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Getting More Through Polyfills with HTML5

Posted · Category: Information

One of the most stubbornly persistent misconceptions about HTML5 is that it’s effectively unusable for years to come. With that myth and the uncertainty over fragmented browser support for HTML5’s new features, it’s easy to find someone with reasons for avoiding HTML5 right now.

But while some features are legitimately not ready for use in production, many of the new APIs in HTML5 have solidified enough to be relied on in newer browsers like Chrome, Firefox 4 and Internet

Explorer 9. In fact, even Internet Explorer 6 includes support for one of HTML5’s “new” features, contentEditable. More importantly, many of the new features in HTML5 are compelling enough that waiting another decade to begin using them doesn’t make sense.

Cross-Browser Support

The most nagging issue with making the leap to HTML5 is that most of us have no choice but to support a variety of older browsers that have little or no support for the most useful new APIs. The thought of adopting a new Web technology conjures up nightmares of cross-browser inconsistencies, unmaintainable branching code, browser sniffing and a host of other problems. However, there’s an underappreciated technique that can entirely mitigate those problems for certain new features of HTML5 and still allow you to develop against the new APIs as though all your users had upgraded their browsers overnight: polyfills.

Polyfilling is a term coined by Remy Sharp to describe an approach for backfilling missing functionality in a way that duplicates the missing API. Using this technique allows you to write application-specific code without worrying about whether or not each user’s browser implements it natively. In fact, polyfills aren’t a new technique or tied to HTML5. We’ve been using polyfills such as json2.js, ie7-js, and the various fallbacks for providing transparent PNG support in Internet Explorer for years. The difference is the proliferation of HTML5 polyfills in the last year. Read the rest of this entry »

Security of Mashup Applications for Enterprises

Posted · Category: Information

Beyond the buzz of Web 2.0, mashup applications (also called hybrid or situational applications) bring the promise of creating meaningful experiences by feeding other people’s data to your application. For businesses, this means consuming data without the overhead of infrastructure or data storage and being able to tap into established technology vendors such as Bing Maps, LinkedIn or Twitter. While combining components from all over the web can help you quickly build a powerful application, it can also expose your users to malicious content that sneaks into your application from your providers. How can you protect your users and still realize the potential of mashup applications for the enterprise?

In this series, I’ll investigate how to mitigate security issues that can come along with a mashup application. To frame the discussion, we’ll build an application for the fictional Vision Sciences Corporation, leveraging risk management, good-old input validation and the muscle of modern browsers to keep users safe. Each article will focus on one of these elements, starting in this article, where I’ll examine how modern browsers help isolate content. At the end of this article, you’ll understand how the browser is the first layer in your defense-in-depth strategy against malicious mashup madness.

What Are We Building?

I always find a sample project helpful to illustrate development issues. Talking about the sample lets me dive into a narrative, not just detached code. So to start, imagine the following scenario:

You are a developer at Vision Science Corporation, and your product team has requested that you build an HTML5 application for the company’s office locations around the world that shows news about health and safety risks combined with medical information distilled from Twitter.

Being a savvy developer, you know that you can get this data from a variety of sources in your organization and through external providers like Bing Maps and Twitter. Here is a breakdown of the data sources and systems for the application: Read the rest of this entry »

Deal of the Week: Ninja Graphics Kit with 60% Savings

Posted · Category: Information

Looking to better monetize your site? Having some serious issues with conversions? If you’ve got the traffic but aren’t making the profits, then you could certainly use some help. Now, don’t go throwing thousands of dollars down the drain by paying an agency to simply analyze your site and come up with some new creatives for you. Instead, do it all yourself at a fraction of the cost.

With the Ninja Graphics Kit, you’ll get all of the essential conversion-boosting graphics you’ll ever need. We’re talking one massive, ginormous bundle of high-quality, professional graphics that cater towards increasing sales on your site. And thanks to this Mighty Deal, you can convert a 60% savings for yourself!

This massive collection of conversion-exploding graphics currently sells for $39, but for a limited time only, you can get it all for a mere $14!

How I Built Paint 4 Kids Windows Store App

Posted · Category: Information

Paint 4 Kids is a Windows Store app, specifically designed for kids. A simple app for coloring and drawing. You can read of the consumer’s features directly from the Windows Store site, where you can also see some screen shots. For this article, you can simply think of an app that has several drawings and you can interact with them.

