This is my personal blog. The views expressed on these pages are mine alone and not those of my employer.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Article Now Up: "AJAX: How to Handle Bookmarks and Back Buttons"

The article I wrote for the O'Reilly Network went live today:

The clever in-page dynamics of AJAX make for richer web applications, but they don't necessarily tolerate the use of bookmarks or the browser's back and forward buttons particularly well. In this article, Brad Neuberg shows off a new framework that brings bookmarking and back-button awareness to AJAX.

Check it out and tell me what you think!

Responses to the Open Library Across the Blogosphere and News

Here are some articles and blog postings tracking the Open Library stuff we are doing at the Internet Archive:

Introducing the Open Library and the AJAX Flipbook Viewer

Last night at the Internet Archive we released what we have been working on lately, an Open Library. It's an initiative to scan all of the world's books, starting with public domain ones. The Internet Archive team has created an entire pipeline and process to affordably scan books at ten cents a page, involving book scanning machines, workflow software to transform book images into text and high quality images, algorithms to correct page quality, systems to be able to store the petabytes of information for all these books, and finally a web-based AJAX system to view and fully search these books. I was brought on the last three weeks to finish the web-based AJAX book viewer, known as the Flipbook, before last night's launch. Huge amounts of work on the Flipbook viewer were also done by Jesse Crossen and Kevin Webb, including server-side work by Ralf Muehlen and Tracey Jaquith. Graphic design was done by the awesome Ronna Tanenbaum.

The Flipbook viewer is a full, web-based AJAX viewer for digital books, real books that were scanned using the Internet Archive's scanning machines. Jesse Crossen created an amazing page turning effect as you are reading the book. We've also added unique searching features; enter the word "history" in the book above, for example, and the Flipbook viewer queries the server in the background, which uses Optical Character Recognition information to find matches and the coordinates of every page in the book, and which returns the results to the client. The client then uses this information to highlight in place every matching word, positioning a transparent rectangle over all matching words. These are the kinds of cool things you can start doing when you bring books into the digital realm.

The main Open Library page, where we have fifteen scanned books on launch:

A screenshot viewing the International Episode using the Flipbook viewer, needing no plugins:

The Flipbook viewer after a search; notice the little yellow tabs where you can jump to search hits. If you hover over them, you will see the search result shown in place with other contextual words:

The Flipbook also has print on demand features, audio narration, keyboard navigation, full metadata in balloon popups that appear, and more. It's the beginnings of an AJAXian Dynabook.

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