As you may know, we are going to release Image Uploader 7 in a couple months. I would like to tell about it a bit more detailed.
First of all, it will not be just yet another major update. It will be a revolutionary change. Although version 6 is a great product, it has a lot of legacy stuff that does not allow us considering it as an ideal upload solution. That's why we decided make a big job and rewrote significant amount of code. Upcoming v7 will be much closer to the dream uploader than ever.
Here is an overview of changes. I have highlighted the most important improvements, but of course this is not an exhaustive list.
I would like to begin with the user interface. From the very beginning we tried to make Image Uploader appearance similar to standard Windows interface. Our main idea was to make it user-friendly for people who have some experience with Windows GUI. So, we tried to avoid any custom controls, etc.
However, we have to admit that it is not the best approach. Besides of Windows users, a lot of people are using Mac. That's why it should be more OS-neutral. Another important thing: many websites have design incompatible with standard Windows interface. The upload component should be more Web 2.0-esque.
And this is one of improvements we have made. Visual appearance became more compatible with modern website designs. And of course, now it is more configurable. So, upcoming v7 can be integrated into the website look-and-feel even more strongly.
Appearance was not the only reason of the global GUI redesign. We decided to make it more convenient. Selection process, description editing, navigation, file selection became much more user-friendly. Instead of hardcoded one-, two-, and three-panel layout, now a single layout is used with expandable/collapsible tree view and file browsing panel. Also, it became more friendly to tabbed browsers - no more modal dialogs appear.
We have also added some new features – for example, each photo can be cropped before upload. It can be done either by a user or automatically.
The last but not least aspect of GUI improvement is the performance. Now Image Uploader works much faster when the user navigates to a folder with a huge amount of files. Navigation became more smooth and fast.
User interface is not the only part that has been improved. We have a lot of work to make the upload part better.
At my opinion the most significant upload enhancement is an ability to split HTTP request into chunks. Let's assume you have large file, say, 100MB. Now Image Uploader can break it into 100 blocks of 1MB each and upload it one by one. On the server side you just "glue" it back (if you use Image Uploader ASP.NET controls or PHP library, it is done automatically).
Let's see the benefits of such approach:
No need to remove server-side HTTP request length limitations. Now you can upload huge files without reducing the security level of your web server.
Now if the upload breaks for some reason, there is no need to re-upload entire file from a scratch. Users will appreciate that if large files are uploaded.
It is more memory friendly both for client and server.
Earlier there was a potential file size barrier of 2GB or 4GB (depending on server). It was caused by limitation of 32-bit architecture. Now files of any size can be uploaded.
Another great improvement is the possibility to generate thumbnails simultaneously with the upload process. This way the upload speed is significantly increased comparing to the older versions, especially if you generate thumbnails heavily.
I can go on and on describing changes, but I guess it is enough for today. Do not want to pad the overview out. But I believe it gives you an idea about future changes.
You might wonder what is the status of this version right now. Well, although we are not ready to launch a sort of beta or something like this, it is pretty close to this stage. I visit Image Uploader dev team daily, and every time I see them testing v7 and uploading files through it, I eagerly desire to make the launch day closer.
If anyone is interested to see the new version in action, do not hesitate to drop an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will deploy an online demo with the latest stable version, and I will be happy to show it and answer any questions. Just let me know!