News Column

Patent Issued for Continuous Content Item View Enhanced through Smart Loading

August 12, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Information Technology Newsweekly -- From Alexandria, Virginia, VerticalNews journalists report that a patent by the inventors Beckmann, Chris (San Francisco, CA); Balakrishnan, Ramesh (San Francisco, CA); Nayak, Rajeev (San Francisco, CA); Wei, Yi (San Francisco, CA); Sood, Ayush (San Francisco, CA), filed on February 20, 2013, was published online on July 29, 2014.

The patent's assignee for patent number 8793573 is Dropbox, Inc. (San Francisco, CA).

News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Media recording capabilities, such as photography and video recording, have become common features available in a score of common, everyday devices. The ubiquity of such media recording capabilities has prompted a growing demand for media applications--to access media stored on different devices, to share media with other users. The Internet has further fueled the demand for media applications by greatly expanding the amount of media available to users and providing an ever-widening audience for conveniently sharing media.

"Consequently, numerous browser-based tools have emerged that allow users to share and access media through a web browser from any Internet-connected device. For example, image search engines allow users to search the Web for image content and browse the searched photos through a web browser. Other browser-based tools and services, such as social network sites, similarly allow users to view and share photos through a web browser.

"Browser-based tools have several limitations largely due to the memory and bandwidth constraints of user devices. Such limitations are particularly common when dealing with media files, such as photos, which typically have greater bandwidth and memory requirements than text files. For example, the number of photos that modern browsers can load and display is restricted by the amount of random-access memory (RAM) available to the browser. As the browser loads photos, the Document Object Model (DOM) of the browser continues to grow in size with each photo that is loaded, and the browser's memory begins to fill. If the browser continues to load more photos, the browser's memory will eventually fill, causing the browser to slow down or even crash.

"As a result, present day browsers are unable to load large libraries of photos in a single page without crashing or causing significant performance issues. Thus, instead of loading a large library of photos in a single page, the browser will generally divide the photos over several discrete pages. The user must then load and browse each page separately. A common scenario is a photo gallery, where the browser requires the user to navigate sets of 'previous' and 'next' photo pages to browse the entire photo gallery. However, this is a tedious, wasteful, and inconvenient process for the user, particularly as the size of the photo gallery--and consequently the number of photo pages--increases."

As a supplement to the background information on this patent, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "Features and advantages of the disclosure will be set forth in the description which follows, and in part will be obvious from the description, or can be learned by practice of the herein disclosed principles. The features and advantages of the disclosure can be realized and obtained by means of the instruments and combinations particularly pointed out hereinafter. These and other features of the disclosure will become more fully apparent from the following detailed description and accompanying drawings, or can be learned by the practice of the principles set forth herein.

"The approaches set forth herein can be used to load a large library of content items, such as photos, in a single page, without dividing the content items over a number of discrete pages, while minimizing the amount of memory used by the browser application, thereby reducing the likelihood of causing the application to crash. The user can browse all of the content items within a single page by simply scrolling down the page. The result of the disclosed approach is that the user does not have to spend time separately loading a number of different pages to browse the different content items. Moreover, the user can have a continuous view of all the content items, which can help the user search and/or compare different content items without having to jump to separate content item pages. These approaches can also be used with a timeline or event-based view of the content items, and may be used to organize all of the content items for presentation to the user. The improved organization and presentation of the content items can provide the user a richer browsing experience.

"Disclosed are systems, methods, and non-transitory computer-readable storage media for a continuous content item view in a content item browsing application enhanced with smart loading. While the content item browsing application is discussed in the examples below in terms of a web browser, the photo browsing application can alternatively be a compiled or interpreted local application. In some embodiments, the system can receive a request to display a set of content items associated with an online data storage account. The system then generates a web page based on a size of the set of content items, the web page having a respective placeholder for each of the content items in an area of the web page that is relative to a visible portion of the web page, wherein the web page provides a continuous presentation of the set of content items at the web page on a device, and wherein the web page is configured to dynamically load and unload content items at the respective placeholder based on a current position of the web page. In response to the request, the system transmits the web page to the device for display to a user.

"In other embodiments, the system can first receive a request to display a set of content items associated with an online data storage account. The system then generates a web page based on a size of the set of content items, the web page providing a continuous presentation of the set of content items at the web page on a device, wherein a visible portion of the web page includes a presentation of content items from the set of content items, and wherein the content items in the presentation of content items are mapped to an area in the web page that is associated with a current position within the web page. In response to the request, the system then transmits the web page to the device for display to a user.

