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Archive for 2010

When theatre walks down the streets

Festival organisers started using Fluxiom to upload, distribute and archive the avalanche of photographs that help publicise and document the event.

Every year for nine days, at the beginning of August, La Strada takes over the streets of Graz, Austria’s second largest city centre, for a whirlwind tour of what’s hot, what’s unique and what’s relevant in street art, contemporary performances and puppeteering.

In 2010, the festival organisers started using fluxiom to upload, swap, distribute and archive the avalanche of photographs that help research, plan, publicise and document the event. (That’s a lot of verbs, for an even greater amount of data!)

If you manage a public event, of any scale, we recommend taking a look at the detailed case study, but we couldn’t resist sharing the following bit of fluxiom-powered art…

In order to promote the festival and encourage visitors to go see these unique ephemeral performances, organisers use fluxiom-powered screens to disseminate photos of the day’s key events.

Entirely dynamic and Stages-based, the screens pool data right from the festival’s account. Updating them is therefore a simple matter of applying and removing tags, as photographers roam the streets with their portable gear. Here they are, in action:

Related Links

La Strada case study


Geo-location lands in Fluxiom

The location information is displayed in the details panel.

Today’s most popular cameras and smartphones automatically embed GPS coordinates into images, making it a snap to know precisely where and in which conditions a particular picture was taken. That information is often stored within the photo file itself, as part of its “metadata,” the very same series of pointers Fluxiom parses to provide you with in-depth information about your assets.

Starting today, Fluxiom will automatically expose any location data stored within your files. Better still, because raw coordinates do not mean much to us humans, that information is displayed along with a small Google Maps thumbnail, which you can click to access full and detailed data about the area.

Location data is immediately available across all plans for both upcoming and existing assets in your account — no need to re-upload anything — and is automatically displayed as a new category in your usual Details panel if there is any such information to be extracted from the file.


Announcing our souped-up API

At Fluxiom, we strongly believe in the power of APIs and application integration. By integrating Fluxiom with other web-based services, be they your own custom solutions or existing Web 2.0 applications, it is possible to create an all-automated, fluid workflow that saves time, money and frustration. For example, did you know Fluxiom serves as the backend to one of Europe’s largest high-volume, high-speed printers, that handles all the biggest advertising campaigns for prestigious brands?

Benefits of the new API

Today, we are announcing a cleaner and richer API that’s better documented, too. You can head over to our API page for the latest documentation, tips and code examples. In a nutshell, this new API provides:

  • Richer access to the account contents, including tag management and improved file uploads for an all-automated workflow, from data input to organisation.
  • Multiple working formats: we now offer JSON in addition to our traditional XML interface, for better compatibility with enterprise back-ends.
  • Much, much better documentation because good code is documented code and documentation ensures forward compatibility.

We have also reviewed and updated our back-end to further stabilise and accelerate API interactions, especially when dealing with repeated instructions and large data sets.

Getting started

Setting up a great API is as much about the journey, as it is about the destination. All accounts, including our Free plan include access to the API, making it really easy to get going and test the waters. (Of course, you cannot access features that are not included in the plan.)

If you have questions or experience any difficulties with the new API, please contact Developer Relations, and know we are committed to helping you get your project off the ground.

We hope this improved API makes it easier for you to build the workflow of your dreams, and welcome your comments and thoughts on what you would like us to implement next.


Saving Private Fluxiom

Indeed, since the introduction of the Free plan, the Private plan has had little new to offer of its own, and we find users who previously used the Private plan as a way to test Fluxiom are now jumping directly from Free to our professional offerings. What’s more, at 19 euros a month with 10 GBs of storage and all our advanced features, we believe the Solo plan offers the best possible value to individual users.

The remainder of our pricing structure remains unaffected. The Free plan is still free, and the professional plans, starting from the freelancer-friendly Solo, are unaffected.

A note to our existing Private plan owners

You are welcome to stay on your current plan for as long as you want, and will continue to get the features you currently enjoy, at the price you currently pay (9 €/month). We are not forcing anyone to upgrade! However, if you ever decided to upgrade or downgrade from your Private plan, it would no longer be possible for you to go back to it.

