Sunday, November 23, 2008

Seadragon Ajax

We've just released Seadragon Ajax, a pure JavaScript version of our high-resolution smooth zooming technology.

I'm especially excited about this one, as it's really been my baby from the start. It also combines a number of my passions: Seadragon, JavaScript, Web APIs, open standards, cross-platform, etc. I'm a big believer in JavaScript's potential, much of which I believe has yet to be tapped.

We have a thing at Live Labs we call "Out of the Box Week", where every so often the whole department forgets about schedules and meetings and we all get to do whatever we want, creating whatever we think might be good for the group. A while ago, on one of these occasions, I decided to see what, if any, of our zooming technology I could re-create in JavaScript. The results after a week of hacking, while not nearly as smooth as our native C++ implementation, were nonetheless stunning to those who saw JavaScript as nothing more than a toy.

Once the week was over I went back to my normal duties. The prototype that would become Seadragon Ajax sat on the shelf until four months ago when we hired Aseem Kishore, an exceptionally bright fellow straight out of college, to turn the code into a real product. In four months he wrapped his head around my prototype and completely transformed it into something robust, efficient and clean. The project also benefited greatly from Ken Perkins's indomitable spirit, Boyd Ferris's attention to detail, Chuck Cummins's eye for elegance, and of course the support of the entire team.

Now that it's out in the world, I'm excited to see what people come up with to do with it! I'll be posting new developments along with various other Seadragon-related tidbits on the blog Dragonosticism.


Thanks for the kind words, Ian. The real hat's off to you, though. Congrats! =)
This is pretty amazing. Very nice work. I agree, javascript is very powerful, and stuff like this is exactly what will push the web forward in a good way!
Do you think you could use similar technology to do a client side image resizing upload control? ie: pick 20 images, have them resized client side (according to specified parameters), and then uploaded??? Many people are wanting this ability!!!
Nice work Ian! This blog was just posted covering using Python and PIL with Seadragon:
Thanks for all the kind words! If you do something cool with it, please drop me a line!

@anonymous: I believe browser security restrictions would stop us from being able to do that, but I'll give it some thought.
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