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Live coding in VR with the Oculus Rift, Firefox WebVR,...

19 days ago


Live coding in VR with the Oculus Rift, Firefox WebVR, JavaScript and Three.js

"I built a live-coding web app for the Oculus Rift where you code in JavaScript using Three.js and watch the world change around you in real-time."

PermalinkCommentsvideo programming javascript 3d vr oculus-rift technical

Houston, We Have A Public Domain Problem

Jun 24, 3:18

A bogus SoundCloud takedown anecdote and a brief history of and issues with US copyright law.

Another reminder that the rest of the Western world has a public domain day every year in which new IP enters the public domain

PermalinkCommentslaw copyright

JS NICE: Statistical renaming, Type inference and Deobfuscation

Jun 3, 9:36

JS NICE | Software Reliability Lab in ETH

JS NICE has indexed over 10,000 JavaScript projects from GitHub and then probabilistically infers newly suggested names and types for all of the local variables and function parameters of new JS.

PermalinkCommentstechnical javascript js coding

gitfiti - github contributions pane pixel art

Jun 2, 8:07

gitfiti - abusing github commit history for the lulz

A script that abuses github submissions to draw pixel art in your github contributions pane.

PermalinkCommentstechnical humor github pixel art

Cloud Share - New App

May 23, 4:06

I've put a new app on the Windows Store: Cloud Share. It connects the web to your Windows 8 share charm.

I did the development on GitHub and quite enjoyed myself. I wasn't sure I liked the game-ification of development in GitHub's dashboard showing you your longest development streak in days. However I realized that it encourages me to do work on my personal project and anything that aids in holding my attention on and helping me finish these projects is a good thing.

PermalinkCommentsdevelopment github javascript JS technical windows

Debugging anecdote - the color transparent black breaks accessibility

May 22, 10:36

Some time back while I was working on getting the Javascript Windows Store app platform running on Windows Phone (now available on the last Windows Phone release!) I had an interesting bug that in retrospect is amusing.

I had just finished a work item to get accessibility working for JS WinPhone apps when I got a new bug: With some set of JS apps, accessibility appeared to be totally broken. At that time in development the only mechanism we had to test accessibility was a test tool that runs on the PC, connects to the phone, and dumps out the accessibility tree of whatever app is running on the phone. In this bug, the tool would spin for a while and then timeout with an error and no accessibility information.

My first thought was this was an issue in my new accessibility code. However, debugging with breakpoints on my code I could see none of my code was run nor the code that should call it. The code that called that code was a more generic messaging system that hit my breakpoints constantly.

Rather than trying to work backward from the failure point, I decided to try and narrow down the repro and work forwards from there. One thing all the apps with the bug had in common was their usage of WinJS, but not all WinJS apps demonstrated the issue. Using a binary search approach on one such app I removed unrelated app code until all that was left was the app's usage of the WinJS AppBar and the bug still occurred. I replaced the WinJS AppBar usage with direct usage of the underlying AppBar WinRT APIs and continued.

Only some calls to the AppBar WinRT object produced the issue:

        var appBar = Windows.UI.WebUI.Core.WebUICommandBar.getForCurrentView(); 
// appBar.opacity = 1;
// appBar.closeDisplayMode = Windows.UI.WebUI.Core.WebUICommandBarClosedDisplayMode.default;
appBar.backgroundColor = Windows.UI.Colors.white; // Bug!
Just setting the background color appeared to cause the issue and I didn't even have to display the AppBar. Through additional trial and error I was blown away to discover that some colors I would set caused the issue and other colors did not. Black wouldn't cause the issue but transparent black would. So would aqua but not white.

I eventually realized that predefined WinRT color values like Windows.UI.Colors.aqua would cause the issue while JS literal based colors didn't cause the issue (Windows.UI.Color is a WinRT struct which projects in JS as a JS literal object with the struct members as JS object properties so its easy to write something like {r: 0, g: 0, b: 0, a: 0} to make a color) and I had been mixing both in my tests without realizing there would be a difference. I debugged into the backgroundColor property setter that consumed the WinRT color struct to see what was different between Windows.UI.Colors.black and {a: 1, r: 0, g: 0, b: 0} and found the two structs to be byte wise exactly the same.

On a hunch I tried my test app with only a reference to the color and otherwise no interaction with the AppBar and not doing anything with the actual reference to the color: Windows.UI.Colors.black;. This too caused the issue. I knew that the implementation for these WinRT const values live in a DLL and guessed that something in the code to create these predefined colors was causing the issue. I debugged in and no luck. Now I also have experienced crusty code that would do exciting things in its DllMain, the function that's called when a DLL is loaded into the process so I tried modifying my C++ code to simply LoadLibrary the DLL containing the WinRT color definition, windows.ui.xaml.dll and found the bug still occurred! A short lived moment of relief as the world seemed to make sense again.

