Photo Viewer Update: v4.0a

35mm Photo Viewer v4.0a (pop-up)

The 35mm Photo Viewer (still in progress at time of writing) has been updated, now at version 4.0a (the "a" being, "Alpha" e.g. "somewhat sketchy.") The major changes include design and usability. Some fixes for ie:mac and Safari bugs (still being debugged in some parts) are also in the works.

Improved Usability

The photo viewer page does get some decent search engine rankings for various terms, so it draws a number of search engine referrals. However, there is no immediate way to tell where the photos are actually contained on the page (a collection of almost 200 on this site, so far,) since all that's displayed is a "default" photo and a collection of icons with no immediate "here's the photo you're looking for" type of message. With V3, no search functionality or highlighting was provided. That of course now has been improved.

In the case of a search engine referral, a Javascript search engine object parses the keywords and runs a comparison via regular expressions against the photo descriptions, displaying results sorted by the number of keyword matches. Query strings can also be passed in the URL as a parameter, e.g. &q=Jack+Dempsey+Photos, and parsed that way.

The Drop Shadow Effect

PNG images can be used for alpha transparency effects such as drop shadows (as shown in this related project; they provide a nice overlay for the photo in this case. The effect actually works best under Mozilla; IE6 seems to crash on occasion, the error source appropriately being "pngfilt.dll" (go figure.)

Drop shadows have been used and abused all too much in "blog-land"-style designs, typically the "drop-shadowed single column" approach (see the excellent CSS Vault for examples,) but I think multiple rounded-corner containers overlaid atop a photo are a good use. The performance on Mozilla is somewhat sluggish but acceptable, IE's is faster (likely due to the proprietary DXfilter code-o-rama going on,) but has been seen to crash on occasion when swapping pages.

The CSS used applies GIF images; PNGs are applied where supported by the PNG javascript library, leaving the default GIF format for graceful degradation. The problem is compounded by the fact that Opera 7 and Safari don't support the (IE-only) currentStyle or (DOM standard) getComputedStyle methods used to parse the effects of combined CSS rules on the PNG elements (currently using GIFs) being parsed.

Free For Use

Once finished (probably by v5,) this app will be downloadable from this site. Some bugs remain to be worked out as well as additional functionality and features: An XML-based photo format, a script to automate the creation of thumbnail images and content splitting (ie. multiple pages for photo sections.)

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