Huge images on the web just haven’t been fun in the past. Microsoft Live Labs has released tools to make it easier for huge images on the Web. Between the downloading, the snapping from scaled to full-size, and navigating around, it’s just not the experience that high def images should have.
Microsoft Live Labs has launched Seadragon.com, a site that allows you to share virtually any size image on the web. You can now point the web service to your massive image (hosted on your site or any number of services) and it will be create a Deep Zoom image that you can then share through email, Twitter, Facebook, or embed on a site. Seadragon.com runs on the CTP version of Windows Azure that’s available to all of you today.
Keep in mind you can use the Deep Zoom Composer to make your own Deep Zoom images locally if that’s how you roll. Or you can use DeepZoomPix.com (until December 31st 2009) if you want a place to host your Deep Zoom images. You can also upload your big pictures to PhotoSynth, which will turn them into Deep Zoom images (and try to connect them, so not the preferred way to manage disparate images). But for large images that are already online, Seadragon.com is the perfect tool for creating a window to the larger image.
Here’s where to see the Seadragon in the screenshot.
The embedded viewer adjusts dynamically to the layout of the page. However, it can also be customized to a specific size by simply changing the size numbers in the code. In short, no matter how big the image is, it can easily fit on your site. The beautiful part is that your readers don’t need to have Silverlight installed. Seadragon.com will use Silverlight (smoother experience and better performance) if it’s available, and otherwise will use an AJAX control if it isn’t.
Bruce D. Kyle
ISV Architect Evangelist | Microsoft Corporation
Special thanks to Larry Larsen.