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shurcool

Making an instant Clipboard-ImageShack uploader: Feedback Wanted

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Hi, Not sure if this is the right forum, but... For a long time I've wanted to create this little handy app, but never got around to it 'til now. I've recently made a few separate prototypes (in C#) and it seems like there will be no obstacles implementation-wise. So what I'm looking for is a little feedback on my idea, mostly UI-wise. A little background on the app: It has always bothered me that when chatting in MSN/etc., it's more or less easy to cut and paste some text to show it to the other person. But no so if you want to show him a picture from your desktop. In order to share a picture of your desktop (or a part of it), you need to do the following steps: Press Print-Screen (or Alt+PrntScrn). Press Start->Programs->Accessories->Paint. Press Ctrl-V. Optionally crop/edit. Press File, Save As... Navigate to My Documents, My Pictures. Enter a unique name. Select save as type JPG. Press Save. Open a browser. Type http://imageshack.us/ and press enter. Wait for it to load. Press browse... navigate to and find your picture. Press Ok. Press upload. Wait for upload. Copy the direct link to uploaded image. Finally, paste it in the MSN convo window. My initial idea was very simplistic: have a little 'daemon' app that takes virtually zero resources always running in background. It checks for a certain combination of keys being pressed, and uploads the image from your clipboard to Imageshack, and replaces the contents of your clipboard with the address of the uploaded image when it's done. You just wait and paste it. Then, I started thinking big. How about support for various other upload types? Upload files from clipboard to some file hosting website in background. Upload text to no-paste. Then I realized it's not worth the effort as all I really need is a simple way to upload images from clipboard to imageshack. The rest I can add later if it becomes a wanted feature. I'm not even sure if anyone else would need this app, as I'm sure ImageShack has some browser-toolbar that lets you do something similar anyway. Ok, now to my main questions: 1. Is this something that would be useful for other people, or should I just worry about suiting my own needs? 2. If others are interested, what's a good approach to the UI of this app. Should there be an tray icon in the System Tray? How to trigger the upload to take place? 3. People might think this is a trojan/virus app, as it might listen for key presses (in order to trigger the upload when a certain Key combination is pressed) and the uploads something on the internet, hehe. What can I do about this? Upload Trigger Method Idea: Right now, I'm thinking I can have it perform the upload when you hold down Ctrl while pressing PrintScreen. So, if you press Ctrl+PrntScrn, it would upload the entire desktop snapshot. If you press Ctrl+Alt+PrntScrn, it would upload the active window snapshot. Comments? Thanks and I do apologize for a long post. [Edited by - shurcool on June 26, 2008 2:54:11 PM]

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I like the idea alot, and I'd use it if such a thing is made. I'm continually uploading screenshots of maps I'm making for a game, every few days, and posting them on that game's forum for users to see before the maps are released, and I usually upload 3-4 shots at one time. (Uploaded 8 the day before yesterday)

I think, if you have it integrated into the system tray, you could just click on the icon to upload, or right-click and select 'upload'. If it was right next to the clock or volume control, I'd use it all the time.

I've gotten pretty quick at Image Shack uploads, but it's still a hassle waiting for ImageShack to load the image, and also having to browse for the image.

It'd also be helpful if it kept the last 3 uploads.

(Knocked together this image to illustrate what I mean:)
Not a real screenshot

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Cool, thanks for the added motivation.

What you drew up looks pretty like much my prototype app. I think it's mandatory to have a visible GUI (i.e. an icon in the System Tray) for other users. The reason I wanted to go on without it is because I wouldn't need it, and it'd be taking up space.

Your post led me to a much better idea however: that is application customization.

I can have it be accessible via a tray icon by default. When you right click it, you would see actions like "Upload From Clipboard", "Settings", "Exit".

By selecting settings, you would be able to:
-enable/disable the Tray Icon visibility
-set up a custom trigger Key Combination for uploading from clipboard
-enable/disable start-up with Windows
-customize any other aspect of the utility that I can freely add later

That way, I don't have to worry so much about tailoring the app specifically to my needs (i.e. no tray icon, key-comb for upload) vs. other users (some might want a tray icon with GUI, i.e. menu items for actions). And users will be able to customize it the way they like it. [smile]

I'll probably start putting it together now and update this post as I make progress... But feel free to keep the comments coming! :D

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Ok, well, I've quickly put together something that can get the job done.

It's a very tough first test beta build, and it doesn't have any features except the core functionality of uploading an image from Clipboard to ImageShack.us. I didn't have time to make it thread-safe properly, so for now it can only do one background upload at a time.

It's quite ok, though, as each upload is pretty quick (1-5 seconds).

Here are some screenshots (uploaded by the application itself, of course):
afilestreamiz0.jpg

afilestreamho6.jpg

Hmm, I wonder where I can upload it? :/

Edit: Download the latest version from http://www.cse.yorku.ca/~shuryork/

Feel free to try it out and let me know if you run into any problems. I'm not sure what I need to include to distribute C# projects, but hopefully just the Exe will do (or do I need to include the .exe.manifest and .application files too?)

Thanks. Edited by shurcool

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Heh, this tool is awesome. It works fine as just the .exe on my computer, and it is incredibly fast.(At least, compared to doing it manually)

My only question is if this screen supposed to be blank?
Uploaded with Instant Background Uploader

[Edited by - Servant of the Lord on June 29, 2008 4:59:41 PM]

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Thanks for trying it out.

Yeah, that window is blank for now because I didn't have time to finish it. It will probably contain some sort of history of uploaded images' URLs and some associated actions. There will also be a Settings screen with all the avaliable
options to set.

Right now it uses .NET 3.5 as that's the default in VC# 2008 EE, but I'll try to lower that requirement for next release so more people can run it.

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