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Topic Archive: Web Development
Fun and games with Javascript animations

Filed under Web Development, Works in Progress

Some frames from Javascript animations

I’ve just finished up about twelve days of work on a set of Javascript animations for a web site. The site itself won’t be reachable until some time next year, so I can’t show you that. But here you can see a few individual frames and elements from the set.

Because they’re meant for the web, there are very few frames. I have to allow enough time after the page loads, and before the animation plays, for all the frames to get loaded. For that reason there’s a very simple animation that plays first, and there are only two animations on each page.

There are usually two things going on in each animation. There’s a primary motion that carries the element around the page, and a secondary action that’s sometimes a limited animation within the element, and sometimes a special effect.

Actaeon rocket sprite

This meant I needed to use Javascript’s setInterval() function twice. The first time sets the delay before the animation starts, while the second one sets the frame rate for everything that happens, once it does. I never had to set a third interval, though I did schedule some updates to occur on every second or third frame.

The site’s page layout responds to the browser window’s width and it changes any time the window’s resized. That did lead to some conceptual weirdness. I can’t predict how large the browser window is, or whether its size may change between one frame and the next. In some cases I had to deal with unexpected outcomes when I resized the browser.

Everything seems to work now. There’s just one case – an element that travels along an arc – in which phones may have trouble keeping up with the frame rate. I can’t test that because I don’t use a mobile phone. But the math in that one instance is fairly intense; I don’t think any of the other animations will present a problem.

And I may even do one or two more before you get a chance to see them. But, honestly, this was just a twelve-day obsession. I really ought to be working on something else. It’s just that it’s nearly impossible for me to leave something alone when it almost, almost works.

 
 
All new version of The Retropolis Transit Authority features a custom storefront & lower prices

Filed under Web Development, Works in Progress

Retropolis Transit Authority, Spreadshirt version

We’re all about experimentation, here in the Secret Laboratory, and as always you’re invited into the Vivisectorium for a personal tour.

This week’s experiment is an all new incarnation of The Retropolis Transit Authority with T-Shirts now printed by Spreadshirt. I gave this a go once I’d rebuilt the Pulp-O-Mizer’s T-Shirt system; building a new storefront was actually less work even though (for the first time) I wrote the complete store management system myself. Don’t get me started on pagination!

We should consider this a shakedown cruise. But, happily, the shirts are now less expensive. And that’s always nice, even during a shakedown.

 
 
Once again, you can get T-Shirts from the Pulp-O-Mizer

Filed under Web Development, Works in Progress

Return of the Pulp-O-Mizer T-Shirts

After two solid weeks of hair-raising adventure, the Pulp-O-Mizer is once again cranking out T-Shirts till the cows come home, or at least until you uncover a bug that eluded me. The Tale of Those Two Weeks may never be told: it’s strong stuff, and it features a lot of language that you’d pretend not to know; it came close to breaking my spirit. But it seems to be done.

Pulp-O-Mized T-Shirts are now printed and shipped by Spreadshirt. I ran off a test shirt to check their quality, and Spreadshirt does a nice job with them. In addition, the new shirts cost less, which you care about, and I make slightly more from them, which, you know, I care about, and all of this happens with web-like speed and, incidentally, in run-on sentences that will almost certainly make you the T-Shirt wearing envy of all your friends and neighbors.

I know what you’re thinking, but these really were a tough couple of weeks. If I’m getting out of this with nothing worse than run-on-sentences I’m going to call it a win.

So take my advice: go forth and Pulp-O-Mize yourself a handsome garment that will at once conceal your torso and call attention to it. That’s a one-two punch that surpasses anything since the Uncertainty Principle and That Thing That Happened Right After the Uncertainty Principle. (Added bonus: these T-Shirts can be measured!)

As always, problems can be reported here. Please don’t find any.

 
 
Nifty little memo books from the Pulp-O-Mizer

Filed under Web Development, Works in Progress

New Memo notebooks fo rthe Pulp-O-Mizer

It’s been awhile since I made changes to the Pulp-O-Mized products you can make with my Pulp-O-Mizer; in fact, there was a sort of debacle concerning a broken API for the T-shirts, but I’m not talking about that because the wounds are still fresh.

So apart from What I Am Not Speaking Of, these nifty new memo notebooks are the latest thing. They’re made of acid free recycled paper and at 3 1/2" by 5 1/2" they’ll go just about anyplace. I like these because they feel. . . informal. You don’t agonize about whether your sketches or notes are worthy. You just scribble ’em in there.

You can choose blank, lined, dotted, or checklist pages. I’ve made you a nice little title plate on the inside of the front cover, and there’s a colorful surprise on the inner back cover. And all for the low, low, ultra-customized and Pulp-O-Mized price of $10.95.

You can still get the old spiral bound notebooks through a text link below the products section. So whatever your notemaking preference is, go forth and Pulp-O-Mize!

 
 
The Book Shop Manager Plugin for WordPress: Attack of the Creeping Feature

Filed under Web Development, Works in Progress

Bookshop Manager Plugin for WordPress - Single Book Display

Back in my years in game development ("the lost years") there were so many features added to games while they were in production that I couldn’t even begin to count the number of times it happened. It’s so prevalent that we even had a name for it: "feature creep". Creepy features most often came from the game’s publisher, or from the enthusiastic producer appointed by the publisher; but, really, creepy features sometimes creep out from inside the team. Usually from some member of the team who doesn’t have to make those creepy features happen. The words easy or simple often appear at about the same time.

Now and then, though, creeping features creep out from within. And that’s what happened to me today.

Around midday I had checked off my list all but three of my WordPress plugin’s essential features. It was a great feeling. Once those three were done, the plugin would be ready for people other than me to use: actual real world testing! I’d already started to look for self-published authors with WordPress blogs who might like to test the plugin and build their own bookshops inside their web sites. Like I said: great feeling.

Except for feature creep.

Bookshop Manager Plugin for WordPress - Book Category Display

Because at about that same time I realized that I’d left something out. It wasn’t part of the original plan – it’s not like I decided not to do it. I just hadn’t considered it from the beginning. And it was something that people would probably want. Something that they might really want.

I went out to mow the lawn, and I just couldn’t get my creepy feature off my mind. This probably didn’t do much for my lawn mowing prowess which – between you, me and the neighbors – is probably not my strong suit, anyway.

And really, taking the long view, my creepy feature won’t be very difficult – it’s similar to something I built for the Archonate Bookstore. It’s just that it puts me two or three days (I hope!) farther away from beta testing. But of course the plugin will be much better for it. And stuff.

Still… not a great feeling. Feature creep: I thought it was all behind me.

And that’s a sort of creepy thought in itself.

 
 
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