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Forums » Web Site and Forum » New Seadragon-based JavaScript/AJAX Viewer

New Seadragon-based JavaScript/AJAX Viewer
Ron Schott Ron Schott
Total Posts: 90

Based on my first ten minutes of using it, the new viewer is full of win! So far, every change appears to be an improvement – granted, a few will take a bit of getting used to – but I think the programming team in Portland and Pittsburgh deserves a real big round of congratulations on this one. I’m eager to figure out just how “hackable” the new interface will be (via a brand new API, perhaps?), but even if it’s just what we see in the browser I think I can say it’s a solid improvement.

Keep up the good work!

Ron Schott

[A few hours later and I still haven’t found anything significant to complain about, so you must have done something right – or I’m going soft.]

The Gigapanographer Currently Known as "Kilgore661" The Gigapanogra...
Total Posts: 107

I also like the new viewer despite the new bugs (you’re losing your touch Ron :-)

I like the new minimal control icons, the large speech bubbles on snapshots, the new window for viewing and adding comments. I particularly like the way that if you are half-way through writing a long comment and then move your mouse off the snapshot’s window, the window is not closed and your typing is not deleted. It also seems faster.

I don’t like the way the snapshot bar is put on top of the image or the tiny two-line edit box you get when you want to add a comment. I really don’t like the way that when you click on the go right/go left arrow heads to see more snapshots, the display does not scroll by a whole screenful of snapshots (Case 16804). This makes it difficult to find a snapshot you know exists especially when there are a lot of snapshot because your eye/brain does not expect to be shown any of the same snapshots once you have clicked the icon.


16801: Links in snapshop comments are not clickable.
16802: There seems to be no way of finding out what a snapshot’s URL is – core functionality imo.
16803: If you click on the Explore More button and close the window that pops up, you find the snapshot bar has disappeared.
16805: I added a comment to a snapshot and my new text did not appear under the snapshot. I’m assuming this is another example of the issue GS seem to have with lag.

But overall, I agree with your sentiments Ron. Keep it up GS.

David Engle David Engle
Total Posts: 10

Having dead links in the snapshot comments, or anywhere else is like eating cake that has no icing on it. Please fix this error!

David Engle David Engle
Total Posts: 10

Kilgore661, here is a work-a-round for the snapshot comments: http://gigapan.com/snapshots/40892/comments

Obviously, the above link was easy to find via Google; however, 99.99% of the snapshots don’t have a unique title that is remembered by the OP. the key is to know the snapshot number, which I have no clue as to what that may be :(

I believe the Explore More button to be useless. Whatever it shows has absolutely no relationship to what you have been looking at.

When they fix the dead-link issue, and the snapshot URL issue, then I will look into your other comments and see if we can find a work-a-round for them as well.

BeckyLeung BeckyLeung
Total Posts: 17

Thank you everyone for your feedback and responses! We want to make sure we address your questions and feedback.

Kilgore, in response to the comment about the snapshot bar taking up space on top of an image: if you click the snapshot icon in the tool bar, the row of snapshots overlaying the image toggles on and off. You can get it out of the way if desired.

Comment about the tiny two-line edit box you get when you want to add a comment:
The comment display is laid out in limited space, most comments on the site currently are very short, and increasing the block of text would cover up more of the image so we opted to use a small space to reflect those use patterns. However, the feedback is great. We are tracking these sorts of comments and continuing to watch use patterns to see if it needs increasing again.

Comment about the way you click on the go right/go left arrow heads to see more snapshots:
Scrolling through a browser window’s width requires that the snapshot scroll calculates the specific width of the browser window that it is currently on. That is completely unique for each person viewing the site. We’ll explore this but it might not be an easy, efficient, fast solution.

Responses to Bugs/Issues Kilgore has brought up:

16801: Links in snapshop comments are not clickable. – We will address this.

16802: There seems to be no way of finding out what a snapshot’s URL is – core functionality imo. – We will address, most likely with improved Share functionality.

16803: If you click on the Explore More button and close the window that pops up, you find the snapshot bar has disappeared. – The snapshot icon controls the toggle on/off of the snapshot bar. The toggle on of Explore More simply moves the snapshot bar out of the way.

