David Wiley pointed me to PicLens a few days ago. It is fun way to view online images. Immediately I saw the potential use for viewing house plans. We already have data feeds in RSS and Atom setup all over the site so I figured it wouldn’t be hard to integrate the service into ThePlanCollection.com. It wasn’t, but there are still a few bugs. They are probably my fault, but I think there is a great opportunity to integrate this software into ecommerce sites like mine to provide customers a really cool method for quickly browsing product. It works especially well with house plans. (Follow the link. If you have PicLens installed you can press the little blue play button in the upper right of your browser. If not click on the ‘View as Slideshow’ link).
Here are a couple of things I would love to see them add/change. I noticed that in the flash slide show the player pulls in the ‘description’ field from the RSS but the Firefox Extension does not. We added a bunch of info about each house plan into that field so it helps our users get more information about the plan as they are viewing the slideshow.
It would be nice if there was a more obvious way to click through to view the web page of the image you are viewing. Right now you can click on the title and it will take you, but that took me a minute to figure out and I am betting my users won’t know to do that.
I followed the advanced integration tutorial and added paging to my atom and rss feeds but as far as I can tell the only images you can view are the ones on the current page. I would love to be able to view all 18,000 plans in the viewer. I messed up on my RSS feed. The paging works great.
Now I am off to show this off to my wife. It looks pretty. Nobody cares when I spend a week getting a database schema just right, but when I build something that looks pretty I get praise. It helps keep the ego stoked.