Tapspace.js – A lib for Zoomable Web Apps

A zoomable web application has a zoomable user interface, a ZUI. For a familiar example, the user interface of Google Maps is a ZUI. A user can zoom in and out and move around which gives the impression that the whole site is just one large surface.

Building a zoomable web app is far from easy. A large surface cannot be loaded fully at once because the download would take a lot of time. Still, paradoxically, all the content must be visible when zoomed out. Zoom out and you see everything, like the world map. The trick is that the small details become hidden. To complicate implementation of a ZUI, the users do not browse by scrolling down and clicking links like they normally browse web, but instead they dive into the page.

Regardless the implementational complexity, ZUIs can do cool things:
– Factual or fictional map applications and games
– Information visualizations of small and big data
– Lightweight tera- or gigapixel size image viewers
– Graph-based user interfaces, apps that look like networks
– Fractal user interfaces, apps where the networks loop in infinite manner

Thus, I feel there is much unleashed potential in ZUIs. Therefore I created Tapspace.js to be a JavaScript library that helps web developers to build ZUIs in their projects. The work begun in 2013 and for long the project carried the name Taaspace. As soon as Taaspace reached version 5, it was time to give the project a better programming interface and a new, hopefully more representative name.

See app examples and more at taataa.github.io/tapspace/

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