Prism, the image browser

16 Dec 2011

Today, Steam Clock Software launches Prism. A year ago, we wondered, “Why isn’t there an Instapaper for images?” Photo galleries like The Big Picture and Reddit’s “Earth Porn” are kind of a pain to browse on the iPad, and nobody who had tackled the problem of image browsing gave you a distraction-free, full-screen experience where the images load faster than you flip through them.

The first 10% of our work on Prism was getting full-screen images loading from a few sites. The other 90% was crazy amounts of polish: captions, multi-threaded loading, Recommended Galleries, generating nice thumbnails, storing images for offline use, not storing too many images for offline use, and so on. We had to make a judgement call between being the best at we do (pulling images out of HTML) or instead focusing on supporting every site in the world. Looking at Prism 1.0, I think we made the right call.

Looking forward, there are a lot of sites we’d like to add support for - Twitter, Facebook, Google Reader, and Flickr are some big ones, but the sites users request will get support first. If you’re interested, please give Prism a try and let me know what you think.

Onward!