Archive for the ‘UI’ Category

Ext 2.0 beta 1

October 19, 2007

The Ext team has recently announced the availability of version 2 of their popular framework. I’ve been an Ext developer for about 12 months now and am really excited by what version 2.0 promises.

Some cool Ext related links

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.Mac Web Gallery: Great use of JavaScript

August 8, 2007

During Apple’s keynote yesterday in which they announced a new iMac, iLife 08, iWork 08, Airport Extreme and a new Mac mini, they also announced an update for .Mac.

The .Mac update included personal domains, increased storage and transfer limit and a Web Gallary.

The web gallery which can be published with one button from iPhoto gives a rich Web 2.0 experience and even works on IE on a PC. Developed using the Prototype and Scriptaculous JavaScript libraries, it introduces some really innovative ideas for displaying a large number of albums and photos.

The main page is a collection of album thumbnails that change as the user hovers over them. The powerful effect allows the user to quickly scan through the album’s photos without the need for a single click.

Once within an album, the photos are displayed in either a grid, mosaic, carousel or a slideshow. The user can quickly change the background colour, resize the photo thumbnails and subscribe to the galleries RSS feed. The carousel view is the same as the cover-flow album art display that iTunes and the new iPhone uses. Once the photo’s are fully loaded, its performance is really slick.

Congrats must go to the Apple developers that worked on the site. As a JavaScript developer, I’m really inspired by the quality of the work. My only criticism is that the main gallery JavaScript file weights in at an whopping 404 kb. A minor issue thou if you consider the prevalence of broadband connections.

Link to a sample Web Gallery

Update:
Steve Brewer has posted a great analysis of the JavaScript Code. He details how Apple left 128 lines of comments and how the images are used inefficiently. By combining the images into batches of 20 each being 160px by 3200px and then by using them as a positioned backgrounds, Steve’s test results show speed improvements of over 400%. Pretty Impressive!

Update:
Adam Houghton has done the seeminly impossible by creating a JavaScript version of coverflow. He has done great job using GWT.
Link to demo
Link to Adam’s blog announcing GWT Flow

Ext JS: Simply the best Ajax and UI Components

June 22, 2007

I’ve been working with Ext JS for about 6 months now and have really grown to love it. Ext offers what must be the best UI components available today. No matter your preference for JavaScript library, Ext is for you. It offers full support for jQuery, Prototype and YUI.

News from Ajaxian is that Sanjiv Jivan has created a Google Web Toolkit wrapper. Here are links to the wrapper and his Feed Viewer sample application.

Other Ext news is that the Eclipse plugin, Spket IDE, now supports Ext. It now provides features like code completion, syntax highlighting and content outline. I downloaded the IDE yesterday, and the intellisense is really something! Visual Studio 2008 promises JavaScript intellisense but will need to go a long way to beat this. Simply point Spket IDE at the latest Ext source directory, and it does the rest.

Update:

Scott Guthrie from Microsoft has just posted a great article on JavaScript Intellisense in VS 2008.
It looks pretty awesome!
Link

If you keen to start learning Ext, be sure to check out the tutorials. The are currently over 10 which cover pretty much every aspect of Ext.

Best news is that Jack Slocum, the author of Ext, has released a glimpse of the future 2.0 release with the following samples:

  1. Feed Reader
  2. Ext Grid

Opera Mini 4 beta now available

June 19, 2007

From Opera.com

Opera Software today released Opera Mini 4 beta, codenamed Dimension, the much-awaited sneak preview of the newest version of Opera’s pioneering Web browser for all mobile phones. Opera Mini 4 beta is a complete redesign of the world’s most popular mobile Web browser. The new overview mode empowers people to browse their favorite Web sites, just like they do on their PC. Opera Mini 4 beta is available free from www.operamini.com/beta.

Opera Mini 4 beta also features a new zoom, based on the original Opera feature introduced for Nintendo Wii. When zooming, Opera Mini dives into the page and then snaps to the content so scrolling is smooth while accessing the desired content immediately. Like all Opera products, Opera Mini 4 beta is built for speed. It is more than twice as fast as any other mobile browser.

Update:

The application often hangs on my iMate k-Jam. I’ve also noticed that once it hangs, my phone stops receiving calls. The only solution is to perform a hard reboot.

Link

bbc_tech_front_overview.jpg

Digg Interface Suggestion

May 21, 2007

I’m a huge fan of Digg and find myself checking the site a couple of times a day for cool news. One of my frustrations is the number of page reloads basic site usage requires.

A great Digg feature is the Top 10 in all topics right panel. If you’d like to read the story thou, you need to click the headline and wait for the page to refresh. The same applies if you digg into the main categories listed at the top of the site.

My suggestion would be to introduce Google Reader like scrolling, i.e. dynamically load content as the user scrolls down the page. This would eliminate the need for pagination and offer the user a bottomless hole to digg into. This technique was successfully used during the first few versions of Microsoft’s Live search results.

The right panel and the categories should also expand without delay.

Digg already makes use of both the Prototype and Scriptaculous JavaScript frameworks and with a little added ajax magic, these suggestions could be implemented fairly painlessly.

Is JQuery getting the upper hand?

May 16, 2007

The current state of available JavaScript frameworks is a healthy one. The new Prototype 1.51 looks impressive and introduces loads of cool new features and improvements. Some of them include:

– Selector speedup and full CSS3 support
– Full JSON encoding and decoding
– Various String method enhancements and fixes
– Link to full changelog

I’ve only recently been introduced to JQuery via ExtJS and I’m really impressed with the punch it packs in such a small package (19kb).

News today is that the latest version of WordPress (2.2) has opted for JQuery over Prototype. WordPress used to include Prototype in version 2.1. The decision goes back to December 28, 2006 when Matt posted critical look at Prototype Js.

I’ve used both versions in production applications and have recently tried the latest Prototype version 1.51. To be honest, I’ve personally opted for JQuery after a rather simple CSS selector failed to work for me. Perhaps I was a little to quick to judge, but so far, I’m really happy with the move.

The author of JQuery, John Resig, recently described the role of JavaScript libraries in the world of frontend engineering over at YUI Theater. This is highly recommended for any JavaScript developer.

New Scrybe Video Online

October 1, 2006

Be sure to check out this new video detailing Scrybe’s features.link

Ms. Dewey, Is this the future of UI?

October 1, 2006

Be sure to give this new search engine a visit. Ms. Dewey breaks all boundaries and gives a human face and voice to the common task of Internet search. Will this be the future of UI? Kinda reminds me of the Minority Report.Link

Scrybe – The ultimate in UI

October 1, 2006

Being a web and UI developer, I’m always on the lookout for something that really blows my mind. Scrybe is it! Its an online organiser that has some truly amazing features:

  • Seamless off line access – without any installations
  • Rich and fast like a desktop
  • Intuitive zoomable calendar views
  • Organize your thoughts with bookmarks, web snippets, images and files
  • To-do lists integrated with your calendar
  • Share and collaborate with friends and co-workers
  • Elegant, compact and handy print formats
  • Easily work across multiple timezones
  • Import and export from other apps easily. Your data is yours!

This really has me excited. I’ve registered for the beta, which starts this month and will blog my impressions as soon as I get an invite, holding thumbs! The offline feature together with the zoomable calender are the features I’d most like to see. From what I’ve seen in their video, I’d say this is a must buy for Google.Link. You have to see this!