16805: I added a comment to a snapshot and my new text did not appear under the snapshot. I’m assuming this is another example of the issue GS seem to have with lag.

After adding, comments appear in the comment space. On page refresh, a comment bubble appears over the image. We no longer display comments or number of comments under the snapshot.

David, to respond to your feedback about the Explore More Button – we’re using the same Explore More conditional search that we always have since it was first created. We first search for other public gigapans with the same category(s), then tags, then taken by the same photographer, and then, if nothing has been found yet, select randomly. The results of this query are organized randomly.

Please let us know if you have any questions.

Thank you,

Becky Leung

Glen David Short Glen David Shor...
Total Posts: 47

I like the way you can now adjust the size of the snapshot – a definite improvement.

grandmasterbuilder grandmasterbuil...
Total Posts: 2

I miss the old tool that let you move unlimited all over the image in all directions and speeds like flying in a helicopter.Can that be brought back to the viewer Now you have less or no control on zooming in a out on a image to the exact or accurate distance you want see in a image.

The Gigapanographer Currently Known as "Kilgore661" The Gigapanogra...
Total Posts: 107

Didn’t notice the way you can change snapshot size – neat! It reminds me of something from an ancient wish-list which was something that allows you to see where existing snapshots have been taken. This would be useful when you want to know if you are about to duplicate what someone else has seen and if that’s the case then you can add a comment to their snapshot instead of taking your own.

I am in two minds about the missing tool that grandmasterbuilder refers to. Personally I prefer the simplified look without the tool and I never used the tool in the way he describes, but I can see that other people would want to do this. What I think is more important is that to make gigapans as accessible as possible, they need to be as user-friendly as possible. I think the removal of the tool makes gigapans less user-friendly because not everybody would think to try moving around the image by clicking and dragging. My vote is that the tool should be reinstated.

I also noticed that the initial view of the gigapan is such that the image fills the display area vertically rather than horizontally as it used to do. I like the fact that this makes the initial view (of long thin images which most are) more spectacular because the display area is not filled with lots of black pixels. On the other hand, people unfamiliar with gigapans are unlikely to realise that what they are looking at is not the whole gigapan. Again, I think the most important aspect of the UI is that it should be as inclusive as possible, so I’d like to see the initial view be based on the width of the image rather than the height.

There is another problem with the way the new viewer initially displays a gigapan, this time from an artistic point of view. The aspect ratio of an image is fundamental to one’s initial assessment of the aesthetic quality of the image. With the way the new viewer works (and given that most images are longer than they are wide) the initial display of the image is just wrong because you don’t see the whole image – the aspect ratio of what you see is not the aspect ratio of the image. It doesn’t help that the snapshot bar is splattered across the bottom of the image either.

chris  hills chris hills
Total Posts: 1

I have no ability to click on a snap shot I have just sdnapped, on a panorama I made, I click and it no longer shows where that snapshot is in relation to the big picture and it wont zoom into it, bug ??

The Gigapanographer Currently Known as "Kilgore661" The Gigapanogra...
Total Posts: 107

I just tried making a snapshot and it seemed to work for me. Which gigapan did you try to make your snapshot in (and which snapshot is it if there is more than one)?

I know that the gigapan servers sometimes have problems with lag – you add/change something but your addition/changes don’t seem to have taken effect so you think “bug”. But if you come back hours later, you see the change you made has worked.

John   Gleason John Gleason
Total Posts: 3

Being relatively new to GIGAPAN, I found the old tools to be smoother and more fluid. Now zooms from the mouse scroll wheel cause a slight image shift left and right during the zoom. And indeed, as previously mentioned, the pan out and into the selected snapshot like a “helicopter” was a key feature that is now missed. I would like to know where that snapshot is in the image first. Then finally, with the old tool when you selected full screen, you got full screen. Now I see a GIGAPAN logo and controls in the full screen view as if I need to be reminded of them, and must press f11 for the full screen experience. So while there have been a few improvements, you should always keep good features from the previous versions.

