Problem solving panoramas on the web

OK, so you created your panorama or object movie, you read through the information on this site and you uploaded your hard work onto your website. But it doesn't work - here we'll highlight common problems and ways to track down what is wrong.

Remember the Internet is CaSe SeNsitIVe!

If you are using a Windows PC, you can create your panorama and save it as myPanorama.MOV and then create your web page and add some code such as the code below. When you view the page, it will work fine, but when you upload the MOV file and the HTML page to your website suddenly it will stop working. The reason is simple - Microsoft Windows is more-or-less case insensitive and let's you get away with the fac you called the file myPanorama.MOV but the code says mypanorama.mov. But chances are your website is not on a Windows server but a Unix server.

<script language="JavaScript" type="text/javascript">
  QT_WriteOBJECT_XHTML('mypanorama.mov', '320', '256', '',
    'autoplay', 'true',
    'emb#bgcolor', 'black',
    'align', 'middle'); 
</script>
<noscript>
	<object classid="clsid:02BF25D5-8C17-4B23-BC80-D3488ABDDC6B" 
	width="320" height="256" align="middle"
	codebase="http://www.apple.com/qtactivex/qtplugin.cab#version=6,0,2,0" >
		<param name="src" value="mypanorama.mov" />
		<param name="autoplay" value="true" />
		<embed src="sample.mov" width="320" height="256" 
		pluginspage="http://www.apple.com/quicktime/download/"
		align="middle" autoplay="true" bgcolor="black" > </embed>
	</object>
</noscript>

Java viewer debugging tips

Some Java viewers will display an error message in the space on the web page where you expect the image to appear, or in the status bar (bottom left of the web browser window). Another extremely useful place to check is the Java console.

The way you access the Java console varies depending on whether you are on a Windows PC or Mac and what web browser you are using and whether you have installed a Java Runtime Environment (JRE). On a Windows PC in Internet Explorer you should find a link to the Java Console in the Tools menu. If you are using the Sun JRE, the first time you access a web page that uses Java (in any web browser), a Java coffee cup symbol will appear in the system tray (bottom right of your desktop) - right click on it and you can select open console.

On a Mac, first of all you need to enable the Java console. Go into your Applications folder, then into the Utilities folder and find the Java folder. There should be a folder named "J2SE 5.0" (or whatever version(s) of Java you have installed). Go into this folder and then open "Java Preferences". Java Preferences will launch and display three tabs or sections: General, Security and Advanced. Go to the Advanced tab, open the Java console item and select "Show console" (you can also select "Hide console" which will start the console in the background without annoying you every time). You will need to restart the web browser before the changes take effect.

The Java console displays messages, warnings and errors about any Java application running in that virtual machine. In your case it will show messages about the Java applet in your webpages. Sometimes the errors are not very helpful, so here's some pointers:

  • FileNotFoundException - as the name suggests, there was a problem loading something - perhaps the image is missing or not in the location or filename that you specified in the HTML?
  • IOException - suggests there was a problem loading something - perhaps the image is missing or not in the location or filename that you specified in the HTML?
  • OutOfMemory - as the name suggests, the Java virtual machine has run out of memory. Try restarting the web browser to start with. If the problem recurs, check that the image you are loading is not excessively large - you cannot use the full memory of your machine, there are arbitrary limits the web browser imposes for security.

Missing files?

Yes I know it sounds really obvious, but make sure you check you uploaded all the files you need. The HTML web page itself, the panoramic image(s) in whatever format(s) you need (JPEG, QuickTime VR MOV, etc?). If you are using a Java viewer don't forget to upload the Java viewer itself, consisting of one or more JAR and/or CLASS files.

If you are uploading the various files into different folders and you are sure you are uploading all the files, try creating a temporary version of the page with all the files it needs in the same folder. Now upload this somewhere onto your website and check whether it works. If it does, you know that the problem is to do with the folders you are using - check the HTML page code specifies the correct folders.

Poor image quality

So many things could cause poor image quality, it warrants a page all by itself.