Tag Archives: javascript

Serious Flash Alternative using CSS3?

Sencha Animator

Although Adode Flash has improved performance-wise (arguably) recently and more people are upgrading to more powerful systems (desktops, laptops, notebooks, netbooks, tablets and other mobile web hardware) – still flash cannot offer what the world has been looking for. That is – even better performance cross-platform, more openness and better security (to name a just a few). Obviously the blanket ban flash has been given from some Apple products (think Iphone/Ipad) is not helping.

For the past couple of years, web technology has exploded in terms of what can be achieved using JavaScript. Things have also moved forward with HTML and CSS. The terms used to describe these recent improvements are HTML5.

Apple has mentioned many times that flash is not needed and that “everything that can be done in Flash, can be done using HTML5” (that is – HTML, JavaScript, CSS and perhaps Canvas). They are not the first to say this (Apple usually pick-up on what other already know!).

With the Iphone and Ipad selling like hotcakes, web application providers previously using Flash (or considering using it) need to have a serious think about the user reach. They could do the old-fashion thing – build a Flash web application and an alternative HTML 4 one. Or they could build one in HTML 5. Now that’s a hard one!

There are various JavaScript libraries out there with some great UI. But one of the newest ones using the very latest technologies comes from the team that brought us EXT JS (now run by Sencha). It’s called Sencha Animator. Is Sencha Animator a serious flash alternative?

Sencha Animator comes as a desktop application used to create rich HTML5 animation. It’s currently in its infancy but could have real potential. There is one drawback at this point-in-time however; it requires a Webkit browser to work. This means it will work in Google Chrome, Apple Safari, Iphone, Ipad, Blackberry torch, Google Android and other Webkit based browsers. But it will not fully work in IE, Opera or Firefox. At least not until the CSS3 is fully supported (IE 9 claims support).

At this time, many of the CSS3 techniques used by Sencha Animator are Webkit only (i.e. it has things like: -webkit-text-fill-color and -webkit-transform).

Sooner or later all major browsers should support these… but just not yet.

JavaScript Coding Contests

Hey folks,

I’m in the process of putting together some ideas for our upcoming JavaScript Coding Contests.

Several years ago, I ran some coding contests on a PHP website (PHP Programming Contests)… they were great fun at the time, and ran for a couple of years.

Since JavaScript seems to be the cool language now, I thought – why not run some contests with JavaScript?

I still need to find some suitable sponsors to offer prizes (let me know if you are interested).

Also, if you have any ideas for future contests, let me know.

I expect to have something ready very soon, so don’t wonder too far away!

Cheers,
Stuart

Advanced JavaScript Lessons for the 21st Century

Javascript, as you may know, has not changed very much since it first appeared back in the 90’s. Over the past couple of years, however, many people have been pushing to give the language an overhaul. It could take another couple of years before these new additions are in place in all major browsers (who knows), but things WILL change – and hopefully for the better. The next version of JavaScript should be JavaScript 2.

JavaScript started off pretty popular, it kicked Vbscript out of the game (not long after Microsoft introduced it). But after a while it also gained a lot of critics (all languages do!). One reason (in my view) is because many people coded poorly in JavaScript, and spat out horrible looking code. Another is because the Browser DOM API which JavaScript was used with was poor (it is still not great, but work is being done here too). JavaScript was the only real option available (and it still is). However, over the past few years, many serious programmers introduced new ways of using JavaScript – ways which are much more pretty, and powerful. In fact, these new ways have made it clearer what was actually missing from the language to start with, what was already there but overlooked by many, and what would make it better for the future.

The founder of JavaScript, Brendan Eich, still appears to be one of the major forces in the future of the Language. You can keep up-to-date by reading his blog over at weblogs.mozillazine.org/roadmap/.

Anyway, on to the main purposed of this post. I found an excellent Advanced JavaScript presentation which John Resig has made public (he actually presented this at a recent Web 2.0 expo, in New York). In my opinion, this presentation is first class.

The presentation aims to teach you how to understand the following code from the Prototype Library:

// The .bind method from Prototype.js 
Function.prototype.bind = function(){ 
  var fn = this, args = Array.prototype.slice.call(arguments), object = args.shift(); 
  return function(){ 
    return fn.apply(object, 
      args.concat(Array.prototype.slice.call(arguments))); 
  }; 
};

Have fun, I did!

Ajax is in the Air

Adobe AIR introduces a whole new subject when talking about Ajax. I’ve decided to create an new website dedicated to developing Adobe AIR applications, by way of Air Tutorials. It’ll cover both HTML with JavaScript and Flex (mxml and ActionScript). Snippet manager is the first sample application available, which was built using Flex. There will be a range of tutorials showing how this application was built.

At the time of writing this, the site has very little content. But I am working on it. Please send in your ideas.

The site will introduce a balanced opinion of Adobe AIR, it is not affiliated with Adobe in any form.

Update: The first tutorial is available – it covers the installation and configuration of the Air Sdk.