Debugging into DllMain nothing interesting happened. There were interesting calls in there to be sure, but all of them behind conditions that were false. I was again stumped. On another hunch I tried renaming the DLL and only LoadLibrary'ing it and the bug went away. I took a different DLL renamed it windows.ui.xaml.dll and tried LoadLibrary'ing that and the bug came back. Just the name of the DLL was causing the issue.

I searched for the DLL name in our source code index and found hits in the accessibility tool. Grinning I opened the source to find that the accessibility tool's phone side service was trying to determine if a process belonged to a XAML app or not because XAML apps had a different accessibility contract. It did this by checking to see if windows.ui.xaml.dll was loaded in the target process.

At this point I got to fix my main issue and open several new bugs for the variety of problems I had just run into. This is a how to on writing software that is difficult to debug.

PermalinkCommentsbug debug javascript JS technical windows winrt

location.hash and location.search are bad and they should feel bad

May 22, 9:25
The DOM location interface exposes the HTML document's URI parsed into its properties. However, it is ancient and has problems that bug me but otherwise rarely show up in the real world. Complaining about mostly theoretical issues is why blogging exists, so here goes:
  • The location object's search, hash, and protocol properties are all misnomers that lead to confusion about the correct terms:
    • The 'search' property returns the URI's query property. The query property isn't limited to containing search terms.
    • The 'hash' property returns the URI's fragment property. This one is just named after its delimiter. It should be called the fragment.
    • The 'protocol' property returns the URI's scheme property. A URI's scheme isn't necessarily a protocol. The http URI scheme of course uses the HTTP protocol, but the https URI scheme is the HTTP protocol over SSL/TLS - there is no HTTPS protocol. Similarly for something like mailto - there is no mailto wire protocol.
  • The 'hash' and 'search' location properties both return null in the case that their corresponding URI property doesn't exist or if its the empty string. A URI with no query property and a URI with an empty string query property that are otherwise the same, are not equal URIs and are allowed by HTTP to return different content. Similarly for the fragment. Unless the specific URI scheme defines otherwise, an empty query or hash isn't the same as no query or hash.
But like complaining about the number of minutes in an hour none of this can ever change without huge compat issues on the web. Accordingly I can only give my thanks to Anne van Kesteren and the awesome work on the URL standard moving towards a more sane (but still working practically within the constraints of compat) location object and URI parsing in the browser.
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URI Design and Ownership - IETF Draft

May 21, 2:06

URI Design & Ownership - On the issues with and alternatives to requiring well known filenames and extensions in URIs. You must love the draft’s URI.

PermalinkCommentstechnical uri

The Doritos origin story: Repurposed garbage from Disneyland

May 6, 7:16

shortformblog:

A reminder that those Doritos you love are trash:

Shortly after Disneyland opened in 1955, the founder of Frito-Lay got permission from Walt Disney to open a restaurant in Frontierland with a Mexican-ish theme. “Casa de Fritos” was, unsurprisingly, all about the Fritos. Customers got free Fritos, and Fritos were incorporated into many of the dishes. Fritos were dispensed by an animatronic vending machine that featured the terrifying “Frito Kid”asking his assistant “Klondike” to bring the bag up from a mineshaft. I guess the conceit is that Fritos were mined by Forty-Niners?

Casa de Fritos contracted their tortilla production to a company called Alex Foods. One of the salesmen from Alex Foods, making a delivery to Casa de Fritos, noticed stale tortillas in the garbage and gave the cook a little tip: fry them and sell them as chips instead of throwing them away. Casa de Fritos began making these fried, seasoned chips to enormous success, but didn’t report this new menu item to the Frito-Lay company.

Eventually Frito-Lay found out what they were doing with the chips, packaged them, and sold them by the truckload. See, dumpster diving works out sometimes!

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Creating type-safe properties with ECMAScript 6 proxies | NCZOnline

Apr 30, 9:12

Clearly the one JS feature we all agree on is ubiquity.

After some experimentation, I discovered that it’s possible to add type safety to JavaScript objects [via ES6 proxies] with just a few lines of code.

PermalinkCommentstechnical javascript es6 proxies

Internet Archive lets you play one of the earliest computer...

Apr 28, 9:39


Internet Archive lets you play one of the earliest computer games Space War! emulated in JavaScript in the browser.

This entry covers the historical context of Space War!, and instructions for working with our in-browser emulator. The system doesn’t require installed plugins (although a more powerful machine and recent browser version is suggested).

The JSMESS emulator (a conversion of the larger MESS project) also contains a real-time portrayal of the lights and switches of a Digital PDP-1, as well as links to documentation and manuals for this $800,000 (2014 dollars) minicomputer.

PermalinkCommentscomputer-game game video-game history internet-archive

Untrusted - a user javascript adventure game

Apr 8, 6:53

The game is to figure out what constrained modifications you must make to beat the game.

PermalinkCommentstechnical programming javascript game

honeysweetsugaricklepie: Uhh has anyone notice Garry Marshall’s...

Feb 24, 11:57


honeysweetsugaricklepie:

Uhh has anyone notice Garry Marshall’s Wikipedia page?

