Our requirements are fairly straight forward. We need an image viewer than can magnify images move around them then save the zoom level and coordinates in some way preferably in the URL for easy bookmarking.
The best way to do this I would assume is to have server side program take a large image and slice it up into managable files and save a low res and hi-res version of each slice numbered sequentially. Then the front end would either be made in Flash or DHTML to load and display the images to the client (the browser).
A commercial product called Zoomify has come to our attention. Zoomify is a Flash MX 2004 product that reads image slices. It has a wide userbase so far including other cultural institutions, commercial fashion designers, mapping and for satelite imagery services.
I found a few examples of people using the product that were notable.
A.P.C.: Minimal controls and dragging the image.
Philadelphia Museum of Art: Used in special exhibitions such as Manet and the Sea where it also provides a soundtrack commentary for the image.
The software comes in a few flavors.
This is the free version. It includes the viewer SWF an HTML template and a desktop application for slicing a large image. You drag an image onto the application and it generates a folder with images slices (three levels deep) and an XML file to describe the set.
It is easy to use and fast to upload images. I posted this image that i took outside groveland a couple days ago. This version is not automatable on a server, does not respond to custom URLs and is only customizable to a limited extent. It does not seem like a viable option for Arts ConnectEd.
Zoomify for Flash
This is their pay version. It costs $129. Essentially it is a more customizable version of Zoomify EZ that allows you access with custom ActionScript and custom components for your interface. It does not include the server side program to slice images and still relies on a person dragging large images onto a desktop application.
on the Zoomify website they promise this version has:
“Hotspot component complete with text caption, media graphic, and URL links”
The URL links are the things we want but I can’t find an example that actually uses them and that functionality is not included in the demo. I suspect this would require some custom Action Script although I can’t verify that yet.
Serverside program that slices images and generates folders. This includes everything you get in the $129 version but bundles it with a server side program and costs $795 I haven’t been able to find any information about what language the Enterprise package is written in so I don’t have any info on server requirements yet.
Some sort of coordinate system is used in a demo and presumably there should be a way to export coordinate data although that would require custom Action Script. The coordinates are not represented in the URL so there would not be any way to bookmark a zoom level through the standard browser interface currently.
Although the page promises the product to be customizable I am unclear exactly how well it responds to custom ActionScript. It should be easy change look and feel of interface elements but adding functionality may be difficult.
Got word back about the enterprise solution. The converter is only a Mac/’Windows thing scripted through another language such as ASP or JSP but not on Linux. There is a project on sourceforge called Zoomify Image that runs in a Zope envronment [?]. It doesn’t seem like that will do the image slicing for us online though. I did find something very similar implemented without the proprietary Zoomify flash movie and using PHP for the backend which i think is more to our liking at sephiroth.it