Vesica Blog - Taking museum and art collections to the cloud

July 13, 2011

Vesica API (beta) Available Today

Filed under: News,Technology — Tags: , , , — vesica-press-releases @ 2:11 pm

A beta version of the Vesica API is available today.

As one of the most requested features, the Vesica API allows you to add, view and manage your objects and collections by sending various parameters via the “POST” method. In return, the API sends XML based on the received parameters. The Vesica API can be used to export data from your Vesica account or to display information on your website or other in other applications.

The API is being developed actively and will be updated from time to time, as we add additional functionality to it.

To get started, see the API documention for developers on https://vesica.ws/developers/.

July 5, 2011

Vesica is now available on AppDirect

Filed under: News,Technology — Tags: , , , , — vesica-press-releases @ 5:28 pm

July 1, 2011 – Vesica is now available via the AppDirect marketplace.

AppDirect is a free web-based application which allows you to use and manage web-based applications from anywhere in one simple and secure site. It’s also a marketplace that provides the latest web-based applications. It really is based on the concept of simplifying the use of software on the internet, so we’re glad to be a part of it.

“The integration with AppDirect is another step towards increasing the global awareness of Vesica,” says Asif Nawaz, Founder and Chief Software Architect at Vesica. “With AppDirect’s single sign-on functionality, museums and other art, heritage and cultural organisations can now fully benefit from the use and pricing structure of SaaS applications without the hassle of  managing cross application usernames, passwords and security controls.”

Vesica is the first art collection related application on AppDirect.

Already use AppDirect? Sign-up for Vesica on https://www.appdirect.com/apps/552.

For further information, please contact the Vesica office on +44 (0) 20 8133 8050 or .

June 5, 2011

In the game of browsers, Chrome Wins @ Vesica

Over the last few days we’ve released several updates to the platform, with the result that we’ve been testing vigorously across all the latest browsers. Whilst Vesica works in Firefox 3.5 and 4, Opera 10+, IE 8 and 9, Safari 5 and Chrome 11 along with most tablet PC browsers, Chrome reigns supreme (at least on Microsoft Windows).

I’m not going to go into details of performance, because the difference is really quite obvious without having to measure seconds and milliseconds. Here’s a brief run down of why Chrome really is superior browser:

  • Pages just load faster. Doesn’t matter whether they are heavy on JavaScript or HTML 5. In Chrome they load faster than in any other browser.
  • No JavaScript Lag. I really had high hopes for IE 9 and Firefox 4 here, and whilst they perform vastly better than their predecessors, they simply do not do as well as Chrome does. For instance, the Vesica piece editing interface uses multiple JavaScript / JQuery tabs and accordions with multiple dialogs – compared to Chrome, all the browsers  will have some lag. Even if it is not very noticeable in FF 4 and Safari unless you specifically compare with Chrome, it is there.
  • Smoother Animation. Again, this may have a thing or 2 to do with JavaScript loading better, but all JQuery and HTML5 animation is far better and smoother on screen with Chrome than it is with any other browser.

Whilst I had high hopes for IE9 and Firefox4, I was a little disappointed. Although IE9 really does have great standards compliance and some FF plugins are virtually unparalleled, Chrome just delivers a far more superior experience for an application like Vesica.

May 20, 2011

Museums and virtual exhibitions – help is on the way

Ever since we started to work on Vesica, our team has always been interested in the workings of virtual exhibitions. I’ve also recently been keeping up with some very interesting articles. In particular, Michael Douma’s articles on the IDEA blog with regards to virtual exhibitions, their potential and how they are affecting the potential breed of online museums visitors have made an interesting read.

Whilst I am of the view that some things can only been seen and appreciated in person, that’s certainly not the case for everyone. I also believe that the correct implementation and application of virtual exhibitions holds great potential for museums, not just in terms of attracting new a genre of visitor or international visitors, but more so in terms of monetizing permanent collections, indefinitely.

As someone who thinks technology is meant to serve us (and not the other way around), I believe that with the right tools and integration, building and managing virtual exhibitions can and should be easy for museums. But that’s not the case, because managing a virtual exhibition can be quite demanding in terms of time, investment and manpower. Once it gets going it may not be too difficult to manage, but curating a virtual exhibition also takes some web expertise and can be quite laborious.

At Vesica, we have a vision. We want virtual exhibitions to be a piece of cake to build, cost effective (with little or no financial investment in addition to what it may take to curate an actual exhibition) and less time consuming. Better, we actually have a plan in place to see that vision come true and our team is in the initial phases to get our virtual exhibitions module (that’s what I’ll call it for now) off the ground and into cyberspace.

So how will this work? In a nutshell, we believe that virtual exhibitions can and should be an extension to a museum’s collection management software. This should be (and with Vesica it is) a repository of everything to do with your collection, including your audio guides, videos, images and other public domain information required for an online exhibit. We will allow the use of this information, perhaps via click and drag functionality, allowing museums to create a virtual exhibition with just a few clicks (and typing in some configuration parameters, of course). It’s going to be easy, should take just a few minutes to configure and will be hosted on a museum branded website. Museums will have the option to charge a fee for these exhibitions to all who want to see it. Furthermore, if museums use the virtual exhibitions function in Vesica, we’ll promote the exhibition to our userbase, depending on the relevance of a particular exhibition. And here is the best part – at this point we don’t anticipate any additional costs on top of the ongoing Vesica price to use the virtual exhibitions module – which is about £0.05 per object.

It really is going to be easy to use – just like the rest of Vesica. If you have suggestions about how you would like to see virtual exhibitions work, please do not hesitate to share.

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