Data, Maps, Usability, and Performance

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10 Interesting updates in PhantomJS 1.7

Updates to PhantomJS

Last week, PhantomJS got an update and you can check out the release notes to see the improvements. I definitly like the generic module update and better cookie handling. Better support for mouse and keyboard related events are also great. But, I am also really looking forward to some of the other features and improvements. These are my top 10:
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Histogram Generator with jqPlot

HTML5 Histogram

Histograms are a great way of visualizing the distribution of data. I use them a lot at work but today I was searching for a histogram generator and did not come up quickly with meaningful results. I did find histogram generators like this but I needed something better. I am pretty familiar with jqPlot so I decided to write my own histogram generator, something a little better than this jsfiddle histogram example.
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HTML5 Web Audio API Demos and Libraries

Web Audio API

As I was putting together my dancerjs demo, I realized that HTML5 has really pushed the ability to work with audio in the browser. I think that was done mostly for HTML5 games but the Web Audio API can really be used to execute some amazing concepts that mix visuals with sound. For example, check out Dinahmoe’s Plink or Jacob Seidelin’s canvas music visualization. If you like these, take a look at Felix Turner’s awesome Audio Reactive Waveform with Web Audio API and Three.js.
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Sound Visualization and DancerJS

DancerJS Demo

Last night, I found Jordan Santell’s DancerJS, a high-level audio API created to make cool visualizations. I was impressed and wanted to make something with it by using the onKick and offKick callbacks. When I started looking at the code, however, I did not like the way it was all put together. I’m not referring to the actual JavaScript code, but just the amount of individual scripts loaded in the main HTML example. I guess it’s a small personal annoyance, but right away I thought that all the necessary Dancer JavaScript code should live in one file and the code that tells DanceJS to do something should be inlined into the html file. That way you can quickly see how everything works and reuse.
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10 Must See HTML5 Games

Best HTML5 Games

I rarely play games but I find it amazing how technology has progressed to a point where you can play awesome games with just HTML5. Most of these games have been developed in flash in previous years but everything is slowly moving to html5 and css3. I was recently amazed at how addictive some of these games are, even the really simple ones. Here is a collection of 10 games that I like the most:
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WordCloud jQuery Plugin

jQuery Tag Cloud Plugin

Recently, I needed to create a tag cloud using JavaScript and I really liked the simplicity of Adam Groves’s Simple Tag Cloud Plugin for JQuery. The problem with this approach is that I did not have a list of tags with numbers for rel (defining how big a tag should be in the cloud). Most jQuery tag cloud plugins out there expect you to already have a generated list of tags with a numerical representation of their importance, and the jQuery code uses these numbers to style the tags with colors and sizes. My code, however, only had a list of tags, where many tags would repeat.
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Curl with NodeJS

NodeJS Curl function

If you are familiar with Curl, the command line tool for transferring data with URL syntax, you might wonder how can that be done with NodeJS. Well, looking at the nodeJS API, it’s clear that HTTP.request gives you something that looks like a Curl equivalent. But, I want to write the response to a file and do some looping so that I can use an array of URLs instead of just making a request to one URL.
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