Archive for the ‘general’ Category


What’s Up?

June 9, 2010

It’s been quiet on this blog for a while now. The Seadragon team is still doing awesome stuff, but I’ve moved on to other things, as has Kevin.

I thought I’d update here with a couple of Seadragon-related items:

Happy zooming!

Ian Gilman


Seadragon Philosophy: The User Never Waits

October 18, 2009

As you are probably aware,  Seadragon’s schtick is zooming technology and user interface experiments.  We have also done some work in creating design patterns to help with best practices and interaction.  Here in the office we also talk a lot about how to apply a third idea to our projects: a Seadragon philosophy.   In fact, our technologies (Silverlight Deep Zoom, Seadragon Mobile, Seadragon Ajax, etc) can all be seen as manifestations of our philosophy; our vision brought to reality through design and technology.   In this vein I thought I’d post about this technological coda, instead of code, in a series of posts from time to time.

One of the core tenets of our philosophy is that the user should never have to wait for the technology.  Though a simple idea, take a moment to think about all of the times you’ve wanted to do something on a computer and been unable until it finished whatever task it was working on.  Moving email, loading a document or image, starting a program, a piece of software locking up; all of these things cause you to wait.  In Seadragon, we try to make every experience wait-free.

One way to think about the user never waiting is that the UI thread is never blocked. Even in the middle of a lengthy process, we’re still accepting and responsive to user input. This is expressed in Seadragon by allowing you to zoom and pan constantly, even when we haven’t loaded all of the imagery for the current view. In addition, we try to give you something to work with as soon as possible, so even while we’re waiting for the high-res data, we load a little low-res data to show in the meantime.  You always have something to look at and you always have control.

Kevin Hanes


Where to go for Seadragon news?

September 24, 2009

As recent as a year ago, it was pretty easy to keep track of all the stuff going on in the Seadragon world… a few people were doing interesting things with Deep Zoom, but otherwise it was pretty quiet. Nowadays there’s new stuff (projects, content, tools, code examples, etc.) all the time. I do my best to keep track of it and share it in various ways, but I haven’t found one single best channel; it’s all kind of scattered about. Perhaps I should fix this state of affairs and consolidate somehow, but for starters I think I’ll just share what I’ve got.

  • There is of course this blog.
  • I (and others) tweet from @livelabs.
  • I bookmark zooming-related sites (many but not all having to do with Seadragon) on Delicious.
  • I share interesting posts I find on Google Reader.
  • I’ve also recently started a Twine for Seadragon-related stuff… we’ll see how that goes, but I like the fact that multiple people can contribute to it. The Zooming Group has a similar feature, and in fact my Delicious bookmarks (along with those of others) are replicated there, but it’s much broader than just Seadragon stuff. That’s cool, but it’s also nice to have the specific focus sometimes.

What do you think? How best to keep track of all the interesting stuff that’s going on?

Ian Gilman


New in Zooming: Sony Gets Some.

September 10, 2009

The folks over at Gizmodo have a delightful article on a zooming technology that Sony has demoed for both the PS3 as well as their portable device, the PSP.  From the video you can see a lot of the nice touches that we’ve come to expect of high-quality zooming implementations.  Things like springs for smooth zooming, total responsiveness to the user and remarkably fast resolve time from one zoom level to the next.  It truly is mesmerizing to watch.

The ability and apparent usability of the PSP (at 2:10 into the video) is particularly cool.  The portable device’s navigation buttons appear to be intuitive and every bit as performant as on PS3.  I can’t wait to see what people come up with after Sony ships this to developers “soon”.

Kevin Hanes



August 10, 2009

One thing I generally like about developing internet technology is the idea of “everything, all the time”. Sometimes this can be a muddy concept that gets in the way of effective communication, but when done well, it can save the user precious visual time they might otherwise spend looking in several places for similar sets of information.

Spezify is a Flash-powered service that allows users to search for terms and retrieve results as a visual canvas of assorted media. Photos, videos, articles, and Twitter updates relevant to the search query populate the screen, pannable in all directions. It also retrieves a list of words relevant to your search, so you can easily browse different results (by clicking the word) or additional, more specific results (by clicking the pink “+” next to the word). One-click search refinement sounds pretty great; I like the idea of being able to maximize my laziness and yet still dive deeper and find new content. One down side: you can’t zoom, which is usually our first instinct. 😉 Still, this does give what is surely a milder version of the Clockwork Orange information overload experience, without any of the nasty brainwashing side effects.

Kate Welch


Infinite Canvas is relocating

June 11, 2009

My Infinite Canvas web app has been running on AppJet, which has been delightful, but they’ve just announced that they are discontinuing hosting on July 1st. I’m looking into where to move it to and how to make it as smooth a transition as possible. I’ll update here once it’s been sorted out.

UPDATE: Looks like I’ve successfully moved it to JGate, which has taken up the AppJet torch. Take a look and see what you think; it should be identical. Once I’m happy with the transfer I’ll turn editing features back on again.

UPDATE 2: The move is complete, and the folks at AppJet have been nice enough to redirect the original URL, so both and now work. I’ve turned editing back on and everything looks good! Let me know if you have any problems.

UPDATE 3: The AppJet link no longer works. Please use instead.


Jobs in the Zoomosphere

April 14, 2009

Working on a zooming project and need some expertise?  A Twitter account has been set up to connect those with the jobs and interested parties with related skills.

Not a whole lot of activity going on as of this writing, but as the economy and zooming pick up steam it’ll be good to have all like minded individuals in one area.  Swing on by, leave a message if you’ve got a job opening and if you haven’t yet, check out the zooming group.

-Kevin Hanes