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ZIP archives as image collection

Posted: Mon Dec 10, 2018 12:57 pm
by krzysiu
As a photographer I'm looking for some way to have single file, yet a few photos inside, e.g. focus stack or original raws and processed photos. I don't want to be bound by particular format of file and I can't recode them.

I've got an idea how ideal way would look. ZIP (or any other) archives which would be seen as single, multipaged image. That way one could put a different size/format photos in one file and then just browse it.

It also would allow to browse archives without [manually] unpacking it. There are free, multi-os libraries for archive support like libzip. In the era of SSD or fast HDD it wouldn't affect speed. CPU speed isn't a big concern as well, because images should be compressed with very low compression level, so unpacking is rather light.

Re: ZIP archives as image collection

Posted: Wed Dec 12, 2018 10:53 am
by podenco
This has been possible in ACDSee for a very long time. It works by treating a zip or rar file as if it were a folder, in a completely seamless way that is transparent to the user (I know it worked for me on an old 5400 rpm HDD). I had to start using XnView some years ago because my old version of ACDSee didn't get along with Windows 10 and the new ones were too bloated and focused on editing for my use case, and this absent feature still bugs me on a daily basis. I've seen it suggested in the past, but at this point I've lost hope it'll ever be implemented.

I see two big reasons for being able to browse archived files:

1) OSs are better at dealing with a single big file than a thousand small ones. It takes more time to move, copy, delete, index or browse folders with many files than it does a single file, making your computer less responsive. As a matter of fact there are folders in my computer that I dread to open in XnView because it takes up to 10 seconds to do so (I even get the "Not Responding" message in the title bar).

2) Back when I could just browse compressed files, I didn't need additional software to read comics on my computer or manually unzip each file beforehand. Using a dedicated reader like CDisplay Ex is a pain, because you can never completely replicate the way the viewer works (how to zoom, auto-resize, scroll, advance, etc.), so you are forced to use two different interfaces for the same thing. It also means either renaming all of your files to cbz/cbr or making the reader the default program instead of Winrar/7-Zip. Browsing the files directly in XnView would solve this.


Considering some of the more esoteric functions that are implemented in XnView already, like sending e-mails, capturing web pages, uploading to FTP servers or opening GPS locations, I really don't understand why they are so reticent to implement an ease of life feature like this.