Friday, March 05, 2010

EPiServer and Image Vault

I have spent the last month working as a developer on an EPiServer project and I have mixed feelings about the product. EPiServer certainly has a lot of good stuff to offer and is fairly easy to get working. It feels a little rough around the edges though and coming form a SharePoint or ASP MVC environment it can feel a bit "open sourcey". I was not impressed by the lack of page type inheritance and by not having strongly typed properties but there is the Page Type Builder project that seems to address a lot of this nicely.

We also used an image management solution on this project that EPiServer recommends, and this was not much fun to work with. The product in question is called ImageVault and it is not even close to production quality software. We have had so many problems with this that it would have been easier to just build something like it form scratch. As an example, here is what I fixed today:

ImageVault has a UrlBuilder class that helps get the url of the image from storage. This helper allows us to specify an aspect ratio amongst other things and that is done by setting a decimal property. So I would for instance set the aspect ratio to 1.5. The url would then come back with something like : ...&aspect=1.5&.... in the query string. Now the fun comes when the site is running in a language such as Dutch where the decimal separator is a comma. In that case, the url that comes back is ...&aspect=1%2c5&... Basically the developers never tested this in such an environment and inside their UrlBuilder class they simply do a ToString without setting an invariant culture. The result is then that the URL that points to THEIR web service doesn't produce an image since the aspect ratio is incorrect.

This is not a difficult bug to fix, but a product that is supposed to be at version 3.3 should NOT have bugs like this.

I hope the ImageVault guys get their product polished up since it has potential and they have a good opportunity to be the solution of choice for image management within EPiServer. They will need to do this quickly though because they can truly lose a lot of business with the way their product works right now.

1 comment:

Johan said...

Hello Joe.
My name is Johan Magnusson and I work as product manager of Meridium. As a respond to your blog post:

The functionality to automatically crop images to specific aspect ratio was not added as a function of ImageVault until version 3.3.2.
Unfortunately we failed to find the bug mentioned as we overlooked to test this feature on all culture settings, which we obviously should have done.

We were notified of this bug the same day as this blog post was published. We will handle this according to our usual routines for change management.
This bug, with id #13635, is scheduled to be fixed in the sprint after the current one. As always we are grateful for any feedback on our product as this is what we need to constantly improve and add more value.

We always strive to deliver high quality solutions to our customers but sometimes bugs like this one slips through.

I’m looking forward to more detailed and constructive suggestions on how to improve our product.

/Johan Magnusson, Product Manager, Meridium

Direct Line: +46(0)480 426064