Future of Web Preview – CoolIris or Snap?

Web Previews are gaining popularity over the days. WordPress announced the incorporation of Snap preview anywhere in 10% of the free blogs for testing and I had written about the agony caused to the bloggers due to it. Of course I did turn it off but I had also mentioned about my idea about how a preview should be.


A week later I discovered a web preview plugin for Firefox called CoolIris. This was the exact thing I had mentioned and wanted. But it was a client side preview, not like the server side preview given by Snap. If you are pondering over what do I mean by server side and client side preview and what is the difference between Snap and CoolIris there is rather detailed article on readwriteweb. I’ll just cash in on the snippets from there.

What is a web preview?

The basic idea behind previews is simple: they save you a click. Instead of clicking on a link to see the content, you can get a preview of the page using a gesture – typically a mouseover. Assuming you can decide if the page is interesting or not based on the preview, you can save a click and more importantly the page load.

What is CoolIris?

Cooliris, one of the Firefox recommended extensions, offers great quality previews. It works by popping up a little blue square when a user moves their mouse over a link. If the user clicks on the square, a preview of the link comes up.

What is Snap?

Unlike Cooliris, Snap’s technology is powered by JavaScript that sits inside the page. To ctivate it, bloggers and webmasters need to paste a small chunk of code into their pages. lso unlike Cooliris, Snap shows a smaller preview when the user moves the mouse over any link.

The point worth mentioning over here is that, Snap doesn’t depend on the browser you are using where CoolIris is a plugin only meant for Firefox. Snap works only on selective links where the script is invoked which is dependent on the web master while CoolIris works on any link in the page and it is upto the user to preview the page or not. Such choice is not provided in Snap which forces a preview on a mouse hover. This aspect of snap has been disliked by many bloggers. You can read the incident of ShandyKing removing the Snap Preview from his blog even on making an entry in the top 100 list of snap users. That was sad. CoolIris even has options which help you decide whether you want to see a preview either on click, hover, etc. I personally prefer something like this i.e the options left open to me to choose my preferences.

The future of web preview lies in something like CoolIris and it should be challenge to the Snap founders to render something like CoolIris does although it might be tough since a domain cannot make a cross domain request. But using Iframes like CoolIris, I guess, it might be possible. Until then, what would you prefer, CoolIris or Snap?

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