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Web Technique

Random thoughts on: SVG, JS toolkits and more

by Pascal Opitz on December 7 2008, 02:53

For various reasons I seem to do much more reading on new techniques and web stuff lately, and today brought up some for me fascinating finds that I wanted to share.

After discovering the merits of the canvas tag last week, and getting myself into rendering stats, I continued reading up on web based vector graphics. Mark Finkle's roundup on Canvas/SVG/VML was a good start point, and triggered some interest in his list of web based drawing tools. Are there any good ones based on canvas, rather than SVG? Very interesting to me is the little Paintr script, especially becasue of the use of toDataURL().

Also, a very good overview are the slides by Vladimir Vukićević covering SVG and canvas. Hey, is there a SVG to canvas importer, where I can load a file and then display it on canvas, or is that a completely ridiculous idea? Or how about boosting your CSS stuff with SVG FX, will that really take off?

On to toolkits! There are so many out there. The so far unknown ones are Mochikit, which I discovered through Plotkit, and a pretty obscure one called UIZE, as so often discovered via the almighty Ajaxian.

Sure, diversity sparks politics, and it is always interesting to read project politics, as seen in this post about why mootools would not use Sizzle. Discussions like this show so much that we are all a bit self centric and ego driven, when we expose ourselves on the web through contribution and publication, really.

Mochikit, by the way, is part of Turbogears, a mainly python based rapid development framework. Myself being focussed on Zend Framework for the moment, I am always curious whether I should move on to the next tool and get into something completely different? I had a little play around with Django and RoR, but in the end I didn't really wanted to invest the time to get that darn mod_python or to learn a whole new language. Unless someone wants me to do it while I get paid for it, that is ... anyone?

However, if you already struggle with the diversity of js toolkits, it gets even worse when you look at the vast amount of MVC style frameworks that run on the server. At the moment I am working together with a team of Perl developers, and they use Catalyst, a Perl based one that I hadn't heard of before, either.

But the choices are endless, the egos fired up, and some people even say that the search is over. Well, until the next fashionable paradigm comes up, that is ... but before we get there, we can watch the frameworks battle each other.


  • The egos ARE massive, luckily they sometimes match the person\'s talent. I remember when I wrongly invested half of a \"working from home\" day into reading about the internal quarrels in CakePHP (which ultimately tipped the scale for me to leave it in favour of Zend), and the not-so-private drama of one badmouthing mootools dev member.

    Regarding framework battles and the new kids on the block: there\'s always plenty of competition and not all comparisons age well. For quite a while I thought that Moo.FX had the best community to learn the framework and extend the code. At the time only prototype seemed to have some maturity, but the name alone made it terribly hard to google any code snippets, examples or tutorials, I couldn\'t be bothered. I don\'t think anyone would sit at their desk today and try to make a decision between these two, they\'ve both lost so much ground to industrial heavy-weights YUI and Dojo and crowd-pleaser jQuery.

    The call for unifying elements of different frameworks (you mention Sizzle) isn\'t all new, and I think it\'s an interesting development of events. I can\'t quite remember when I read about it the first time, but I seem to be reading about it every time there is a serious attempt at speed and/or feature comparisons between frameworks, when the heads behind the projects talk to each other publicly. It\'s like a wave: Each project develops in their own ways and direction, and if they\'re smart, they look left and right once in a while and pick up the useful work of others (read: competitors) for their own benefit. Open source magic!

    by Matthias Willerich on December 7 2008, 22:25 #

  • For a canvas-based editor look at Pixastic:

    by Mark Finkle on December 7 2008, 06:42 #

  • I just found the link about the parting CakePHP member. If you dive into the back story, it reads like an amazing Schlammschlacht (er, mud-slingling or something like that in English, but the German term matches the situation SO nicely...).

    by Matthias Willerich on December 7 2008, 22:32 #