Jerry Schoen Jerry Schoen
Total Posts: 3

When I use Gigapan with Safari, trying to view in full screen (by clicking the 2 arrows on the right) returns either a blacked out screen, or sometimes a white or grey screen. I did get it to work for one or two gigapans, but there seems to logic to when it doesn’t work (90% of the time) and when it doesn’t.

Appears to work OK in Firefox.

Steven Graham Steven Graham
Total Posts: 1

I am having the same problem with inactive snapshots both existing and a new one I created today e.g. http://gigapan.com/gigapans/120733

It’s the same in Firefox, IE and Chrome.

The Gigapanographer Currently Known as "Kilgore661" The Gigapanogra...
Total Posts: 107

I made a snaphot on Steven’s gigapan and have the same problem he and Chris reported – clicking on the snaphot (or any of the snapshots) does nothing. I then went to another pano and tried the same thing, and it worked. Here’s the pano for which it worked for me – maybe you want to try making a snapshot there: http://gigapan.com/gigapans/70131

I am using Firefox 22 by the way.

Jenny Walsh Jenny Walsh
Total Posts: 19

Hello from Gigapan! This is a great discussion. I’d like to contribute some information we have and have been using to guide viewer development.

First, the inactive snapshots are a result of a javascript bug that we are working to fix. We know the root cause and it is on our list. In a nutshell, snapshot inactivity occurs on viewers displaying images with fewer than 8 related Explore More thumbnails. It will be fixed soon!

A few of you have commented on missing the joystick on the pan control. The joystick feature is only available in Flash. One of our strategies for meeting the goal to increase the accessibility of the viewer to all site visitors on all devices was to remove Flash and create a fully HTML5 viewer. In exchange for all the benefits of HTML5, we had to let the joystick control go.

To help us with our functionality evolution decisions, we analyze site visitor behavior. In a recent experiment looking at how visitors use a viewer’s navigation controls, we found that out of almost 32 million navigation event actions taken by visitors on 2.4 million page views, use of the pan control tools made up 0.11% of total events. Navigation event actions include panning, zooming, tapping, and resetting. The zoom slider was initiated on only 0.01% of the total actions. Panning and zooming actions initiated by mouse or touch actions, however, made up 95% of the event actions that visitors used.

Our goal is to create a viewer experience that is absolutely centered on the image by being highly intuitive and inviting. Honing in on how visitors explore Gigapans is critical to this goal. The invitation to explore and engage with the image is also important. That is one of the reasons we have opted to fill the viewer with the image as the page loads using a visible zoom experience. While we understand that this does change the aspect ratio that a photographer defined, we are hoping that by demonstrating zoom and movement, the visitor will follow suit and spend more time fully examining all aspects of the gigapan.

The new viewer is less than a week old. Going forward we will be watching the use patterns and information coming in from the millions of eyes exploring our site every month. Your feedback, ideas, and concerns are much appreciated!

David Engle David Engle
Total Posts: 10

Jenny, I am still in a state of shock concerning the functionality removal of active links within snapshots. I have spent hours and hours adding these links in order to add information to a GigaPan, and or link GigaPan views with each other. The original functionality was unique to the photo websites.

What Gigapan systems has now done has taken a huge leap backwards while at the same time telling us about all the great things to come. Please tell whoever has decision powers of my displeasure and please have them reconsider this terrible modification and have it corrected.

Note: granted, not all users knew about this feature, and when you all correct it, and then tell users about it, I assure you that many will exclaim, WOW!


Jenny Walsh Jenny Walsh
Total Posts: 19

David, Removing active link functionality was not an intentional decision and I apologize that it has affected you so strongly. It was an outcome of moving snapshot functionality into the viewer and our API and out of the page HTML where it had been handled by the previous viewer presentation. We are working on a parsing solution right now that will recognize links within descriptions and comments and hope to have that added to the site as soon as it is solid.

We hear your comments and concerns. Thanks for your energy!

Jerry Schoen Jerry Schoen
Total Posts: 3

I echo David’s comments about removing snapshot active links. This was one feature that helps move Gigapan beyond just some cool panoramic images (lots of those out there) and make it useful as an educational, research, testing, conversation, storytelling, etc. tool. When you combine features like that, you can really get some innovative, IT-mediated 21st century ways to process and share information. Why throw those out? Your really are stepping back to a more primitive time and communication mode when you eliminate features like this.
Let’s hope the new feature you suggest will get us back to the future.

