Category Archives: Web

The Web-App Language of the Future is Already Here.

Since the excellent Joel on Software no longer accepts comments, I decided to comment on his latest post here.

In his post, Joel explains how the current state of AJAX web-app development has many parallels with desktop app development back in the 90’s. Joel makes a breathless prediction of a future event that will revolutionize web-app development:

What’s going to happen? The winners are going to do what worked at Bell Labs in 1978: build a programming language, like C, that’s portable and efficient. It should compile down to “nativeâ€? code (native code being JavaScript and DOMs) with different backends for different target platforms, where the compile writers obsess about performance so you don’t have to. It’ll have all the same performance as native JavaScript with full access to the DOM in a consistent fashion, and it’ll compile down to IE native and Firefox native portably and automatically. […] Oh joyous day that will be.

Sound like anything you can think of? Someone needs to tell Joel his mythical programming language already exists: it’s called ActionScript. Admittedly ActionScript does not compile down to JavaScript and DOMs, but otherwise it matches his description perfectly.

Here’s another quote that seems to be talking about Flex/Flash/Actionscript:

Somebody is going to write a compelling SDK that you can use to make powerful Ajax applications with common user interface elements that work together. And whichever SDK wins the most developer mindshare will have the same kind of competitive stronghold as Microsoft had with their Windows API.

Sounds like it’s a good time to be an ActionScript developer.

Checkout Vuvox – a Flash RIA for Remixing Media

Vuvox is a very cool Flash RIA that allows you to create interactive slideshows from your uploaded images, video and audio. Once your media is in the system it can be displayed via a variety of Flash templates. I helped out with some of the templates, as did the awesome Quasimondo.

Vuvox allows you to upload your content via Flickr or Picasa, and has a Facebook widget for easy sharing of your presentations. Check it out here.

roofs v4.0 goes live


roofs is Agnieszka Garofeanu’s great design portfolio. I helped Agnieszka with the coding for the site. The site uses a variable height SWF as described by Hoss Gifford here. This allows browsing multiple large images easily by using the browser scroll bar. I like the way the site navigation is really simple, allowing you to focus on the content.

Awesome iTunes Visualizer

good stuff

Robert Hodgin has released a fantastic iTunes visualizer, based on his mind-blowing processing experiments. I’ve never been a fan of visualizers in the past, probably because they typically look like something from an early 70’s sci-fi TV show (and not in a good way). In contrast this thing is all smooth organic 3-d motion and lovely glowing orbs.

Introducing Design-Feed

I am very happy to announce that my latest project has gone live: Design-Feed.

Design-Feed grab

Design-Feed is a design feed aggregator. We hand-pick the most interesting design related RSS feeds and present them in an easy-to-browse format. This means you can get all the latest design news in one place, rather than trawling through hundreds of sites a day. Every post aggregated is also searchable by keyword.

Basically, it’s a one-stop shop to get all the latest web-design buzz. If you are familiar with MXNA, you can think of this as MXNA for designers. Take a look, and if you like it, make sure you send the link on to your designer buddies! Read more about design-feed here.

A big thanks to Stan Wiechers for building out the fantastic admin app that keeps the site ticking, and Thiago deMello Bueno for the graphic design.

Brightcove's Fullscreen Video Player

For the last year and a half I’ve been working at Brightcove, helping build out their Flash front-end. Last week I got to add fullscreen functionality to the video player – before youTube, google video etc :). Fullscreen mode is accessible via the full-screen button or by right click. Check out an example below.

It was fairly straight-forward to implement following the documentation. One thing to note is that keyboard input is disabled in fullscreen mode due to security restrictions, which means we had disable the video overlay menu functionality. Since fullscreen mode requires at least Flash v9.0.18, users with earlier versions are prompted to upgrade in the SWF via express install.