Forum : Advice & Critiques

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Topic: Save synt or panorama on web server

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DavidsCb (Over 1 year ago)
Hi all,
i'm quite confused.
I'd like to save, and share, my synths or panoramas on my own server.
Is this possible? And if so, are there any advices aboute server's prerequisites?

Thanks in advice!
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
Hi, David, 

You can't host photosynths on your own webserver. 
Copying the synth files while the synth is uploading isn't really that hard and neither would be copying them to a directory on your own web server, but the catch is that I don't know how to get the Photosynth.net photosynth viewer to load the files from another server.

As for panoramas, if you're using Microsoft ICE http://bit.ly/msrice to create them, you can choose to export your panorama to your local hard drive in Deep Zoom Tileset format and it will auto generate an HTML page that uses the Microsoft HDView http://bit.ly/msrhdview panorama viewer plugin that is actually much higher quality than the Silverlight panorama viewer or HTML5 panorama viewer here on Photosynth.net.

The only drawback is that when you use HDView, your panorama will only be viewable properly on Windows. HDView has a fallback Silverlight viewer as well, but it only views the panorama as flat, rather than spherical.
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
If you don't mind my asking, why don't you want to use the free hosting here at Photosynth.net?

If you simply want to display your photosynths and panoramas on webpages on your own website, you can simply copy the HTML embed code underneath any photosynth or panorama here on the site and paste that embed code into the HTML source code of a page on your website, as you would for a vimeo or YouTube video.

The embed code has a few customizations which you can modify. 
Height and width of the iframe are very straightforward (measured in pixels).
You can choose whether the synth or pano viewer autoloads your content along with the rest of the page or waits until the user clicks on it once to begin loading.
You can also choose whether the animation from photo to photo through the synth or the panning of the panorama begins automatically upon loading or waits until the user touches the viewer and presses the [1] key to begin the animation.
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
P.S. Reading over what I typed above, I failed to make it clear that when you use Microsoft ICE to export your panorama in Deep Zoom Tileset format for use with HDView, that is specifically made for uploading the folder to your own webserver.

For a little over two years (2008 to 2010) that was the only way to share the interactive version of your ICE panorama, short of burning the files on a disc and mailing it to someone or transferring it via file sharing. 

Most users don't have their own web server and most free file hosts (SkyDrive and the like) don't allow you to upload an entire folder of files and have those files retain their relative paths to each other which is critical for the viewer to load the image tiles correctly.

That being the case, 2010's update to Photosynth.net to support the upload of panoramas in addition to photosynths was a great simplification for most folks. All that's needed now is ICE, Photosynth's Windows app + a free account.
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
Benefits of using Photosynth.net hosting for your panoramas and simply embedding the viewer on your site are that Windows and Mac users can view your panos using the Silverlight viewer, Windows Phone 8, Windows RT, and iOS users can use the HTML5 pano viewer to view the pano on your webpages, and Windows Phone and iOS users will be able to launch your panorama in the official Photosynth mobile app. - all of that from a single Photosynth.net embed per pano.
DavidsCb (Over 1 year ago)
Hi Nathanael,
and thanks for your reply.

I was thinking to take an account on windows azure, but it's not totally clear for me when you says that with "..HDView, your panorama will only be viewable properly on Windows": beacuse of silverlight?

I was thinking about my own server beacause of space limit of free account.
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
Okay, HDView is a panorama viewer created by Microsoft Research before Photosynth was released and is programmed in C++ and Direct3D. Because Direct3D is a Windows-only graphics technology, HDView only works on Windows.

Also, because Microsoft in recent years has decided to embrace web standards and shun web browser plugins (no Internet Explorer plugins on Windows Phone, XBOX, Windows RT, or the Metro version of Internet Explorer 10 on Windows 8 - not even Silverlight, whose development has ended) then the HDView plugin doesn't run on those Microsoft platforms. 

It would be possible for Microsoft Research to make a standalone Windows Phone app, Windows Store app, and XBOX LIVE app for HDView to view panoramas, since all of those platforms run DirectX, but there is no sign of desire from MSR to spend the time and manpower to accomplish that.
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
There is also a half-hearted attempt at a Silverlight version of HDView that runs on Windows and OSX, but it doesn't view panoramas as spherical, but only as flat. Moreover, it is not viewable on any mobile platform, so HDView SL (the Silverlight version) is pretty much useless to me. 

The Direct3D original HDView viewer is great for viewing spherical panos, but like I said, only Windows users will be able to install the HDView browser plugin. It works in four out of the five major web browsers on Windows. I think that Opera is the one that gets left out, which would mean that people could view your ICE panoramas in Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, and Chrome on Windows if you use HDView to publish them on your own web server.

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If you care about people viewing your panoramas on Macs and mobile devices, just stick with Photosynth.net's hosting. A free account offers 20GB of public storage and 1GB of unlisted storage: http://photosynth.net/faq.aspx#q1
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