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CSS3Wizardy & ChocolateChip-Mobile Framework

January 2, 2011

I've started two blogs. The first is CSS3Wizardry which has many practical examples of how to re-create typical iOS system features and controls using just CSS3 and JavaScript. No images are ever used. In the course of putting CSS3Wizardy together, I realized I needed a JavaScript framework that was optimized for the mobile space. With that I started work creating ChocolateChip, a very small, only 8k minimized, framework that uses a syntax similar to jQuery yet remaining always straight, unobfuscated JavaScript. You can download the latest version of the source code from GitHub as well.

Google's Chrome comes out of beta

December 12, 2008

In an apparent bid to break their own track record, Google has released their Chrome browser from beta status, shipping it as an official 1.0 product. You can download it here. At the moment, this browser only works on Windows, though Google is working on Mac and Linux versions.

Google announces Chrome browser

September 10, 2008

Google has announced the beta release of their own browser named Chrome. This is based on several technologies to offer a fresh approach to browsers. For HTML/CSS, they used Apple's Webkit rendering engine. For JavaScript, they used their own home brew called V8. When a new page is opened in a tab, each tab is a separate thread, providing better sandboxing. Over all it is extremely fast and shows promise. Since it uses Webkit's CSS engine, it is capable of advanced CSS3 effects

ECMAScript Harmony

August 20, 2008

For some time, Adobe, Mozilla, Opera, and Google have been working on ECMAScript 4. However, there were a number of difficulties seen in implementing it, further compounded by Microsoft's resistence to supporting the proposed stardard. Fortunately representatives from Mozilla, Microsoft, Google and Adobe met in Oslo, Norway to discuss some kind of resolution. The result is a win-win for everyone. All members of the body worked together to hammer out a solution that works for everyone. This was not through bullying or such but through taken a hard look at the work needed to bring JavaScript to the next level and then reaching a consensus. To quote Brendan Eich of Mozilla:

The committee has resolved in favor of these tasks and conclusions:
  1. Focus work on ES3.1 with full collaboration of all parties, and target two interoperable implementations by early next year.
  2. Collaborate on the next step beyond ES3.1, which will include syntactic extensions but which will be more modest than ES4 in both semantic and syntactic innovation.
  3. Some ES4 proposals have been deemed unsound for the Web, and are off the table for good: packages, namespaces and early binding. This conclusion is key to Harmony.
  4. Other goals and ideas from ES4 are being rephrased to keep consensus in the committee; these include a notion of classes based on existing ES3 concepts combined with proposed ES3.1 extensions.

Because of the positive way the meeting turned out, they named the new specification "Harmony."

Webkit gets SquirrelFish

June, 3, 2008

Right on the heels of the introduction of Google's lightning fast V8 JavaScript engine, the Webkit team has announced a new, extremely fast JavaScript engine named SquirrelFish. SquirrelFish accomplishes its speed improvements by implementing bytecode optimizations, polymorphic inline caching, a lightweight "context threaded" JIT compiler, and a new regular expression engine that uses our JIT infrastructure.

Webkit has a new JavaScript interpreter

June 2, 2008

The Webkit team just announced a new JavaScript interpreter for Webkit. Meet "SquirrelFish." Yeah, the name is squirelly and the logo looks like a genetic experiment gone bad. The new interpreter means the latest Webkit is 1.6 times faster than the previous one. Webkit already had the fastest JavaScript interpreter, but it has just bested this with SquirrelFish. Here's how they did it:

SquirrelFish is a register-based, direct-threaded, high-level bytecode engine, with a sliding register window calling convention. It lazily generates bytecodes from a syntax tree, using a simple one-pass compiler with built-in copy propagation.

According to the Webkit team, they are happy with the improvements, but believe there is still room for improvements. You can download the latest nightly build of Webkit for your preferred platform from Webkit Downloads

Webkit announces gradients, masks and reflections, oh my!

April 29, 200

Do these guys ever sleep? The Webkit team recently added support for CSS-based gradients. These are applied as background properties. They also add support for masks, which and use a png is alpha transparency, or a CSS-based gradient. They also add support for reflections, which can also use a CSS gradient. All together these give designers and developers the ability to create incredible user interfaces that are light and fast at loading because they don't require extensive use of images. A graphical Web without gifs and pngs, imagine that. Read more about gradients, masks and reflections.

Webkit and Opera pass the Acid 3 test

March 22, 2008

After a great deal of work, the Webkit team was able to successfully pass the Acid 3 test. At the same time, literally neck and neck, the Opera team accomplished the same feat. Now just Firefox and IE are lacking. Recently IE8 passed the Acid 2 test, but the Firefox team has said they are not interested in expending energy to pass the Acid 2 test, so it is improbable they will give much importance to the Acid 3 test. Since the Acid 3 test relies in part on proper rendering of SVG, it is unlikely that IE will ever be able to pass it. IE does not support SVG and now Microsoft has put all their focus into their Silverlight platform, so I don't see them putting resources into implementing SVG in IE. You can learn more about the Acid 3 test here.

IE8 beta available

March 5, 2008

During the keynote at MIX 08 the IE team announced the immediate availability of IE8 beta. It has full support for CSS 2.1, finally. I talked with the IE team extensively at the MIX event in Las Vegas. They have done an admirable job of bringing IE into the modern world. They completely rewrote the rendering engine and finally dumped the quirky "hasLayout" property. Unfortunately, this has disabled the use of Microsoft's own proprietary filters which were dependent on said property. I'm not sure if they will implement CSS3-based opacity as other browsers do. They also completely revamped the JavaScript interpreter. This has given IE8 huge speed improvements. They've also fixed many long known bugs. Unfortunately they are still at 1.5, whereas other browsers are preparing to move on to JavaScript version 2.0. At least the IE team implemented the selectors API in the current beta. But because they are only implementing CSS 2.1, the selectors are limited to 2.1. On the positive side, IE8 beta passing the Acid two test, joining Safar/Webkit and Opera to the party. You can download the IE8 beta. You can learn more from the IE blog and the JScript blog.

Webkit gets animation and more

October 31, 2007

The Webkit team implemented CSS-based transitions and transforms. This allows you to create sophisticated and complex animations, in most cases with no JavaScript at all. For more details, check out the blog.

Ramayana Launched Online!

Sunday, December 2, 2006

Today I launched a subdomain for a translation project of the ancient Indian classic epic "Ramayana." I spent six years working on the translation. Then a couple of years editing the English. This translation is the only complete, unabridged version of the Valmiki Ramayana in English. The University of Berkeley also finished a translation project of the Valmiki Ramayana as I did, but there was a big difference. They chose to exclude passages that they considered interpolations. The result was as much as a third of the text was left out. I decided to take a different route and present the entire text and let the reader decide for themselves. Besides, this was more about presenting the Ramayana as the people of Ancient and Mideaval India perceived and understood it. Over the next couple of weeks I'll be hooking up a search feature and bookmark feature to it as well. Read on and enjoy.

NOTE: No tables were harmed in the creation of this site.

Updated: Sunday January 02, 2011