John   Gleason John Gleason
Total Posts: 3


There is nothing wrong with rolling back to the original software version while you sort out the bugs. ;-)

The Gigapanographer Currently Known as "Kilgore661" The Gigapanogra...
Total Posts: 107

I’m sure the deactivation of links wasn’t intentional but it seems to me that having links is absolutely fundamental to the thinking behind gigapans and the company’s new vision statement. What puzzles me then is why the system was allowed to go live with links not working. Didn’t anyone notice? If not, why not? If they did, why was the system allowed to go live? Basic bugs like this give me very little confidence in Gigapan System’s software engineering process. It’s not like this is the first time something like this has happened after all. Things like this make it difficult to share the site with other people when I find myself saying “this is the site where you can do all sorts of cool things like … oh, er, this seems to broken.”

Phillip Simpson Phillip Simpson
Total Posts: 5

I concur with John’s comment that “the pan out and into the selected snapshot like a “helicopter” was a key feature that is now missed.” As presently designed there’s no easy way to tell the location of a snapshot as one navigates among them because it doesn’t zoom out before panning to the next snapshot.

The Gigapanographer Currently Known as "Kilgore661" The Gigapanogra...
Total Posts: 107

I now definitely agree with others that the “helicopter” control is a significant omission. Where I noticed its lack was after zooming in to a fairly small detail, I wanted to scroll down through the gigapan and the same level of zoom. There is no way to do this now – you have to keep clicking and dragging the image to move down, and this is a complete non-starter if you want to scroll down a long way.

Ron Schott Ron Schott
Total Posts: 90

A brief historical aside – the “helicopter” zoom, if I’m understanding it correctly, originally comes from the way one zooms from placemark to placemark in Google Earth (another piece of software that makes use of image pyramids). In Google Earth, it was found that the most efficient way to zoom from one spot to another (mathematically) was to follow a ballistic trajectory. I’m not certain this maps exactly to the way it used to be done in the old flash-based GigaPan viewer, but I suspect it was very similar if not identical mathematics. I can’t speak to whether that would be a more mathematically efficient way to zoom in the new Seadragon/AJAX viewer, but I do agree that it would be more visually pleasing to return to the old ballistic trajectory from an asthetics standpoint.

Ronnie Miranda Ronnie Miranda
Total Posts: 24

Hi everyone, there are alternative viewers such as one developed by Joseph Saracino. It has all the old features that we all like such as the “helicopter” zoom and has a much cleaner look and feel.

The viewer is easy to use. You can download the code and host it on your site. Or you can simply use the link:

h t t p:// saracino.com/gigapans/gigapan.large.php?id=XXXX

where XXXX is the GigaPan ID of the image.

Ronnie Miranda Ronnie Miranda
Total Posts: 24

I don’t understand why GigaPan doesn’t want users to use their code and make modifications, customizations or even improvements. They say it is a “copyright violation to be hosting a script on and serving it from your servers and under your domain.”

Some of GigaPan’s own codes make use of, have been copied, or are based on other people’s work. For example, much of the underlying code of the “new” Seadragon/Ajax viewer was originally developed in 2009 (called GigaDragon) by Jason Buchheim (http://www.gigapan.com/profiles/odyssey) and can be found here http://www.odyex.com/gigadragon/

Related: http://dragonosticism.wordpress.com/2009/02/18/…

GigaPan also makes use of open-source codes such as bxslider for their snapshot browser. And Seadragon, now called OpenSeadragon http://openseadragon.github.io is very much open source.

Does GigaPan now have copyright over other people’s codes or even open source material that they use? If I use Jason’s codes or Seadragon, does it mean I’m violating GigaPan’s copyright?

Read http://opensource.org/faq#commercial

I miss the first few years of GigaPan where everyone – users, management and CMU – were all openly sharing info and collaborating.

Forums» Web Site and Forum » New Seadragon-based JavaScript/AJAX Viewer