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  • Aug 29 Slides: Tooling JavaScript to ensure consistency in coding style Follow the link
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  • Apr 07 Modular JavaScript with CommonJS Compiler (slides) Follow the link
HTML5 Video on iPhone

Enabling your videos for iPhone Safari doesn’t seem as a big deal. You know it supports HTML5 . Besides, you don’t even need to write event handlers and produce a skin by yourself, but only take a ready JS component. Apparently videojs.com is getting close to be the most popular one. Though, I personally like mediaelementjs.com. It is very simple to use any of them. The only difficulty is to get your videos converted to h.264, Theora Ogg and WebM. When two last ones are meant for desktop browsers Chrome/Opera/Firefox/EI9, the first is for mobile devices. And here we go, using a converter (e.g. E.M. Video Converter) we are getting .mp4 which looks pretty ok on iPad, but iPhone refuses even to try playing.

Drupal – nice ideas and bad coding

Working with Drupal for half of year and constantly tuning it for better maintainability, code consistency I came to the idea – Drupal is going to be a toy, a pretty popular but only toy, unless they decide to rewrite everything from the scratch. Studying Drupal 7 I find the CMS wasn’t really refactored. They dramatically improved administrator panel, included CCK/ImageCache into the core, added file handlers and Unit-test framework. However it’s still a mess of coding styles and approaches. You can enter any module folder and you’ll find bunch files with no concern separation. View components, business logic, helpers, domain entities – all can be met in the same file. I understand that laying strict requirements on modules would affect the army of contributors. But anyway with Drupal 7 all the modules must be rewritten. Maybe the committee just can’t agree on a structuring strategy. As for me, it must be like that.

ECMAScript 5 and JS frameworks

Standards are being always approved with a slow pace. Though, the features declared in drafts usually find their implementation long before the standard release. Let’s take for an instance Websockets, which were already implemented in Chrome/Safari and Firefox 4b when standard unexpectedly changed. Apparently YUI3 and jQuery have implemented for long time the features, which are only coming up with ECMAScript 5 (the implementations is called JavaScript 1.8.5) spread.

Extending MVC on Drupal

I’ve already described an approach of using MVC in Drupal . It wasn’t bad for the beginning I hope. Though in real life you face requirements which hardly can be fulfilled with such a simplicity. In, more or less, complex application you ain’t going to be satisfied by the only controller (page controller) to serve the whole bunch of components presented on the page. So, let’s assume we have a page full of components and each of them can behave differently. It means we need controllers and views for them. Reminds of Java portlets, doesn’t it? Such components are often referred as modules in IA, but I don’t dare to call them so in this context to avoid any confusion because of Drupal modules. So, let’s go with widgets.

phpBB3 customization driven by configurable feature list

Let’s assume you have installed phpBB3 to run forums on the web-project you are working on. The forum system was re-skinned and your project manager, seems, is pretty happy for the first. But later he requests some changes, e.g. to prevent users from sending emails to each other within the board. This one is easy; you can disable it globally via ACP. However, the project manager wants only registered users not be able sending emails, when administrators and global moderators are still able to do it. Again, it is not a problem, because phpBB3 provides permissions roles which can be assigned to user groups. So, you go to ACP and create and a new role, e.g. ProjectX Registered User Features, based on existing one (All Features). Now you can set false ‘Can send e-mails’ option of Misc tab in User permissions panel and apply this role for all the registered users. Everything is fine so far, but only until the project manager requests something like ‘user search form in UCP has to be removed for unprivileged users’. You cannot find this feature in role options. We need custom option for user roles.

Building a site on Drupal using MVC

If you ought to build a new site and don’t have time to develop a CMS, you’ll likely take an open source solution. And likely it will be Joomla or Drupal. They seem as most popular. Actually they are similar in many ways. Both provide basic content management frameworks, extensible through plug-ins and customizable via themes. Both focused on block-designed sites which can be often built without any programming at all, just using downloaded theme and configurable set of extensions. So it’s personal what to choose. I prefer Drupal. Its component model seems clearer to me. The documentation is much more explicit then Joomla’s and gallery of ready-to-use modules is really impressive.


MVC on command line

If you work with Zend Framework, you likely tried ZF Console (Zend_Tool on command line). But have you tried to extend it? Why? To have common interface for all your Cli-scripts related to ZF-base project. How do you find the idea to program Cli-scripts in MVC? Zend Framework provides us with the tool to do it.


HTML5 and Server-Sent Events

Besides, already noted bidirectional communication channel, known as WebSocket, HTML5 propositions include also comet communication pattern by defining Server-Sent Events (SSE). WebSocket widely discussed by now, tons of server implementations are available and you can play already with fluent browser implementation under Chrome. However the second server-push technology of HTML5 yet stays in shadow.

YUI3 vs jQuery

Everybody time to time comes to the dilemma which JS library to choose for further development. I used to work with prototype coupled with script.aculo.us and now use YUI3 in the office and jQuery at home. I like both of them, though finding each as the best one 'sui generis'. YUI3 is a classical framework that provides design patterns and development philosophy as well as tool. jQuery is meant as a rapid, lightweight, flexible and pretty easy to start library. It's like Ruby on Rails and Python. Ruby and Python as languages are comparable (conceptual elegance against explicit consistency) and you will find APIs of both YUI3 and jQuery are quite similar.

i18n for Dynamic UI

Since YUI 3.1 version, the framework includes internationalizing utility. That’s pretty huge from the prospective of application maintenance and deserves a little review.