It's been some months since we blogged about MicroView, and it's high time that we updated our community on its development status -- never fear, development continues on unabated. We've been mostly focusing on improving MicroView's core stability (hence the "beta" label on recent releases), but we've had some time to work on new tools as well. We've added a number of image filters to MicroView, including median and anisotropic smoothing; the GPU-accelerated volume renderer gained some usability improvements and volume cropping; a new DICOM-push tool has been added; the basic ROI selection tool now can rotate ROI primitives; and finally, we've integrated an experimental shell into MicroView. The shell allows you to work with images using either VTK's python wrappers or Numpy's array interface. We have a few ideas, internally, on how a shell like this can be used, but we can't wait to find out what MicroView power-user's can do with this. If you find a use for it, don't forget to drop us an email to let us know.
MicroView development continues with additional features being added with each alpha release. While developing MicroView our primary focus has always been analytic tool development, especially for microCT applications. However, we recently took some time to complete the porting of Tkinter widgets found in older versions of MicroView to the newer wx interface that we're sporting in 2.5.0. Completing this task allows us to re-examine a number of the open-source plugins in MicroView that we think need some attention, and we've started by rethinking volume rendering. Based on the high-quality GPU-accelerated rendering code base found in recent versions of VTK, this renderer is significantly faster than the original renderer found in MicroView. We believe it's also easier to use. These days, GPU-accelerated volume rendering is pretty much a requirement for any visualization package if it wants to be taken seriously, so it's nice to check this off the development list.
If you've got a fairly decent NVidia or ATI GPU, give it a try and let us know your experiences.
MicroView 2.5.0: Preview of a the new GPU-accelerated volume renderer.
MicroView 2.5.0 alpha10 is now available from our website for win32, win64 and OSX platforms. The Mac version no longer requires X, which is helpful if you run Mountain Lion 10.8. There's two new plugins to try out, as well as the return of the basic bone analysis app. Let us know what you think. See http://www.parallax-innovations.com/microview for all download links to this pre-release version.
MicroView 2.5.0 alpha8 is now available from our website for win64 platforms; additional platforms to follow (once we undo the damage that upgrading to Mountain Lion has caused us on our Mac development machine). This release has a number of major changes, including the replacement of the Tkinter-based user interface with a newer, more modern wxWidgets interface. While in the long run this will make plugin development easier, and code management simpler, the porting process is not yet complete - many users will want to stay put with the 2.2 version of MicroView for now. See http://www.parallax-innovations.com/microview for all download links to this pre-release version.
The MicroView website on sourceforge.net got an overhaul today; we're using sphinx now to produce the main website and MicroView online help. If you have a moment, let us know what you think!
Over the past few years, the future of MicroView on the Mac platform was a bit grim: the only available binary was 32-bit, PPC-only, and relied on the Carbon compatibility layer. Performance was lacklustre compared to Windows and Linux releases. With the release of OS X Lion, the original distribution of MicroView on Apple hardware reportedly doesn't run at all. Jumping forward to today, however, the story is somewhat different - we've successfully ported the majority of the open-source components of MicroView to a 64-bit Intel Mac platform running OS X Lion 10.7.3. There's plenty more to do to stabilize the platform, but the majority of the technical hurdles have been crossed. See attached: a picture is worth a 1000 words.
Well, that didn't take long! Dr. Philippe Choquet, a self-proclaimed MicroView "fanatic", wins our first blog contest for noting that in the attached image MicroView is running as a standalone 64-bit Windows application. It's a well known limitation that MicroView on win32 is limited to loading images 840 MB or smaller, so this will be good news for memory intensive power users. Dr. Choquet, as an aside, continues to find interesting applications for MicroView.
The open source branch of the MicroView project hasn't seen any development activity for a long time now, and it would be easy to write it off as one of countless other abandonwareprojects on sourceforge.
We think that's too bad, and would like to take steps to reinvigorate the site - that's why we're pretty excited about our progress recently on a mid-range development project. While there's lots more to do yet, have a look at the snapshot here to see where we stand, and why we're excited. Notice anything new? (you can ignore the red development-mode bar; dig deeper). The first commenter to get it right wins a $20 gift certificate from Amazon.