Verifying the plan you are on

If you do not remember the plan you are on, your Account tab has the answer. We are also actively reaching out to users on the Private plan by email.


Share in the fast lane

share icon

If you are in the habit of sharing or downloading lots of assets at the same time, by which we mean 700 MBs or more, you know it used to take a little while for fluxiom to package and prepare your data.

Sure, we have excuses: 700 MBs is a lot of data, compressing is resource-intensive and there are plenty of operations involved in replying to a seemingly simple click. Yet, we’re not ones for excuses, so we went back to the drawing board, fired up the optometric optimiser and published an update to fluxiom.

This update focuses exclusively on under-the-hood improvements, and considerably speeds up the sharing and downloading features, without changing your existing workflows at all. As an example, it took only two seconds for fluxiom to group and start the download of 940 assets in one of our test accounts — that’s 14 GBs of data! Sharing the same files, which entails packing up the data, generating a unique download link, and sending an email to the intended recipient, took a measly 5 seconds.

All accounts, from Free to Infinity, now benefit from these improvements. We hope you enjoy the speed — remember to fasten your seat belts!


It's better with a partner

Here are the bare essentials of a Fluid setup, but be sure to season to taste:

Setting up Fluid to access your fluxiom account

For the ultimate power tool arrangement, we recommend pairing fluxiom with fluxUp!, our native uploader for Mac OS X — and Windows. Upload, store and share files right from your Desktop. There is virtually no delay between the time a file is uploaded and the time it appears in your account interface, meaning fluxiom can take part in the fastest-paced workflows.

We now automatically provide Fluid instances with a custom icon — which you can change from within the application, of course — so that your Dock always looks its best. Our designers also gave the fluxUp! icon a little facelift of its own, empowering both applications to live together in “pairfect” harmony…


We now support Google Chrome

Since Google announced its last software coup, the introduction of an innovative, colourful and, quite literally, shiny browser, dubbed Chrome, interest from our users has been considerable.

Indeed, Google Chrome has been built specifically for Web 2.0 applications like fluxiom. It offers breakthrough memory management, enhanced security and blazing fast JavaScript performance. What’s more, it shares a rendering engine with another cross-platform favourite, Safari. What’s not to love?

Of course, since fluxiom is standards-compliant, compatibility has never been an issue for adventurous users. However, we are glad to announce we now officially support Google Chrome, meaning we have gone through the system with a fine-tooth comb, tweaking, testing and enhancing our code to ensure the smoothest ride possible.

The update has already been rolled out, and users on other browsers should not notice any changes.

As always, we are here to help in case something happens.

Happy fluxin’!


Do more, brand more, flux' more

Today, we are delighted to introduce further speed-ups, a smarter branding system, and a small, but significant change to video previewing.

Next to many nice interface tweaks, notably around the Tabs bar, and in the sub-menus of the Account section, here are the main changes:

Faster initial load

Initial loading times have been cut roughly in half, by dramatically diminishing the number of files we download from the server, as well as the size of these few components we cannot do without. This means fluxiom can now load as fast as 1.5 seconds on a good office connection.

To achieve this, we now optimise our support files with Jammit, and embed most of our images right into our CSS declarations.

Better branding

The branding interface has also been streamlined so that setting up and altering your branding is as painless as loading the results. For example, you can now play around with gradients without uploading a logo. We hope this will titillate your inner artist.

Speaking of branding, we now handle gradient generation via CSS, and have reduced the number of images involved throughout the process, resulting in further speed gains.

Branding: Personalize the appearance of your fluxiom account.

fluxUp!

Finally, if you have been using fluxUp! to upload your assets, you may like to know we will release an update later today to integrate the application with fluxiom’s new branding structure. So stay tuned.

fluxUp! Our free desktop uploader for Mac & PC.

