Maria Sisters
Tall View
map and search UI
Short View
map view
detail view



Urbanpixel was a new web interface that I developed with a group starting in 2000. The idea was to bring "urban" concepts of space and the organic nature of how cities evolve to the web. Our system supported an arbitrarily large 2D sheet of HTML; the client-side software allowed users to navigate around this space, loading new areas as they came into view. I created this part of the system using JavaScript (with Flash used for a map view) to query the server for the HTML content for areas near the view, moving and changing the window contents using DHTML for smooth browsing experience without page refreshes. The system architecture was similar to what became known as AJAX.

The space was initally seeded with content from the dmoz open directory project, but users were allowed to "lease" plots in the space to place HTML with whatever content that they wanted. The expectation was that the space would become populated and organized much like streets and neighborhoods in a city, where people and businesses with common interests congregate. In addition, users were represented in the space with small icons as they browsed the space, so they could see and communicate with others viewing the same content. I developed a chat client and server which kept track of users' locations and routed messages only to other users in the immediate vicinity.

The design and refinement of the user interface and system was very much a group process with the four other people who founded the company. We also worked together closely to form a company around this concept, secure investment funding and build an operating (albeit short-lived) business. My specific development contribution was mainly on the client side, implementing the JavaScript and Java code to implement the user experience. The other members of the group and additional hired staff helped implement the server, initial seeding of the space and the visual design.


U.S. Patent 6708172
Community-Based Shared Multiple Browser Environment

Filing date: Jun 14, 2000
Issue date: Mar 16, 2004
Inventors: Yin Yin Wong, Baldo A. Faieta, Derek Chung, Ishantha Joseph Lokuge, Lalit Balchandani



Copyright © Derek Chung