Updates to the AnimationS applet (AniS)

Software updated June 12th, 2007

this page format updated: December 23, 2003

The June 18th, 2007 update fixes a problem with compatibility for Java 1.1.x (which is the version used in the out-of-date Microsoft IE with the Microsoft JVM).

The second June, 2007 update modifies the code to cirumvent an issue for users of the "Safari" browser on Macs who use "tabs". The code had been suspending the "auto-update" whenever the user tabbed away from the animation; the updated code will continue to update even though the animation is not visible.

The June, 2007 update adds code to try to work around "caching servers" that seem to ignore http directives and whether or not the image files have been updated, and cache the files anyway. To this end, by default now all filenames requested will have "?xxxxx" appended to them; the http servers will ignore this and simply return the file. "xxxxx" is an ever-changing number, so the caching servers will not simply intercept the request and return the old (wrong) file. This glomming only happens for http requests; however, if you encounter difficulties, you may turn this off by using the new parameter "use_anti_caching" and setting the value to "false".

The February, 2007 update circumvents a problem when using Java version 1.6 regarding image caching. The problem affects both AniS settings (use_caching "true" and "false"), and would only not occur if the end user had disabled caching in the Java Control Panel. The August, 2006 update substantially improved the performance when using static overlays with the same image appearing on all frames.

The May, 2006 update adds some new features: 1) ability to color-code the overlay labels (does not work on Macs, of course), 2) to supress the "preview" display of each image when reloading the display, and 3) to specify a list of numbers of frames to actually download and display (to potentially help out users with bandwidth limitations).

The February, 2006 update corrects a problem with Java 1.1.x and users with IE still using Microsoft's JVM. It also includes code to force all widgets to set background and foreground colors, in a futile effort to overcome an issue on Macs.

The January, 2006 update adds a new value for the overlay's "transparency" parameter. If all of your overlays are GIFs images, you may use the GIF's transparent attribute to assign one level as the transparent level. In this case, the value can be set "image". For example:
<param name="transparency" value="image">

Also, a few couple of small changes were made to the German language properties file.

The December, 2005 update adds a new "public method" (getOverlayState(int)) to allow JavaScripters access to the state of the overlay checkboxes. Also added is a new parameter, "overlay_zoom" to allow for overlays to be zoomed (the default), or not (useful for things like legends).

The November, 2005 update adds three new "parameters" related to the "refresh" operation: keep_zoom causes the zoom and roam position to be remembered after the refresh is done. overlay_static specifies which overlays are 'static' and do not need to be reloaded from the host during a "refresh". Similarly, base_static specifies that the base images are static.

In addittion, thanks to Marianne at EUMETSAT, we now have a German language pack available.

The August, 2005 update adds a "progress bar" to show the status of reading image files. The progress bar will be used as the default, replacing the text message ("Loaded N of T"); also, the applet status display (usually in the bottom border of the browser window) will now indicate a percentage of files loaded when the progress bar is used.

If you want to have the text message appear instead of the progress bar, a new parameter was added:
<param name="use_progress_bar" value="false"> . In this case, the applet status will also show "Loaded N of T".

In addition, the total number of images ("T" in the "Loaded N of T" message) is now computed by summing up the frames, overlays and portal images.

Finally, the state of the "Show" button (enabled/disabled) has been made consistent with the "fade" mode. Basically, "show" is not usable with "fade" because the image files are not available on the server.

The June, 2005 updates includes these changes:

The February, 2005 update provides Internationalization for the "widget" (buttons, sliders, etc) labels. Actual labels must be specified in separate "bundle properties" files; a few have been done for this release. In addition, the file_of_filenames was modified to allow the dwell_rates specification introduced in the last update, to be included in the file. An option was added to the declarations of two controls: "auto_toggele/off" will set the initial state of the auto-refresh to "off". And "toggle/nohelp" will supress the "Click left.." text that normally appears below the frame toggle boxes.

The November, 2004 update adds two new features. The setframe control will cause a slide (scrollbar) to be added that can be used to "slide" through the frames. The dwell_rates "param" can be used to pre-assign individual dwells to each frame.

The August, 2004 update fixes some inefficiencies in reading overlay images that caused lots of wasted memory. In addition, a new parameter , "use_caching" has been added. This will allow sites that have frequently-updated images that have unique filenames to use web and/or browser caching where possible. Caution should be used in all other cases. This parameter on affects the image file reading.

The June, 2004 update adds a new parameter "use_IP". This parameter must be specified with a 'value' of "true" (case sensitive). When this is specified, the hostname from which the applet is loaded is internally converted to an IP address which is then used for all subsequent file reading. This should only be used if you have a web farm with hostname spoofing, in order to prevent AniS from trying to read image data from a host different than the one from which the applet was loaded.

