Blogs

FireFox 3 Released Today!

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Today is the official launch date for Mozilla's Firefox 3! The new version of the browser promises quite a few new features include performance improvements.

Below is an excerpt of a few new features.

Improved Platform for Developers

  • New graphics and font handling: new graphics and text rendering
    architectures in Gecko 1.9 provides rendering improvements in CSS, SVG as well
    as improved display of fonts with ligatures and complex scripts.
  • Color management: (set gfx.color_management.enabled on in
    about:config and restart the browser to enable.) Firefox can now adjust images
    with embedded color profiles.
  • Offline support: enables web applications to provide offline
    functionality (website authors must add support for offline browsing to their
    site for this feature to be available to users).
  • A more complete overview of href="http://developer.mozilla.org/en/docs/Firefox_3_for_developers">Firefox 3
    for developers is available for website and add-on developers.

Improved Performance

  • Speed: improvements to our JavaScript engine as well as profile guided
    optimizations have resulted in continued improvements in performance.
    Compared to Firefox 2, web applications like Google Mail and Zoho Office
    run twice as fast in Firefox 3, and the popular
    SunSpider test from Apple shows improvements over previous releases.
  • Memory usage: Several new technologies work together to reduce the amount
    of memory used by Firefox 3 over a web browsing session.
    Memory cycles are broken and collected by an automated cycle collector, a new
    memory allocator reduces fragmentation, hundreds of leaks have been fixed, and
    caching strategies have been tuned.
  • Reliability: A user's bookmarks, history, cookies, and preferences
    are now stored in a transactionally secure database format which will prevent
    data loss even if their system crashes.

You can read all about the new features here.

I am just waiting until I can download the software (should be any moment) and I'd love to hear if you plan on downloading Firefox 3 or if you prefer a different browser.

Is Digg Spy Broken?

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Digg Spy is the real time tracker that shows what is happening on the social network Digg as it happens. The tool is a great way to follow Digg in a different way than the normal view.

We at Ajaxonomy.com have written a tool called the Digg Bury Recorder that uses a feed from Digg Spy to capture all of the buries of stories that are recorded by Digg Spy. Recently it was brought to my attention that the Digg Bury Recorder does not seem to be recorder new buries. In looking into the issue I found that the feed is not returning any data.

Thinking that perhaps Digg changed the feed (they have done this before) I went over to Digg Spy to check if the feed that is being used and the feed that we are using is correct. However, after leaving Digg Spy up for a moment I quickly realized that the Ajax portion of Digg Spy does not appear to be working (go to the page and it will look like it is working, but once it gets past the pre-loaded information it no longer works).

Without the Ajax portion of Digg Spy the application is useless and I wonder if I wonder if Digg knows of the problem or if they purposely broke the application (perhaps in an attempt to stop applications like the Digg Bury Recorder, although this doesn't really make sense).

Free Web Based Contraction Timer

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If you are a regular reader of this blog (and I hope that you are or are becoming one) you have probably noticed that I haven't posted anything for about a week. Well, the reason for this is that my wife and I have been blessed with our first child (Thomas Richard Hurth).

In the process of waiting for labor, my job was to time the contractions. In having this important task I found a web application that makes the job much easier called Contraction Master.

Contraction Master is very easy to use, you simply click on Start Timing Contractions and then you hit the space bar at the start and end of each contraction. The application keeps a log for you so you know when to go to the hospital.

You can get to the Contraction Master here.

I hope that anybody that may be expecting a child will find this application useful and I would love to hear your experience with it.

jQuery UI 1.5 - Rethinking UI

Congratulations to the jQuery UI team on their release of jQuery UI 1.5!

jQuery UI provides low to high-level interactions and themeable widgets for your rich internet applications. Since it's built on the jQuery JavaScript Library, you have a solid foundation on which to build your apps. The library revolves around different mouse interactions, including drag/drop, sorting, selecting, and resizing. Also, you can expect to find the jQuery Enchant effects framework along with some reusable widgets [accordions, date picks, dialogs, sliders, and tabs] included in this release.

What's new?

- Refactored API
95% less exposed methods means 95% less methods you have to remember.

- Increased Stability
A dedicated bug tracker, new unit tests, and the addition of jquery.simulate.js - a plugin specifically designed to fire true browser events..

- Effects
As mentioned above, this release includes Enchant as a part of jQuery UI and includes features like advanced easing, class transitions (morphing) and color animations. You also get all the effects that come standard with script.aculo.us (blind,bounce,drop,fold,slide …), but also some new effects like transfer, explode. clip, and scale. Check out the demos.

View the changelog for a full list of features, bug fixes, and other changes in this release

Imagine you've downloaded a new UI library and are ready to integrate it into one of your applications, what's one of your big obstacles? That's right, figuring out how to get it to match your application's color scheme and look and feel. Wouldn't it be nice if you had a tool that could easily do most of the work for you?

