Product Review: imgnav
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Published: 14 Sep 2007
Abstract
Gone are days when you need to make use of the img tag for displaying images. Is there any alternative solution? Yes, Ajax based imgnav. Is it easy to use and deploy? Read Anand’s experiences to find it out.
by Anand Narayanaswamy
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Introduction

Appearance of images on web pages has been changed drastically ever since the evolution of Web 2.0. The img tag provided by HTML is only useful for displaying static images. But developers were on a hunt for an extension to the HTML tag which could be used to display images in different ways using advanced techniques.

Corporate Web Solution's imgnav helps you to showcase images in various ways. It helps you to rapidly browse images in multiple zoom levels. The product is an Ajax based ASP.NET 2.0 control and does not require any installation to use. The vendor provides the product packaged in a ZIP file with the required documentation. The core aspect of the product is that users can visualize images in different ways without compromising the image quality.

Figure 1

In order to use the product, you just need to extract the contents of the ZIP file and add the Assembly file, imgnav.dll, to the Visual Studio 2005 Toolbox. You should then copy the imgnav.js file from the original package and add the required image file to your working directory. The product does not require any coding as you can supply the path of the image and name of the output directory directly from the Properties window.

Figure 2

Finally, you should create an empty directory which will be used by the product to store images during the execution stage. As soon as you run the application you will see the image surrounded with Navigation arrow and Zoom panel. The vendor has hosted a gallery at http://www.imgnav.com/gallery.aspx, which enables you to view a live demo of different images.

The product includes features such as Smart scroll overlap, Smart link, and Smart navigation. You can also add multiple imgnav controls on the same page while maintaining dynamic positioning. With the help of the product, you can perform zooming in different ways such as using hot keys and mouse scroll wheel.

You can make use of the instant zoom feature using the Zoom navigation panels to view high resolution zoomed images and also setup custom zoom levels. It also includes design time control with status indicator and support for auto-watermarking. You should note that the current edition is a limited time preview and as such there will be regular updates to the edition which I reviewed here. Hence, you may find new features at a later point of time apart from the ones covered here.

I found that even if JavaScript is disabled on the browser the product functions perfectly, especially zooming functionality with post backs. This will be highly useful for users with old browsers. I feel that documentation should include a step-by-step getting started tutorial so that beginners can easily learn the working of the product. The current help file, however, includes a short reference for developers. The vendor should provide short video demos covering each and every feature of the product so that users can easily grasp the functioning of the product in a quick span of time.


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