The February 2004 update adds a new parameter: "image_preserve". If you use zoom, and have some regions of your images that you'd like to preserve when the user zooms (for example, a date-time label or your logo), then "image_preserve" will allow you to do this. For example:
   <param name="image_preserve" value="0,388,499,399">
will preserve the rectange from x=0 to 499 and y=388 to 399. See the Detailed Documentation for more info.

The December 2003 update adds a new control, named "show". When used, this control display a button that is "active" only when the looping is stopped. If the user clicks on this button, the base image of the frame being displayed will be popped up by the browser, thus allowing the user to save, print, etc., the image. (This will not include any portals or overlays.) Normally, this the pop up is in a separate browser window...if you'd like to have it be the same window as the applet is running in, the use the control name "show/same".

The November, 2003 update allows the parameter "start_looping" to be set whether or not the "startstop" control was used. In the previous version, you could not specify "start_looping" to be "true" unless you also had used the "startstop" control. This will now allow for animations to be started and run "forever" without any controls. Caveat emptor.

In September, 2003, serveral changes were made:

  1. Improvement in the memory management whilst zooming. This will cause some older, slower machines to animate slower when zoomed, however no additional memory is used.
  2. A behavior change (sorry) to the "Zoom" button -- it no longer "backs out" of a zoom one step at a time; instead, it has been relabeled "Reset", and will reset to the original scale when clicked.
  3. Roaming-while-zoomed has been added. Left-click still zooms. Right-click now un-zooms in steps. While zoomed, "dragging" the mouse will roam the image.
  4. A new parameter, "active_zoom" which can be used instead of the "Zoom" button. When specified, this will keep zooming available all the time. This is most convenient in those situations where you might have only one image you want to show, and don't want any controls, but would still like people to be able to zoom.
  5. A new parameter, "image_window_size" which if specified will cause the images to be rescaled to that size. Thus, if you have a 1000x1000 image, and specify an "image_window_size" of "200,200" the image(s) will be rescaled to that size. If you zoom, the zooming is done using the original (1000x1000) image, which allows users to get back to the original resolution.
  6. A new parameter, "use_archive" which if specified will cause AniS to try to read all data files (images, overlays, enh.tab, file_of_filenames) from a specified archive (zip or jar file). I was able to do only minimal testing of this one...

The June, 2003, update attempts to overcome problems in the Java Plugin version 1.4.1. An additional change was needed to overcome caching issues for auto-updates. (Note: these were mostly corrected in 1.4.2...) Changes were also needed to address backward compatibility issues with Microsoft's JVM (ver 1.1.x).

The late February, 2003, update adds the ability to use the left- and right-arrow keys for 'stepping'. In addition, a few public methods were added to allow for external (JavaScript) control. This is still evolving.

The mid-December, 2002, update adds a user-interactive "rotator" widget control to allow users to move through the frames.

The early November, 2002, update adds the ability to treat some or all of the overlay checkboxes as "radio buttons" -- that is, only one of them may be "on" at a time. See example 8 for details.

The October, 2002, update adds two new parameters, toggle_size that is used to define the width, height, and spacing of the little toggle 'buttons' (useful if you have a lot of frames), and the base_starting_number parameter that allows you to start your image numbering at a value other than zero. We've also introduced another form of the wildcard notation in filenames: one or more question marks (?) to permit filenames like myfile000.jpg to be used as myfile???.jpg. Changes in this update also include a fix for the visual effect during the 'pre-load show' whereby images were displayed left-aligned, and then jumped to a centered presentation after all were loaded.

The August, 2002, update adds a new parameter, image_base, that can be used to specify a base URL for image files (must be on the same machine, though) instead of using the directory (URL) where the HTML was read from.

The April, 2002, update adds code to help insure that images will be loaded from the host machine and not from some intermediate web-caching server. It also removes the delay that occurred after loading all frames before the animation started, and prevents images from being loaded twice on some platforms.

The March, 2002, update fixes a problem with zooming intorduced in the Java runtime version 1.3 (and corrected in version 1.4). This problem caused images to turn shades of blue while zooming. The March AniS update works around this problem, and is compatible with Java versions 1.1.8 through 1.4.

Please send your comments, suggestions, and questions to: Tom Whittaker

This applet is Copyright(C) 1999 by Tom Whittaker. You may use this for any lawful purpose, and we are not responsible for what you do with it. It was developed as an outcome of the VISIT Project and uses many classes from the VISITview collaborative training / distance learning tool.