"The web page can be a single, continuous web page having a respective placeholder for each of the content items in an area of the web page that is relative to the visible portion of the web page or the web browser. The single, continuous web page can provide an interface to display, without pagination, more content items than can be stored at the memory available for use by the web page. Thus, the single, continuous web page can display an entire library of content items on a browser that does not have enough memory to actually load the entire library of content items simultaneously, without causing the browser to crash.

"The presentation of content items can include a listing of the content items from the set of content items, arranged by date, name, album, size, location, event, type, format, and so forth. For example, the content items can be arranged in chronological order or reverse chronological order. Moreover, the presentation of content items can also include a first display of dates along a plane and a second display of the content items along a parallel plane. The dates can be associated with the content items in one or more ways. For example, the dates can be the dates the content items were created, the dates of events associated with the content items, the dates the content items were captured, the dates the content items were received, the dates the content items were edited, the dates the content items were added to a folder, etc. The presentation of content items can also include an event-based navigation structure. The event-based navigation structure can be based on date ranges of content items, such as days, weeks, or months. The event-based navigation structure can alternatively be based on events such as Spring Break 2012, Halloween 1999, or August Camping Trip. In one embodiment, the event-based navigation structure includes a first display of content item details along a plane and a second display of the content items along a parallel plane. The content item details can include dates associated with the content items, events associated with the content items, descriptions associated with the content items, names associated with the content items, locations associated with the content items, people associated with the content items, links associated with the content items, and so forth.

"The visible portion of the web page refers to the portion of the web page that is currently being displayed. The portions of the web page outside of the visible portion are not visible in the sense that these portions are not currently displayed. However, these portions of the web page can have loaded elements, including images, content items, and/or elements having different visibility states and attributes, including visible and hidden attributes. Thus, the portions of the web page outside the visible portion, while not displayed under the current view, can have a visible state and/or attribute.

"The visible portion of the web page can include a presentation of content items from the set of content items, where the content items in the presentation of content items have placeholders in a portion of the web page that is associated with a current position within the web page. Moreover, the visible portion of the web page can include a different view of the presentation of content items when the current position within the web page changes. For example, the visible portion of the web page can present different content items as a user navigates and/or scrolls through the web page. Further, a current view of the presentation of content items can fade out and the different view of the presentation of content items can fade in as the current position within the web page changes.

"The web page can be configured to detect a scroll event and dynamically update the visible portion of the web page based on the scroll event. For example, the web page can be configured to detect a movement of a scroll bar in a web browser window associated with the web page and dynamically update the visible portion of the web page to present the different view of the presentation of content items and/or a different view of the continuous presentation of the set of content items. The scroll bar can be operable to allow the user to scroll through the continuous presentation of the set of content items and/or web page. The different view of the presentation of content items and/or the different view of the continuous presentation of the set of content items can be associated with the position of the scroll bar resulting from the scroll event. For example, the different view can be based on one or more content items mapped to an area of the web page--or having a placeholder in an area of the web page--that corresponds to the specific scroll bar position in the web browser window.

"Moreover, the web page can be configured to detect scrolling events to dynamically load and unload content items at the respective placeholder based on a current position of the web page and/or scroll bar. Here, the web page can load content items in portions of the web page located in the same direction of the detected movement and/or scrolling event. The web page can also unload content items in portions of the web page located away from the direction of the movement and/or scrolling event. The web page can determine the timing and/or content items for dynamically loading and unloading content items based on one or more factors, including the size of the set of content items, the memory available for use by the browser, the size of individual content items, the scrolling speed, the total number of content items, the type of browser, etc. When unloading content items, the web page can hide or remove the content items from the Document Object Model (DOM) of the browser, but can also keep placeholders for the unloaded content items or can keep images cached but not loaded.

"Furthermore, the system can generate and transmit instructions for updating the web page based on changes made to the set of content items. For example, the system can add, edit, and/or delete one or more content items or folders from the set of content items and transmit instructions to the web browser for updating the web page to add or remove placeholders for any content items that were added or deleted from the set of content items."

For additional information on this patent, see: Beckmann, Chris; Balakrishnan, Ramesh; Nayak, Rajeev; Wei, Yi; Sood, Ayush. Continuous Content Item View Enhanced through Smart Loading. U.S. Patent Number 8793573, filed February 20, 2013, and published online on July 29, 2014. Patent URL: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=8793573.PN.&OS=PN/8793573RS=PN/8793573

Keywords for this news article include: Dropbox Inc., Information Technology, Information and Data Storage.

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Source: Information Technology Newsweekly


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