Streaming video

If you are in the habit of handling large and long videos, you will no doubt notice we now stream your video previews. This means you can easily jump to any point in the file, without waiting for the initial frames to load. This makes it even easier to compare movies, or zoom right into your favourite sequences.


New year, new features

A new year, a new fluxiom! In-between the eggnog and the chocolates, our developers sneaked in a few hours of hard work, as a surprise New Year gift to our esteemed clients. Keeping in line with our obsession to make fluxiom more fluid and more reactive, we have been hard at work implementing a few big improvements to the Assets and Details views, that should make working with large quantities of files much easier.

Endless scrolling

The Assets view now loads assets on-the-fly as you scroll down, in manageable chunks, until you have seen all that is in your account pool. This means the initial view loads faster, and the system is more responsive as you scroll down the list, because it only handles the data to be displayed. While all browsers will get a speed boost from this new loading technique, those on older versions of Internet Explorer or on slower Internet connections should notice the greatest improvements.

Endless scrolling in action.

This informal speed test compares initial loading times for an Assets view holding a little over 2000 files. Of course, your mileage may vary, as they say, depending on network latency, but these figures still make for an interesting comparison:

Before endless scrolling, roughly 13 seconds.

With endless scrolling, a hair below 3 seconds.

Smarter Details panel

The layout of the Details panel has been re-organised: commonly requested information is easier to find at a glance, and the general slew of details fluxiom extracts from your data is presented in a clearer, friendlier way. Worry not, no data has been removed from the panel!

fluxiom metadata view

The new layout of the re-organised Details panel.

Improved paging in the Details view

As you page from one asset to the next using the arrows at the top of the Details panel, the Assets view refreshes to highlight the asset being displayed in the Details panel itself — in essence keeping the panel and the page it is overlaid on in perfect sync.

Additionally, if you select multiple assets before opening the Details panel, the arrows at the top of the panel will restrict the cycle to those assets you have selected. This makes it easier to compare details between a few files, as the Details panel honours whatever selection you have made in the Assets view and won’t let you cycle out of it.

Export all your assets

We want you to renew your fluxiom subscription because you are happy with the service we provide, not because you can’t get your data out. While fluxiom has always featured numerous export options, and has always allowed you to export all your assets in one go, we felt we should make it clear to all account administrators.

Export all your files with the click of a button.

This is why they will now find a dedicated “Export all assets” button, in the “Account” tab of the fluxiom interface. It can’t get easier!

Improved toolbar behaviour

fluxiom toolbar

Traditionally, when no assets were selected in your fluxiom account, but a toolbar button was pressed — such as “Download” —, fluxiom would apply the instruction to all the assets in the account. We felt this was a quick way to enable “all-in-one” operations, especially on accounts holding a great many files.

Our users, however, have made it clear they find this behaviour confusing and expect the toolbar buttons to do nothing when no asset is selected. Therefore, we have now altered the toolbar’s behaviour to match these expectations, and you will notice buttons that were previously enabled by default, with a global effect, are now disabled.

To apply an operation to all your assets in one go, simply select them all, and click on the corresponding button. In other words, no functionality has been lost as a result of this update, you merely need to confirm you really do want an action to apply to all the assets in your account.

Improved keyboard navigation

While fluxiom has long featured some keyboard navigation essentials, this update now enables you to navigate the Assets View by using the arrow keys: a simple press of the appropriate key will move the selection rectangle by one tick in the desired direction. Of course, this works even when the Details panel is visible — which you can conveniently and coincidentally toggle by pressing the Space bar.

New keyboard navigation.

Because users managing large collections of assets tend to prefer the sober efficiency of the keyboard, we are embarking on a comprehensive review of fluxiom’s keyboard accessibility, and would like to hear your feedback. If you sometimes use your keyboard to navigate fluxiom, or would like to, send us a ping and let us know what your dream feature set would be.

updated navigation bar

And of course…

No release notes would be complete without the mention of miscellaneous bug fixes and improvements. This release is no exception, and many snags too minor to mention have been filed, buffed and varnished away.

Happy fluxin’!