January 23, 2015 | General

DocuVieware: what is a HTML5 viewer?

what is a HTML5 viewer

Hi folks,

In our previous article we’ve described the basics on DocuVieware’s structure, DocuVieware being, of course, our universal HTML5 and document-management kit.
So today we are going to explain what a HTML5 Viewer is all about.

Everybody knows already that, in order to visualize images and document files, some specialized software are required to make them “viewable”. To ‘render‘ them, as nerds say.
“Image files” are files containing graphics data such as the photos you take or the graphics-art you draw and examples of file formats include JPG, PNG, TIFF, GIF, WebP and many others including the plethora of RAW camera formats.
“Document files” are the electronic, “computerish” version of physical documents, a document being a record, a form of storing information so it will not be lost.
Like for example scanned paper saved in an image format or, even better, a dedicated format storing both text-type and graphic-type information, such as the PDF.

Then, from a technical point of view, graphics information can be stored as raster or as vector, if you remember our older article detailing this aspect.
And metafiles can store them all, raster and vector for graphics but text too, and best examples of metafiles are PDF and SVG formats.

Basically, to view files belonging to one of the categories above you need to install and run a specialized piece of software generically called “viewer“.
That is, to exemplify a rather general rule, an image-viewer will render images but not PDF while PDF-viewers will show you just PDF but not images as-is (ie, unless they are embedded in a PDF file of course).
Not an absolute rule, obviously, but in terms of statistics viewers able to render both image formats and say, PDF format are still a minority (to which all our products belong) in the realm of all viewers.
Each of the viewers is, of course, bound to a certain Operating System, either desktop (like Windows or Mac OSX or Linux) or mobile (like iOS or Android).

But then there are the browsers. They can render image and document formats too, but some (like the PDF) require specialized plugins, that is additional pieces of software allowing the browser to perform that particular rendering task. Plugins usually need to be separately installed or they can be already embedded in the browser but either way they inherently add security issues.

OK, so why did we make all this recap?
Well, simply because DocuVieware is a HTML5 viewer that renders images and documents in raster, vector and metafile formats (more than 90 formats are being supported) without needing anything else at all except a plain browser.
Which means it can be used regardless of the computing device (desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphone) and of its Operating System because browsers run on top of them.
That’s it: no plugins (like Flash or Silverlight) or runtime environments (like Java), no pre-requisite component downloads, not bound to a specific Operating System, no worries about document’s format.
But DocuVieware isn’t just about rendering images and documents for you to look at, as if they were paintings hanging on the walls of a museum.
It allows you to interact with them and perform processings like cleaning-up images of certain artefacts and adding any imaginable kind of annotations. You can also select text for copy/paste, perform searches within the text, handle multipage files, print or save your work as PDF or TIFF.
And yes, all these with just a plain browser, the browsers you already have on your computer and your mobile device.
It’s as simple as that.
To get a better idea on what we’re talking about, take a look at the DocuVieware Annotations Live Demo.
It’ll be just you, your browser and DocuVieware.
And if you don’t want to play with our test file, open your own file either from your computer / tablet / phone or from the internet adress (URL) where the file is located.
You will find more live demos on our Docuvieware demo page.

Two short notes before ending this article.

First, you might wonder why we’ve always mentioned HTML5 and not just HTML.
Well, that’s because HTML5 was a bit of a breakthrough in the evolution of HTML language for many reasons.
One reason is HTML5 provides the means of not depending on third-party components (ie, plugins) anymore. In other words, it creates conditions for you to watch videos without needing Flash and view PDFs without needing a PDF plugin.
Another reason is that what works on desktop browsers does work pretty much the same on phones or tablets browsers.

The second note is just a reminder: DocuVieware is a SDK.
That means it is a solution for developers to create rich document-handling and/or document-management web-applications accesible from anywhere.

In case you, dear reader, are a potential user having nothing to do with software development and therefore feeling a bit disappointed now, all we can tell you is: don’t!
Just have a little patience and hang on with us for about six more months.

Thank you and bye for now!