New Web Program: Brain Development Maps

Creating braindevelopmentmaps.org was a great opportunity to work on a very interesting site; Shirley came to Livewire with very specific needs. There is nothing ‘typical’ or ‘standard’ about this website, it is in a word, unique.

Braindevelopmentmaps.org allows users to view highly detailed brain mapped images online. These images, when standing alone are several hundred megabytes each. They have extremely high resolutions to enable and support high magnification levels. This is not something that is very web conducive. Large images take a long time to download. Fortunately, Shirley had this part figured out and was using a nifty program called Zoomify to provide a web interface for viewing these high resolution images. This program essentially cuts the large image up into small pieces and displays them in such a way that you only need a few ’tiles’ at any given time, so the entire image doesn’t need to be rendered by your browser. Embedded zoom capabilities make this program perfect for what the website is trying to accomplish.

In order to upload (since files groups are still large in size) a regular custom file upload program would not work. But a simple FTP solution was all that was needed.

The best, and most highly customized, feature of this program is our page building system. Using wordpress as a content management backend, we added a new program that connects the pages built in wordpress to specific file locations within the server.  So when users view brain map sets, the pages are built dynamically preventing the owner of the website from having to deal with the cumbersome task of having to code the pages by hand. The automated system provides Shirley an easy and straightforward way to create complicated pages that have dozens of individual parts and files.

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