Lychee – Web-Photomangement

Lychee is not only a delicious fruit, it is a new photo-webapp for your own webspace, too.

This field report tells you for what and whom this app is suitable. It describes the pros and cons of the version 2.7.

Lychee is

Lychee is a web application in the first place. You need a webspace with php and MySQL or an appropriate local web server.

But Lychee is also a simple and very easy to use web-based photo-management software and comes with a beautiful user interface. You can recognize that a graphic designer was involved. Actions are accompanied by discreet animations.

    Lychee Homescreen - Administrator view (Albums Photo and Wallpaper are public, Photo is also password-protected)

Lychee Homescreen – Administrator view (Albums Photo and Wallpaper are public, Photo is also password-protected)

Lychee looks like a mobile photo-management app on a tablet or smart phone. You can use it on mobile machines with your fingers as easy as on desktop or notebook computers with a mouse.

If you take a look at the sharing capabilities you will be recalled to the photo folder of Dropbox.

Therefore Lychee is best to show and share photos and images to your friends or customers. They can not even watch and share them on social networks they can also download the images if allowed.

Lychee-Homescreen - visitor view (Album "Photo" is password-protected)

Lychee-Homescreen – visitor view (Album “Photo” is password-protected)

Lychee is not

Lychee is not a sophisticated photo-management software which can handle images in RAW-, PSD-  or TIFF-format. In my opinion it cannot replace even simple photo tools as Picasa, Windows Photo Gallery or web-based Kokken.

It is not very -well suited for presentation purposes because you can neither alter the look of Lychee nor change the order of images manually.


To run Lychee you need a web-server with PHP 5.3 or higher and a MySQL database at a hoster or locally on your machine.

For usage a normal web browser is enough. Your images have to be stored in JPEG-, PNG- or GIF-format.


Simple installation and setup

You do not have to edit text-based configuration files to setup the database connection. Self-explanatory forms asked for the necessary data. The setup is done in a couple minutes.

Modern easy-to-use and beautiful user-interface

Lychee has a plain but professional designed user-interface similar to photo management tools on tablets and smart phones.

Lychee's graphical user-interface

Lychee’s graphical user-interface

The interface supports context menus for renaming, deleting, etc. in the general views. On mobile platforms you have to do this tasks in the single image view.

User-interface with contextmenu-support

User-interface with contextmenu-support

Data in your hands

You store your images on your webspace or server and you have not rely on perhaps foreign services as Dropbox with different privacy laws.


The interface is responsive and fits to all screen sizes. You can use Lychee on a tablet or phone with taps and swipes.

Sharing in social networks

You can share single images or whole albums at facebook, twitter or via e-Mail.

Share photos

Share photos


There two kinds of users. The administrators and the visitors.

The admins can log-in with a password and can import, move, delete, mark, tag or organize images. Visitors can just watch, share or download (if allowed) images and photos.


You can organize images in albums. Unfortunately it is not possible to stack albums

It is easy to make albums visible for visitors or mark as private just for your eyes. You can give visitor the permission for downloading and you can protect albums with a password. Only visitors who know the password can see the images of the appropriate album.

Albums can be marked as visible for visitors, downloadable or password-protected

Albums can be marked as visible for visitors, downloadable or password-protected

A general password protection for all albums is not implemented.

Smart Albums

Just for admins there are 4 smart albums available which fill-up with images automatically: UNSORTED: not organized in albums, STARRED: marked with a star, PUBLIC: public single images but not images of a public album, RECENT: last  imported images.

Smart Alben in der Administratoransicht

Smart Albums for admins

Search function

Lychee has a text-based search-function implemented. Admins and visitors can search in titles, descriptions and tags.


Only admins can mark images with a star but they cannot rate them with more than one star. This function is available in the overviews via context menu or in the single image view via button on the top of the screen.

Mark images via context menu

Mark images via context menu


Both Metaformats can be displayed by admins and visitors. Admins can edit title, description and tags.

Supported meta information:

EXIF: Capture date, brand, type/model, shutter speed, aperture, focal length, ISO

IPTC: title, upload date, description, file size, format, resolution, tags


You have various possibilities to import images: You can upload photos from your local disc or import single images via arbitrary URL.

Import menu

Import menu

More interesting, you are able to import images from your Dropbox.

But the most astonishing feature is to move images from any directory on your webspace to Lychee. That makes migration from another gallery easy. But you need to organizes the images in albums manually after.


Visitors and admins can download single images or whole albums (zip-archived).

Single image download

Single image download

Furthermore single photos or images can be uploaded to your Dropbox. This can be done by visitors and admins.

Export to Dropbox

Export to Dropbox

Open-Source and free

Lychee is open-source and is provided under the free MIT-license. Free means here freedom and free of charge.


Not multilingual

Lychee 2.7 is available in English language only.

No manual order

It is not possible to change the order of the images manually.  But an automatic order by upload- oder capture date, title, description, public image, starred image or image format can be performed.

No batch jobs

Unfortunately you cannot move, delete, tag more than one image at a time. You have to do it image by image. A big disadvantage.

Visitors cannot mark photos with a star to download starred images together. They have to download image by image or the whole album.

Description and meta information cannot displayed permanently

To display meta information you have to tap or click the info button in the single image view. After a image changed the info disappears.

Embedded tags will not imported

Tags embedded in the image file will not imported, title and description will.

Only web-upload

It is not possible to upload images via FTP.

As a workaround you can upload the images in an arbitrary folder on your webspace and use the “Import from Server” function to move the images to Lychee.

No skins

You cannot change the view of Lychee to personalize it. Of course you can edit the CSS files of Lychee.

No GPS support

Photos with GPS information cannot displayed on a map

Most missing features

  • No manual order of images
  • No batch jobs to organize or delete images
  • Visitors cannot mark images for a later common download.
  • Embedded IPTC-Tags will not be imported


Lychee is a very stable-running, very well-designed web applications for a simple image management. JPEG, PNG and GIF files are supported. You need a local or hosted webserver with PHP and MySQL.

Lychee runs in a normal web browsers and is therefore platform-independend. It runs very well on mobile devices as tablets and smart phones as well as on desktop and notebook computers.

It has nice unique features as Dropbox im- and export and web server import.

Lychee is open-source and stands under the free MIT-license.

You can compare Lychee with photo organizing tools on tablets and smart phones. Furthermore it has similar features as Dropbox’s picture folder.

In my opinion Lychee is well-suited  for providing images and photos on the web for viewing and downloading to friends. For presentation purposes I miss the manual order feature.

Electerious provides a live demo of Lychee on their Homepage.


Picture Credits

"Lychee Brewster01 Asit" by Asit K. Ghosh Thaumaturgist - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

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