Objects Visualizer: The Killer New Feature in Objects Browser

  • 30 January 2024
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You may be aware of Objects Browser, the powerful yet easy to use browser-based s3 client that comes built into every Nutanix Objects deployment (if you have no idea what I’m talking about you can get a quick overview of it here). Well, this already extremely useful and popular feature of Objects has just become even more useful with the latest release of Objects (v4.3), which adds a special new capability known as Objects Visualizer. This feature lets you view and, in some cases, directly edit the contents of a stored object without explicitly having to download it to disk. This paves the way for more efficient workflows that can save you time and might make some of the software tooling on your desktop redundant. Pretty cool huh? Let's take a closer look... 


Think about the many types of files organisations store in their S3-accessible buckets: videos, images, audio files, PDFs, configuration files, automation scripts… a wide variety of unstructured and semi-structured data. At Nutanix we understand this, which is why Objects Visualizer has been built to cater for these many types of data.


Ok, so what does it actually do? 

Let’s start with video content. Say you have a very large video file (an .mp4 for example) stored in a bucket on your Nutanix object store and, naturally enough, you want to watch it. No problem, Objects Visualizer lets you play, pause and seek through the video right there in the Objects Browser window – and because the content is being streamed based on partial rendering, seeking to a different point in the video does not result in lengthy pauses. Want it in full screen? No problem. Need to slow down playback of that instructional video? Again, no problem; multiple play speeds are supported. Want the video to play in the corner of your browser while you surf the web? The inbuilt Picture-in-Picture (PiP) support has you covered there as well. Other from PiP, all this functionality also applies to audio files and, because this type of content is rendered in parts, uploaded video and audio files can be as large as you wish. Note that no 3rd party codecs are used; Objects Visualizer simply leverages the codecs included in the web browser.


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Picture-in-Picture support for video content


That’s all great, but what kind of in-place file editing possibilities are there, I hear you ask? Well there’s no video editing (don’t give up your Kamtasia subscriptions just yet) but pretty much any text-based file can be edited; Objects Visualizer supports 70 different types of text file. Among these are structured file types commonly used to store configuration information such as json, xml and csv, and files containing code in various programming/scripting languages such as python, go and c to name a few. If you view the contents of any of these particular file types within Objects Browser you’ll find that Objects Visualizer is aware of the syntax used by the most common file formats and programming/scripting languages. It uses this awareness to highlight syntax within the file, making the content much easier to read and work with.


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Syntax highlighting – many languages and file formats are supported


If you go ahead and hit the edit button, you can update the contents right there on the fly. Conveniently, Objects Visualizer has auto-complete capabilities whereby it will offer to complete words you are typing which can help speed you up.  


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Objects Visualizer’s word autocompletion


Another nice feature is the inbuilt search (and replace) function – super handy for finding specific text in a large document or making bulk changes in one fell swoop. This capability is something most of us take for granted these days, but you certainly miss it when it’s not there.


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Objects Visualizer’s search and replace function


When it comes to images, a number of different file types (png, jpg, svg and others) of up to 50MB in size can be viewed using Objects Visualizer. Of course, when you are working with high resolution, detail-laden images manipulation capabilities like zoom in/out and pinch and drag come come in very handy. And yes, you guessed it, these very features are supported in Objects Browser. 


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Viewing entire 4k image in a small browser instance


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Viewing zoomed section of a 4k image in a small browser instance


While 50MB is a generous file size limit (thanks Object Visualizer!) PDF files can be even larger at 100MB. Handily, Objects Visualizer supports the key features of PDFs including paginated and direct navigation, scale and zoom, hyperlink interaction and password protection. What’s more, even if your web browser is an older one with no inbuilt PDF viewer that’s not a problem - Objects Visualizer simply uses its own native PDF viewer when the client browser has none. The browsers supported for PDF rendering are Chrome 92+, Edge 92+, Safari 15.4+ and Firefox 90+.


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Navigating a stored PDF in Objects Browser


Objects Visualizer works in all the common web browsers out there today and it’s there to help you get things done quicker. It eliminates the need to go through the motions of explicitly downloading files to local disk, opening and working with them in a local app and then uploading the updated version. If you upgrade to Objects 4.3 you’ll be able to start taking advantage of Objects Visualizer straight away, or if you don’t have Nutanix Objects you can always ask your friendly local Nutanix representative for a demo.

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