updates improve sharing and photo viewing

Published by at

The Inside SkyDrive blog today shared the details on a number of updates that are rolling today for, the website component of Microsoft's cloud storage service. There's better support for high DPI displays (photos show at a higher resolution), the ability to view animated GIFs (not just the first frame), support for the easier rotation of images, and the addition of folder filters to the all photos view.

However, the most notable updates are around improved sharing functionality (share groups of files and a new Shared view) and the addition of a text editor that supports multiple formats (JavaScript, CSS, HTML, and many code files) and has features such as syntax highlighting and word completion suggestions.

The SkyDrive service is an integral part of Windows Phone, providing off board storage for the platform, as well as an way to easily back up images, and move Office documents between computing devices (PCs, laptops, tablets, and mobile phones). 

The continued pattern of update to, and other component of the SkyDrive service, is a reflection of the increasingly important role the SkyDrive is playing in both Microsoft's mobile and desktop/tablet platforms.

Improved photo viewing and management

The support for high DPI displays is automatic, with the browser automatically up-scaling images where appropriate:

So now, supports these high DPI displays by measuring the DPI scale of your device. When your screen supports it, we show higher resolution photos and thumbnails. So you see more of your real photo instead of a thumbnail that gets up-scaled (note: not all browsers support high DPI yet). now supports animated GIFs, which makes us wonder whether Nokia's Cinemagraph will get an export to SkyDrive option:

If you’ve ever seen an animated GIF (pronounced “jif”) on the Interwebs (and probably laughed), you were probably disappointed to find out that when you saved and shared that same animated GIF on SkyDrive, it wasn’t animated. Well now you can view your favorite animated GIFs in all their glory!

When viewing a photo there's now an easy to access option to rotate the photo, useful if the phone has put the wrong orientation information in the EXIF tags:

What seems like a small and simple thing—photo rotation—is often done automatically by your device, which sometimes doesn’t get it quite right. So now, you can rotate photos on as well.

SkyDrive recently introduced an All Photos view as a way of making it easier to view photos stored on your SkyDrive account. now gets an option to filter the photos in this view by the folder that they are stored in:

Now you can filter the photos in this view to a specific folder in your SkyDrive via the filter control.

Improved sharing support

In addition to the existing ability to share contents by file or folder now has the ability to share a group of files. These files can come from multiple different folders or from a single folder. For Windows Phone users this has the potential to be particularly useful as it makes it easier to share just a few photos from your camera roll (i.e. those automatically uploaded to SkyDrive by your phone), rather than every photo in your camera roll.

If you share a lot of content items from SkyDrive it can be tricky to keep track of what you have shared and who you have shared it with. This has led Microsoft to create the new Shared view:

The new Shared view shows you all the stuff you’ve shared, and what’s been shared with you. Your own stuff is at the top of the list, sorted by what you’ve most recently shared. This is followed by a list of people who’ve shared something with you, sorted by who shared things most recently.

A previous update to added the ability to allow those you shared Office documents to edit them without signing into a Microsoft account. This feature is now also available when you share Office content via email.

Text editor

SkyDrive now also has much improved support for text files, with both viewing and editing supported for multiple formats. Included are some very useful tools including syntax highlighting and the ability to "diff" changes:

SkyDrive now has native support for viewing and editing many different kinds of text files. This includes JavaScript, CSS, HTML, and many code files. It includes support for syntax highlighting, find, and word completion suggestions. You can also share these files with your friends, and they can edit them. And you can “diff” changes, so you can see conflicts between edits. This is a convenient feature for developers; however, for a complete end-to-end development solution, you can still get that with Microsoft Visual Studio and Team Foundation Server.