SpellBook Aug 21st, 2007 (zipped jar 1.1Mb)
Support: contact authors
The project is owned and sponsored by STM. All rights reserved.
The project is being developed by UniBG.
Zoomable FileSystem Viewer
Codename: FILEMAGE. New prototype of a zoomable file-system viewer, really faster! The successor of ZDESKTOP. FILEMAGE is a zoomable application based on SPELLBOOK library.
Explorer & Picture Manager FileMage view
Zooming into a hierarchy of nested directories (FileMage)
FILEMAGE is the new prototype of the zoomable file-system viewer. The successor of ZDESKTOP. These are the most important differences with respect to previous version:
Codename: ZDESKTOP. Prototype of a zoomable user interface (ZUI) developed at the University of Bergamo (Engineering faculty) . It is written in Java and it is based on Piccolo Toolkit. The project is owned and sponsored by STMicroelectronics. All rights reserved.
Classical Explorer View Zoomable View (ZDesktop)
Command line interfaces are very powerful but they are suited only to expert / advanced users. Graphical user interfaces are intuitive but what you see is all you get: you cannot automate manipulations as in scripts, you cannot indicate what is not immediately visibile, etc. Today the user interface is crowded by windows, icons, menus you can point at; the graphics is fancier (animations, transparency) but not useful (high-resolutions screens often display as much information as an old 80-by-25 character display).
Zoomable user interfaces exploit a natural way to organize / navigate files. You can zoom out to get the overview or zoom in to details, as desired. There is no need to open the application, load the data, edit, save the data and close the application. Just zoom in, edit and zoom out when you are done.
ZDESKTOP is a zoomable file system viewer. Directories are rendered as square boxes. Hierarchy of directories are rendered as a hierarchy of nested boxes. Text files and images are simply rendered as they are. Objects in a directory are layout in a square grid, some space (user selectable) is left among neighboring objects.
ZDESKTOP is designed for efficiency: speed and low memory consumption. Directory's content is loaded only if the directory is whithin the area visible on the screen and if it is big enough; otherwise the corresponding thumbnail is used. Thumbnails are generated when directories are visited, a default thumbnail can be specified.
ZDESKTOP is easy to use. The interaction is implemented as follow (it can be changed in the future):
ZDESKTOP is java based, hence it is multiplatform. It has been tested under Microsoft Windows, Linux and MacOS.
Here's a short to do list.
Here's some idea for the future.
Partial rewriting. Multi-thread management of semantic zoom. Server/client split.
Complete rewriting. Visualization of directory trees. Semantic zoom: automatic creation and use of thumbnails. Objects can be moved. User configurable visualization parameters.
Zoomable visualization of images, text and directory trees. Metadata in XML files. Only pan and zoom of the desktop.
Idea to replicate the application designed in 1984 by Jef Raskin, Apricus Inc., to ease the management of database in hospitals. When started, you were presented with the city map. You could zoom in hospitals, buildings, floors and finally rooms. When patient data was visible it could be edited.
1994 Pad++ University of Maryland
1999 Jazz University of Maryland
2002 ZVTM open source project
2003 Piccolo University of Maryland
Dasher zoomable text-entry system
Daniele Panza (UniBG)
Created: 2nd April 2007. Updated: 19th June 2008.