FAIRprogress

FAIRprogressFAIR, the Facility for Anti-Proton and Ion Research, is the accelerator complex where PANDA will be located. And it’s a part of our setup which you can actually look at being currently constructed. One of the things where you see that something really is happening.

They setup a webcam which takes a picture of the site every 15 minutes.

I thought it would be a neat idea to make a gif out of those 15 minute pictures.

So during the last three weeks I put some stuff together. Cronjobs, running wget for downloading the pictures and invoking ImageMagicks convert for generating gifs from the jpgs. Gifs are generated once per day (at 3:00 for the previous day).
A website displays this previous-day gif. The gif itself is quite big (1.5 MB) but if you want you can get a bigger, better-looking version — which is about 20 MB. I used a lot of jQuery to achieve the interactive elements, used cookies to save information about displaying the big picture, and used PHP to generate dates, proper filenames, filesizes, and directly deliver the big website if the cookie is set accordingly. jQuery, PHP and the cookie stuff all were a first time thing to do for me. But it was fun.
I kept the website as simple as possible with additional information only available by further clicks. There’s also a backlog of the used images and generated gifs available, which is listed by a PHP dir listing script I modified.

Have a look:
FAIRprogress

This is all quite data intensive, but I hope it’ll be alright because of two things: I don’t reckon with a high load of day to day users. And we have an unlimited traffic plan at our server.

For the future I have some additional ideas for the project, such as generating a gif made up of 12:00 pictures at the end of each month.
Also, I’m quite sure that there are better gif-creating convert parameters out there to be found…

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