Web Development

3D on the Web - Back to Processing...

Finally got some time to play with Processing again. It's been a hugely busy year with work and I have literally had no time to do any of my own stuff - you can see it's more than a year since my last post on this site. But, like many people in the UK, I took vacation time either side of Easter to take advantage of the Royal Wedding and May Day bank holidays. This gave me a bit of breathing space to look at WebGL and basic app development on iPad and Android, something I'd been looking forward to for a while. However, I always keep coming back to Processing.

Interactive 3D in a Web Page

This page discusses the results of my experiments with Processing over the Christmas break. What is interesting about Processing is that it allows you to create fully interactive 3D applets embedded in a standard web page on any platform. For visualising and playing around with complex concepts, this offers something far more exciting than even Adobe Flash.

Website Projects

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I have done quite a bit of website development over the years and still like to keep my hand it. Lately I have been using Drupal as a content management system as it provides a great base platform in which you can easily add custom modules and filters. My current interests are AJAX and HTML5, but I have a lot of experience with PHP, Javascript, CSS and plain old HTML. As you can probably tell from the rest of the content, I also experiment a lot with embedded Java applets and Flash.

Stung by Drupal's Filter Caching, Again

When will I ever learn? I just lost another few hours of my life because - again - I didn't properly understand Drupal's filter cache system.

Hacking the 'Read more' Link in Drupal

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When displaying a list of node teasers, Drupal includes a 'Read more' item within a list of links at the bottom of each node. Other items in this list include links for adding comments, the number of page reads and other node-specific actions. For users not familiar with Drupal, this link can be easily missed, making it not particularly obvious that there is more information available.

Graph - Annual Temperatures (Google Charts)

Open /scripts/data-visualisation/graph-annual-temperatures-google

The graph is one of my experiments with Google's Visualisation API as a possible means of interactive web-based data presentation. It's an implementation of an annotated time line graph that Google originally developed for showing stock exchange data - used here to show annual hourly air temperature values. It contains a whole year worth of hourly temperature data for San Francisco, so it can take a little while for the graph to appear.

Experimental Page Layouts/Formatting

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In my experiments with CSS and Javascript to create a range of different formating options and layouts, I need a test page to see if I have broken anything with recent changes. This is that page...

Embedding Java Applets in a Web Page

I have recently been experimenting with dynamically embedding Java applets within pages served by content management systems (CMS). As the <applet> and <embed> tags are depreciated and not XHTML standard compliant or supported by all browsers, that just leaves the <object> tag. This is fine, but even with this there are some serious inconsistencies between browser implementations - especially the Internet Explorer and the Mozilla/Gecko engines. This example shows how this can be solved fairly easily with some PHP in Drupal.

Browser Detection Methods

Whilst there may be many reasons for wanting to know which browser your web page is being viewed within, the main one I find is needing to tweak some CSS or embedded applet code to accommodate certain rendering inconsistencies. At first glance, this seems pretty easy with dynamically-generated pages as most server-side programming or scripting languages provide a way of doing this as the page is being assembled for delivery. However, for both static web pages and content that is likely to be cached by a content management system (CMS) it isn't so easy. This article therefore considers a range of available browser detection methods.

Universities Starving the Web of Content

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Okay, so its a provocative title, but something I believe is really starting to happen. With the increasing use of online learning systems such as Blackboard, WebCT, and Moodle within Universities, much of the content they are now producing is being locked behind password protected student login systems. This applies to both lecture material and student work/projects, effectively starving the web of what was once one of the most fertile sources of new material.

I'm not suggesting that this is in any way intentional - but it is an important incidental effect.