From a technical perspective, it is entirely built using standard web technologies, like HTML, CSS, JavaScript and SVG. Consider an important aspect here: with Windows 8, we are writing an app reusing our web skill and we are developing for the web platform, using the underlying HTML5 support of the Internet Explorer 10 rendering engine. So one immediate benefit is that we do not have to test and support all the different browsers versions and do not have to use some polyfills to emulate the new API features in old browsers. We can use the best of the web platform and use some specific API of Windows 8 directly in JavaScript.

This article is about to discuss the use of Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) in Paint 4 Kids, starting from some requirements of the project, going to address them and some pitfalls using SVG. I hope that some of these considerations could apply to your apps as well.

Requirements and why using SVG

Windows Store app give you a great opportunity in terms of markets where you can distribute and sell your apps and in terms of devices where your app can run. Think that your app can be used on devices with different screen sizes, different screen resolutions and pixel densities. This must be considered and looking through this article gives you a very good technical understanding on how to scale your app to different screens and how to test your app using the Windows Simulator.

One of the requirement is that we want to have a single drawing that will show well at different resolutions. We ended to use SVG that is a vector image format for two-dimensional graphics. Our approach is to create a drawing at a specific resolution 2560×1440, see later for details, scaling down to the current user’s resolution. Another advantage is that is very simple and fast to fill a path with a color in SVG, that it is one of the main feature of the app. When a user tap the screen it is simple to intercept the corresponding portion of the drawing and fill the path with a specific color.

Read the rest of this entry »

A Complete Guide of jQuery Mobile for Beginners

Posted · Category: Information

There’s no doubt about it. Wherever developers look and whoever they talk to, mobile is at the top of the list. Talk to a C-level executive, and the conversation turns to mobile, and the question “How do I get me some of that?” comes up. Talk to other developers, and they tell you they’re targeting mobile devices. Mobile has become a big deal as smartphones have taken hold in the consumer marketplace.

In the years leading up to the current focus on mobile applications and devices, Web developers have been adding more and more client-side functionality to their applications. You can see this in the use of client-side JavaScript libraries like jQuery.

With the growth of the market for mobile devices, the ability to create applications that run across platforms is very important for developers and for businesses that are trying to keep their expenses in check. There are a set of applications, mostly in the area of content consumption (think Amazon.com), that run well in a mobile Web browser. Unfortunately, there are differences between Web browsers on various mobile devices. The goal of the recently introduced jQuery Mobile (jQM) library is to provide cross-browser support to allow developers to build applications that can run across the various mobile Web browsers and provide the same—or at least a very similar—user interface.

jquery-mobile

The jQuery Mobile library was introduced in an alpha release in the fall of 2010 and released to manufacturing in November 2011. At the time of this writing, the current version of jQuery Mobile is 1.1.1. By the time you read this, jQuery Mobile will almost certainly have reached version 1.2.0. The library has been embraced by Microsoft, Adobe and other companies for mobile Web development. In August 2011, jQM had 32 percent market share compared with other mobile JavaScript frameworks such as iWebKit and jQTouch. This market share is impressive given that it started from zero little more than 12 months ago, and the 1.0 release is the first officially supported release. Read the rest of this entry »

Deal of the Week: Ultimate WordPress Theme Builder

Posted · Category: Information

Sure you’ve got the ideas, but you don’t have any programming experience, and you do not know how to setup a basic blog on WordPress. Now you can now get yourself up and running quickly thanks to Ultimatum. This robust drag-and-drop template builder works with WordPress to create limitless layouts for your site. No need to ever hunt down another template again. With Ultimatum you can easily just create a new one.

The Ultimatum Developer’s Edition gives you everything you need to make your mark on the Internet. Besides a true drag-and-drop layout builder, you’ll be able to use unlimited templates on your sites, access a powerful Style Editor for countless CSS options, as well as integrate unlimited fonts, forms, slideshows and SEO throughout all of your sites.

Best of all? You can grab the full featured Ultimatum Developer’s Edition for just $57 right now! That’s more than 50% off the standard price of $125, or if you’re just looking for a more basic Starter License for a single site, it’ll run you just $35, instead of the normal $65.

CSS3 Selectors: Structural Pseudo-Classes Part 1

Posted · Category: Information

Today’s front-end developers don’t just need to understand how to write CSS, we need to know how to write it efficiently. And what “efficiently” means can depend on your project and environment. Perhaps you have a team with several members working in the CSS and you need an efficient way to work together. Or maybe you have a huge enterprise site and you need your CSS optimized for speed. You could even be working with a legacy system that restricts access to HTML, which means you need efficient selectors to effectively style elements without ids or classes. You might even face all these situations and more.

