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I’m confident

Direct3D viewer dead?

Re Photosynth: I had asked this question on the Photosynth forums but as I can't seem to find where I posted it and there is no forum search or way to find my own posts.

So the question is, when will the Direct3D viewer be updated the feature set of the Silverlight viewer?
Now I have almost no problem with the Silverlight viewer, it's latist iteration is excellent, but the D3D viewer is just that little bit faster, quite a bit smoother and load point clouds a lot faster.

It would be a shame if the best way to view photosynths was just left behind when all that needs to be done is add highlights and a few other features.
Thanks.
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  • Hi Nutterguy.

    In a nutshell, Yes.

    While the DirectX viewer did give better quality, it was decided that the bar for entry (having a Windows machine, specific install to run) was a little too high. In switching to Silverlight we made a calculated decision to reach more people at the cost of a (hopefully temporary) slightly degraded experience. Without Silverlight, adding Photosynth to Bing Maps might never have succeeded.

    As for bringing the D3D experience up to par, it's a question of maintaining two code bases vs. focusing all our efforts on making a single experience as good as possible. By leaving the D3D viewer behind the team has been able to focus on bringing newer and better navigation affordances (topdown view, highlights) to the user, and we hope to continue to push the envelope with richer and sleeker options for viewing synths.
    On a final note, for those connoisseurs who really appreciate the extra buttery-smoothness of DirectX-fueled Photosynth there is a ray of hope with the upcoming release of Silverlight 4. You should know that our performance has increased with every new release of Silverlight, and that we are hand in hand with the Silverlight team to improve things further in future Silverlight versions.

    Hope this helps.
    Marvin
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  • I’m sad
    Thanks for the speedy reply Joshua,
    That is slightly disappointing but I though you might say that and what your saying does make perfect sense. Hopefully with Silverlight 4 the viewer will get a bit faster and the post clouds a little more filled out.

    Out of interest could you divulge the ratio or percentage of windows users vs other?
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  • I’m pointing to information.
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    Nutterguy,

    I found your original question (and the reply) at this link.

    More on this topic (even though Joshua covered all the bases above) on this blog post and its comments from back in April 2009 as well.

    As to when we'll see a Silverlight 4 Photosynth viewer, Silverlight 4 has been announced to follow a development cycle of Beta (which we've both installed), Release Candidate, Final Release. Final release has been announced for the first half of 2010 and we always see Silverlight news at the MIX conferences (annually held in March and broadcast|narrowcast on the web for several years now), so I'd predict that we'll get the release candidate then. Unless the release schedule slips, that means that the latest we'll see SL4 final released to the web is June 30.

    This interview with Scott Guthrie on Channel 9 Live covers some of that.





    Get Microsoft Silverlight

    (iPhones click here to watch.)

    Historically speaking, we know that Silverlight 3 final release launched 2009 July 10 and the first Silverlight 3 version of the Photosynth viewer that I am aware of launched 2009 October 07. (That's a 99 day difference.) Whether that timeline is useful to infer the approximate lag between Silverlight releases and Photosynth viewer releases has yet to be determined as there has only been one full version iteration change of SL since the Photosynth viewer moved to SL. (You can't compare one example to nothing to generate an educated guess of any appreciable quality.) I haven't looked up the dates of any point releases of Silverlight (2.x, 3.x) or the dates when we saw the different versions|updates of the SL Photosynth viewer released (although Photosynth Blog entries should highlight the major differences), but that would give you more data to play with. Whether the scheduling of Silverlight point releases could be conclusively tied to updates in the Photosynth viewer would require a fairly good understanding of what was being updated in SL as well as exactly what features were being used in PS for those releases.

    Back to the expected timeframe for the first SL4 Photosynth viewer, though, it is difficult to push out a new version of any app until you have the final feature set of the underlying platform in your hands to test features against to ensure stability.

    As to searching the Photosynth forums, it is sad that there isn't forum search, but Bing and Google do a decent job of finding things posted there.

    Here are a couple of links to example queries of the Photosynth.net forums:
    Bing
    Google

    Adding your handle to those queries, brings up your post on the forum right away.

    And now examples for the entire Photosynth website (Sometimes technical questions are answered on synth pages in the comments.) I'll use a different query, megapixels, because every single synth page has the phrase "View Synth in Direct3D Viewer" on it except for the actual D3D viewer pages which have no text on them (meaning that every single synth would be returned in the results for a simple search of photosynth.net for the term direct3d):
    Bing
    Google

    And, of course, the Photosynth blog and Get Satisfaction forum already have search provided, but here they are:
    Photosynth Blog:
    Bing
    Google
    Get Satisfaction:
    Bing
    Google

    I'm assuming that you have a good knowledge of computing, including search engine Boolean syntax (mine displayed in the links above may be a bit redundant), but just in case you don't, here are a few basics.


    • You can tell the search engine to search only a specific site by adding (in our case) site:photosynth.net to your query.

    • You can search for exact phrases, rather than asking for any one of the words in your query. Do this by wrapping a specific series of words in double quotes.

    • You can explicitly tell the search engine to only return pages that definitely include a word or a phrase by adding a plus sign (+) to the front of the word or phrase (outside the first double quote for phrases).

    • You can explicitly tell the search engine to throw away all pages that include a certain word or phrase by adding a minus sign (-) to the beginning of a word or phrase.

      For example you could add -"Nathanael Lawrence's Dashboard" to your GetSatisfaction search to take all of my profile pages out of the search results, since which links are on a particular page on my profile to my replies here on GetSat is constantly being changed as I reply to more and more topics.

    • You can set groups of words or phrases aside in parentheses in cases where you want to say, "Find me pages that have one of the words or phrases "Direct 3D", "Direct3D" or D3D in them, but also have one of the handles David, Jonathan, Marvin, TonyErnst, Madeeds, Bert, etc. on them."



    Combining those basic querying techniques, you can easily say, "Give me pages that include at least one of the words or phrases in this first group, at least one of these words or phrases from this second group, but none of these words or phrases in this third group." If that doesn't turn up a small enough list, add in the instruction to only look for results on a particular site and the number of useful links should become quite relevant and short.
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  • I’m thankful
    Wow, thats a award winning reply, thanks Nathanael!
    I hadn't seen that Scott Guthrie C9 video either and it's excellent and very in depth!

    Looking forward to the SL4 viewer!
    Thank you.
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