left in a state of almost completeness, but not quite as good as I hoped it would be. It didn’t become exactly what I expected, but then again my expectations were a little unrealistic. When I started the project I didn’t realize that most sites are owned by organizations and it’s extremely time consuming to make an entire content management system from scratch for my own purposes. I doubt I’ll do much more work on this. I occasionally post new images though. It looks like I’m getting up to 200 visits (600 hits) per day and images have been stolen from my site and hot linked, so I’m happy. I’ve made a total of $5 in 5 months from Google AdSense. That’s about 10% of the cost of keeping the site online and they don’t let me take the money until I reach $100 anyways. Overall, it was a pretty awesome learning experience, but had no other use.

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