PDF previews on composition page

Forum for all users to discuss the implementation and operation of the ChoralWiki at CPDL
AlexMyltsev
Posts: 6
Joined: 04 Jul 2013 09:33

PDF previews on composition page

Postby AlexMyltsev » 10 Jan 2018 12:28

Hi,

here is the composition page we all know and love:
Image

I suppose that most users will open it to download a printable score, but the page does not make it too easy. You have to understand that you need to click the PDF icon, hunt for it amid a host of other icons (half of them zoom icons or globes) and repeat this process for every edition you want to view. Lots of noisy links around do not help (no, I don't want to see other editions uploaded on 2016-08-26, thank you very much).

We can fix all that (and more) if we show a preview of the edition right here on the page:
Image

Now it is immediately apparent where to click for the PDF. In addition, you see the staff layout, the key, font/language of the lyrics etc. so you can choose the desired score without clicking through to every edition.

In order to achieve that, we need to store a 100 KB preview image for every edition and add a simple template to every edition.

I can make a bot that will crawl CPDL, generate and upload preview images and insert such templates. What do you think?

choralia
Site Admin
Posts: 2585
Joined: 05 Mar 2006 19:57
Location: Rome, Italy
Contact:

Re: PDF previews on composition page

Postby choralia » 12 Jan 2018 17:52

AlexMyltsev wrote:I can make a bot that will crawl CPDL, generate and upload preview images and insert such templates. What do you think?

ChoralWiki makes use of the MediaWiki software, which can automatically create preview images. However, ChoralWiki also includes a fairly large number of scores hosted on external servers. Quite often, external score files are not directly linked to the work page on ChoralWiki: one has to manually browse the external website to find the actual score file. To ensure that previews are available, and that they are not obsolete with respect to the externally hosted scores, we would need direct links to all externally hosted scores, in order to get a temporary copy and make the preview "on the fly" (external websites may not allow that we keep a copy on our servers). How do you think this can be done, and maintained over time, taking into account that external websites may change their internal structure, that they can be moved to other domains, etc.?

Max

Cdalitz
Posts: 138
Joined: 24 Apr 2007 14:42

Re: PDF previews on composition page

Postby Cdalitz » 13 Jan 2018 17:34

To me, this looks much more confusing: where is the user supposed to click on to download the score?
A right click on the preview image would only save the preview image, but not the PDF.

AlexMyltsev
Posts: 6
Joined: 04 Jul 2013 09:33

Re: PDF previews on composition page

Postby AlexMyltsev » 16 Jan 2018 11:35

choralia wrote:Quite often, external score files are not directly linked to the work page on ChoralWiki: one has to manually browse the external website to find the actual score file. To ensure that previews are available, and that they are not obsolete with respect to the externally hosted scores, we would need direct links to all externally hosted scores[...]. How do you think this can be done, and maintained over time, taking into account that external websites may change their internal structure, that they can be moved to other domains, etc.?

I think it probably can't be done, but it should not stop us from providing the best possible experience for thousands of scores hosted on CPDL or directly linked.

choralia wrote:external websites may not allow that we keep a copy on our servers

They can't really "forbid" previewing in the legal sense. Storing and showing a low-resolution preview for the first half-page of a score will be "fair use" under any applicable copyright legislation. But sure, for the sites that want to make things hard for the users and say so, we can generate no previews – good riddance if you ask me.

AlexMyltsev
Posts: 6
Joined: 04 Jul 2013 09:33

Re: PDF previews on composition page

Postby AlexMyltsev » 16 Jan 2018 12:27

Cdalitz wrote:To me, this looks much more confusing: where is the user supposed to click on to download the score?

Right on the preview. Here's a test page for you to try:
http://www.cpdl.org/wiki/index.php/User ... v/previews

The preview area is much larger than the tiny PDF icon, so, per Fitts's law, it is that much easier to target and click. And there is less clicking required too, since you can often choose the score just by scrolling through the page and comparing the previews (and scrolling is cheaper than clicking).

Even if you do not buy my reasoning, nothing is taken away from you: the tiny PDF icon is still there, you can hunt for it if you like.


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