Well get ready for ThemeRoller: a new theme creator for the jQuery UI library created by the crew at the Filament Group in Boston.

ThemeRoller gives you the ability to style your jQuery UI components in minutes. You can easily preview your theme as you make adjustments and when you're done, you can download a ZIP package containing the css, image, and demo page files for your theme. If you don't feel like rolling your own, or maybe want some inspiration, check out ThemeRoller's gallery to browse and download a variety of predefined themes.

Special thanks has to be given to the Liferay staff, who invested countless hours into the development of the new UI website, and with whom the team worked closely together to stabilize jQuery UI for all kinds of enterprise situations.

jQuery UI v1.5 Final Release: http://ui.jquery.com/download

Check out Themeroller

Image Manipulation with JavaScript

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Ajaxorized has released a GPL licensed image manipulation script called Phototype. Phototype is a client/server-side library, based on prototype, which provides image manipulation functionality. On the server, it uses the PHP/GD framework to render the image. While the client is an interface that makes these features easily accessible in JavaScript, including the ability to chain effects.

l_oPhoto = new Photo().load("test.jpg").dropShadow().flipH().makeSketchy();

Phototype supports:

  • image rotatation
  • resizing
  • flipping
  • drop shadows
  • effects
  • grey scale
  • captions
  • as well as an addChuckNorris() method [for all you Walker, Texas Ranger fans]

Original:

Modified:

 

Read more about Phototype

Animated Lightweight JavaScript Tooltip

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Michael Leigeber has released an animated JavaScript tooltip script that weighs in at a mere 2kb. It's compatible with IE6+, Firefox, Opera and Safari. A detailed description and implementation guide has been posted at Six Revisions.

Click here to visit the post at Six Revisions.
Click here for the demo.
Click here to download the script.

GI 3.6.0 Milestone 1 Preview Release Available

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TIBCO has announced a milestone release for their General Interface Ajax Framework. Version 3.6 Milestone 1 is a preview intended for anyone considering migrations of their existing GI applications.

Via the release notes, here are the new features included in this release:

General Interface Template Language
The General Interface template language simplifies the creation of custom GUI components by using a technique that is already familiar to web developers—it builds on your knowledge of HTML and JavaScript. Using the General Interface template language, you can convert a single snippet of HTML—a widget—into a re-usable component. This means that if you’ve developed user interface components that combine HTML and JavaScript code, you can convert the functional user interface HTML elements into a General Interface template for custom usage.

CDF Form Mapping
A new CDF form mapping class is included in this release, jsx3.gui.CDF. This new class enables developers to map a CDF document in the local cache to on-screen form fields. By combining the features of jsx3.gui.Block and jsx3.xml.Cacheable, this new class enables developers to read and write cache data without the need to author additional JavaScript code. In other words, this new class is a visual container that knows how to bind the form fields it contains to values in a CDF document:

JSON mapping
General Interface has also added the JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) data interchange format to the XML Mapping Utility file types. The Mapping Utility uses these file types as the starting point to generate the mapping rules file. You specify the URL for the file you need for your use case, which contains a JSON string. The Mapping Utility evaluates the string and returns a JavaScript object.

To download GI 3.6 milestone 1, or the current stable release 3.5.1, visit gi.tibco.com

Also check out some additional GI resources and view the new GI Video Tutorials

Vista-like [not in a buggy way] JavaScript/PHP Datepicker

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Over at dev.base86, they've released version 2 of their Vista-like Ajax Calendar (vlaCalendar). The vlaCalendar is an unobtrusive JavaScript library that ports the UI functionality of the Windows Vista datepicker control to the web. The library requires the MooTools JavaScript framework as well as PHP.

In their own words:
Key features:

  • Authentic Vista look-and-feel
    • Quick navigation by jumping back and forth between months, years and decades without drop-down boxes
    • Smooth transition animations
  • Customizable features
  • Lightweight (compressed 8,50kB)

New features in version 2:

  • Cleaner and more developer centered - easily editable - CSS, PHP and javascript code
    • Easily changeable date labels (e.g. different languages)
    • Easily stylable. Styles are created on top of the general style; the download include two example styles
    • Both normal and datepicker calendar can be instantiated multiple times

The vlaCalendar has been tested on:

Rails 2.1 Released

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Recently announced at the Ruby on Rails Weblog, Rails 2.1 has been released.

The new major features are:

Read More

goosh.org - The Unofficial Google Shell

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It's interesting that I just finished up a post on keypress navigation, because I've come across a little gem called goosh [goo-sh], an Ajax-based UNIX-like Google search shell that enables you to use the Google search engine with only your keyboard. Sporting a variety of commands listed in its help menu, goosh is just what you need to make your Googling just that much quicker.

Google itself has seen the value in adding keystroke navigation to their search engine as shown in one of the experimental search tools in Google Labs [demo].

Check your mouse at the door and visit goosh.org

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