MicroViews: Script Hosting & Tooltips
The current work that has been taking place on the MicroViews project has been setting up the script hosting and tooltips which form the first feature of MicroViews.
The server side script has two key features which help in the hosting of the MicroViews library.
The second key feature of the server side script is that it can include a version of the jQuery library. This means that if the web author has not already included the jQuery library on their site then they can just do it all from the MicroViews site by adding an option to the request url.
The tooltips are the simplest feature to implement which is why I choose to implement them first as this means that the library can be released for public use as early as possible. The tooltips were created as a prototype during the 2009 JISC Developer Happiness Days. All that needed to be done was to repurpose the code and harden it for production use. Initially the prototype was using a PHP script as a proxy to pull data from a linked EPrints repository into the same domain. This means that the prototype didn’t have to worry about the issue of making cross domain requests as the PHP script, in effect, would receive a request from the prototype code. It in turn then makes a request to the appropriate EPrints repository to get the actual JSON data. The response was then parsed by the server and it built the HTML to place inside the tooltip.
The tooltips themselves are produced using the qtip JQuery plugin. This plugin offers all the code required to make tooltips that remain on the page at all times and offers a number of visual themes that can be customized. I may modify the library in the event that there is demand for a more customized version of the tooltip.
The final feature of note in the tooltip is the image loader. This will also be used in both the mobile and inplace views that are to be implemented. The image loader looks at the documents that are associated with the EPrint and then attempts the to load the image using EPrints 3.1 style preview URLs if that fails then it will try to load images using the new EPrints 3.2 style of preview URLs. At the moment this is not as efficient as it could be, but it seems that this is the best solution at the moment as EPrints does not indicate which documents have preview images and those which are another format. Certainly if anyone is aware of an approach that would be compatible with the change from EPrints 3.1 to 3.2, and is more efficient than the current approach any feedback is appreciated!