I just got the photos from our photographer of the wedding and would like to get some books printed of them. So I have been doing the usual internet research reading up on all the services out there. There are about 60 of them in the US. There seemed to be 3 that stood out from the crowd for the best quality for a reasonable price. They all have very good comments on the forums and blogs.
I decided to go with Blurb as they have good reports and seem very reasonable. So off I went and downloaded their application for creating a book. After a few minutes using it I thought “Hey this is a nice app I wonder what it is written in” so looking at the about screen and seeing names like Log4j and iText it was obvious it was Java. It was very fast even with the 14Mpix Canon 5D images from the photographers only taking a ~5sec to load and display them. Overall it has a very nice feel to it. There are a few little annoying things and a couple of minor bugs that I came across but I would give it a 9.5/10 and I am sure by the time its out of beta a 10/10. Any of you who know me know I am very fussy about applications and am not easily impressed, but I would be proud to produce an application like that. It gave me that nice feeling that Java Desktop Apps are cool and I am glad that I am now getting a chance to help make Swing better and make it easier for people to create more cool apps like this one. Three cheers to the Blurb team and keep up the good work.
So go download a copy and have a play:
Looks like its a custom L&F I have not seen it around before. Has any one else? Something like a cross between Picasa and Flash components.
The seem to be doing well with the image performance I am curious if they are doing any cleaver tricks. Looks like they are just using the JAI-ImageIO to handle more image formats than the core JDK can handle like TIFF and JPG2000. The impressive thing is it seems much faster than Apple Aperture to load and work with the huge 14Mpix images I have of the wedding. I have a been working on my image scaling algorithms I wrote for Imagery recently for another project. I will do a blog on them soon and opensource them. They are not faster general purpose solution but can make huge performance boosts in special cases like scaling large images down to thumbnails. They can generate thumbnails of several large digital camera images a second so great for thumbnail browsers.