Deep Zoom introduction

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In the summer this year Microsoft presented news in its Silverlight 2 technology. Microsoft also announced Deep Zoom. This technology is very interesting news which allows to download data to the web browser for viewing gigapixels images without the need of transfer large data blocks. High resolution photography, high DPI scanned documents, this all you can serve to your visitors for viewing in their browser. The users will download only necessary minimum of data.

If you haven't hear about Silverlight technology yet, there is a short description of it. Silverlight is Microsoft's answer to Adobe Flash. If you want to view Silverlight powered websites then you need to download small installer. It will allow viewing of many multimedia websites or other dynamic pages. Silverlight supports Internet Explorer (also in its new Windows Mobile version), Firefox and Safari on the Windows and Mac OS X platform. There should be support for Linux systems also, Microsoft works on it together with Novell.

Deep Zoom is one of the new features in the upcoming Silverlight 2. Just imagine ten thousands height and width images. I thinks that many image viewers will have problem with it. The bigger problem could bring these images for web browsers. Do you think that your readers would like to download a page with such a big image? I don't think so. Deep Zoom solves problems with large data download needs - without any effort for web developer or the reader.

Deep Zoom in practice

Deep Zoom implementation from the view of the reader looks like the page showing up common image or photo in the web browser. As soon as you will use the mouse wheel (or any functional element on the page), the picture will zoom. There are constant image dimension, the zoom only applies for its content. The image which looks like smudged photo could be zoomed to the unbelievable details.

The server sends to the browser only necessary minimum of data needed for image displaying. This could save the traffic to both sides.

You can find many Deep Zoom websites these days. You need to install Silverlight 2 support, of course. Take a look at the Hard Rock Memorabilia website. At first look you will see only small pictures combined to the one image:

[inline:deep-zoom-1.png]

Try to use you mouse wheel or click on any link on the left. The photos zooms and you can see its details:

[inline:deep-zoom-2.png]

Now try to imagine how difficult could be implement something like this using only one large image and positioning on it using JavaScript code.

Deep Zoom websites

There are other interested websites using Deep Zoom already:

Check this latest Deep Zoom website. There is an photo of Barrack Obama. However as soon as you will use your mouse wheel you will see that this picture is combined from many small photos of Obama's fans. The large Obama photo displayed 1:1 has 10 000 x 10 000 pixels dimension.

How to start with Deep Zoom?

If you would like to start implementing simple Deep Zoom images on your websites then try Deep Zoom Composer software. This simple tool allows preparing of the large image combined from the small ones. Add source photos to it and drag and drop them to the working area. Deep Zoom Composer will help you with setting the same height or width of the images.

[inline:Deep-Zoom-Composer.png]

When the image is ready you can export it to the PNG or JPEG file format. You can add the basic page for viewing of this Deep Zoom image. However beware of a mistake - Deep Zoom is intended only for image preparing which you can use in your Silverlight and Deep Zoom online applications. Deep Zoom Composer is not developer tool. If you would like to prepare the complete web page with buttons, links and other control elements of the website, then you probably need the Microsoft Expression 2 suite or Visual Studio with Silverlight add-on.

If you know about other interesting Deep Zoom websites, please provide the links in the comments below this article.

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