Whatever your goals for CSS are, the best way to reach them is to know your options, and that means understanding all the selectors available to you. Most of us are already familiar with id and class selectors, and I introduced you to the beauty of attribute selectors in “Understanding CSS Selectors.” But there’s so much more.

In this two-part series, I’ll look at the new selectors in CSS3, starting with structural pseudo-classes.

What’s a Pseudo-Class?

CSS pseudo-classes target elements that can’t be targeted with combinators or simple selectors like id or class. You use pseudo-classes to select elements based on their attributes, states, and relative position. For example, you are probably already familiar with pseudo-classes for link states: Read the rest of this entry »

Fabric.js: A Powerful & Simple JavaScript Canvas Library

Posted · Category: Information

In this article, I’ll introduce you to Fabric.js—a powerful JavaScript library that makes working with the HTML5 canvas element a breeze. Fabric provides a missing object model for canvas, as well as an SVG parser, a layer of interactivity, and a whole suite of other indispensable tools. It is a fully open-source project, licensed under MIT, with many contributions over the years.

I started developing with Fabric three years ago after discovering the pains of working with the native canvas API. I was creating an interactive design editor for printio.ru—my startup that allows users to design their own apparel. The kind of interactivity I wanted existed only in Flash apps in those days. Now, very few libraries come close to what is possible with Fabric, so let’s take a closer look.

Why Fabric?

Canvas allows you to create some absolutely amazing graphics on the Web these days, but the API it provides is disappointingly low level. It’s one thing if you simply want to draw a few basic shapes on a canvas and forget about them. If you need any kind of interaction, to change a picture at any point, or to draw more complex shapes, the situation changes dramatically. Fabric aims to solve this problem.

canvas-javascript

Native canvas methods allow you only to fire off simple graphic commands, blindly modifying the entire canvas bitmap. Do you want to draw a rectangle? Use fillRect(left, top, width, height). Want to draw a line? Use a combination of moveTo(left, top) and lineTo(x, y). It’s as if you’re painting a canvas with a brush, layering more and more oil or acrylic on top, with very little control. Read the rest of this entry »

Deal of the Week: 17 Awesome WordPress Themes

Posted · Category: Information

Whether you’re starting a number of websites yourself or you’re a Web Designer constantly creating new websites for clients, if you use WordPress, you know there are countless themes available. While WordPress themes are always quite customizable, it’s so much easier to just find what you’re looking for somewhere else. But it can be quite time consuming if you have a particular need outside of a generic theme.

That’s why this Mighty Deal from DXThemes is perfect for you as it contains 17 different WordPress themes covering a wide range of categories. Save yourself time and especially money by just grabbing this bundle and getting your themes up and running in a matter of minutes.

wordpress-themes

This massive collection of high-quality WordPress themes normally costs $289, but for a limited time only, you can get all 17 premium themes included in this bundle for just $17. That’s over 90% off the regular price and works out to just $1 per theme.

The Foundation for Responsive Design – Flexibility

Posted · Category: Information

If you haven’t been living under a rock for the past year or so, you know that responsive Web design is one of the biggest trends these days. Introduced by Ethan Marcotte, the concept is simple: develop a site using methods that enable it to adapt and respond to different devices and resolutions.

When I first learned of this, I was instantly intrigued — particularly with the notion of using media queries, which I immediately applied to my own freelance site. I even wrote an article about the process: “Respond to Different Devices with CSS3 Media Queries.” (I strongly encourage you to read that article before delving further into this one. Go ahead. I’ll wait.)

As a result of my first media queries endeavor, I quickly realized I was missing a key part of the responsive design equation: flexibility.

Challenges with Fixed Widths

My freelance site is a fixed-width design, meaning all the width, margin and padding settings are specified in pixels. Traditionally, this has been my preference when building sites because it’s easier and faster for me.

But when writing the media queries for my fixed-width site, those easier and faster aspects rapidly disappeared. Why? Because with a fixed-width design, I found that I needed extremely detailed and verbose media queries to adjust for every single pixel value in my CSS. I was basically creating an entirely new layout for every potential resolution. Not easy. Not fast. Not fun.

Then I had the pleasure of listening to Mr. Marcotte speak at In Control 2011. He discussed responsive design as a theory and then dove into practicalities, like the fluid grid. Read the rest of this entry »

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