Hahaha

Wiki user ‘Gillian Marshal’ (http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Garry_Marshall&diff=prev&oldid=596787114) updated his page yesterday. Nice and subtle only editing the summary section on the right.

PermalinkCommentsgary-marshal humor wikipedia gillian-jacobs gillian-marshal comedy-bang-bang

Promises/A+

2013 Dec 17, 9:03

What is good and common of all JS promise designs collected as Promises/A+

Promises/A+

An open standard for sound, interoperable JavaScript promises—by implementers, for implementers.

PermalinkCommentstechnical javascript

JavaScript Promises: There and back again - HTML5 Rocks

2013 Dec 17, 9:02

The ES6 form of Promises.

PermalinkCommentstechnical javascript

harmony:generators [ES Wiki]

2013 Dec 17, 9:01

Adds the yield keyword enabling you to write JS code that sort of looks like C# await.

Overview

First-class coroutines, represented as objects encapsulating suspended execution contexts (i.e., function activations). Prior art: Python, Icon, Lua, Scheme, Smalltalk.

PermalinkCommentstechnical javascript

FitBit and WebOC Application Compatibility Errors

2013 Aug 29, 7:17
I just got a FitBit One from my wife. Unfortunately I had issues running their app on my Windows 8.1 Preview machine. But I recognized the errors as IE compatibility issues, for instance an IE dialog popup from the FitBit app telling me about an error in the app's JavaScript. Given my previous post on WebOC versioning you may guess what I tried next. I went into the registry and tried out different browser mode and document mode versions until I got the FitBit software running without error. Ultimately I found the following registry value to work well ('FitBit connect.exe' set to DWORD decimal 8888).
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main\FeatureControl\FEATURE_BROWSER_EMULATION]
"Fitbit Connect.exe"=dword:000022b8

For those familiar with the Windows registry the above should be enough. For those not familiar, copy and paste the above into notepad, save as a file named "fitbit.reg", and then double click the reg file and say 'Yes' to the prompt. Hopefully in the final release of Windows 8.1 this won't be an issue.
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Serializing JavaScript Promise Execution

2013 Aug 10, 3:07
Occasionally I have need to run a set of unrelated promises in series, for instance an object dealing with a WinRT camera API that can only execute one async operation at a time, or an object handling postMessage message events and must resolve associated async operations in the same order it received the requests. The solution is very simply to keep track of the last promise and when adding a new promise in serial add a continuation of the last promise to execute the new promise and point the last promise at the result. I encapsulate the simple solution in a�simple constructor:

    function PromiseExecutionSerializer() {
var lastPromise = WinJS.Promise.wrap(); // Start with an empty fulfilled promise.

this.addPromiseForSerializedExecution = function(promiseFunction) {
lastPromise = lastPromise.then(function () {
// Don't call directly so next promise doesn't get previous result parameter.
return promiseFunction();
});
}
}

The only thing to watch out for is to ensure you don't pass the result of a previous promise onto a subsequent promise that is unrelated.
PermalinkCommentsasync javascript promise technical

Pixel Perfect Timing Attacks with HTML5 - Context » Information Security

2013 Aug 7, 8:25PermalinkCommentssecurity html html5 svg javascript requestAnimationFrame iframe

Considerate MessagePort Usage

2013 Aug 7, 7:14
Sharing by leezie5. Two squirrels sharing food hanging from a bird feeder. Used under Creative Commons license Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic.When writing a JavaScript library that uses postMessage and the message event, I must be considerate of other JS code that will be running along side my library. I shouldn't assume I'm the only sender and receiver on a caller provided MessagePort object. This means obviously I should use addEventListener("message" rather than the onmessage property (see related What if two programs did this?). But considering the actual messages traveling over the message channel I have the issue of accidentally processing another libraries messages and having another library accidentally process my own message. I have a few options for playing nice in this regard:
Require a caller provided unique MessagePort
This solves the problem but puts a lot of work on the caller who may not notice nor follow this requirement.
Uniquely mark my messages
To ensure I'm acting upon my own messages and not messages that happen to have similar properties as my own, I place a 'type' property on my postMessage data with a value of a URN unique to me and my JS library. Usually because its easy I use a UUID URN. There's no way someone will coincidentally produce this same URN. With this I can be sure I'm not processing someone else's messages. Of course there's no way to modify my postMessage data to prevent another library from accidentally processing my messages as their own. I can only hope they take similar steps as this and see that my messages are not their own.
Use caller provided MessagePort only to upgrade to new unique MessagePort
I can also make my own unique MessagePort for which only my library will have the end points. This does still require the caller to provide an initial message channel over which I can communicate my new unique MessagePort which means I still have the problems above. However it clearly reduces the surface area of the problem since I only need once message to communicate the new MessagePort.
The best solution is likely all of the above.
Photo is Sharing by leezie5. Two squirrels sharing food hanging from a bird feeder. Used under Creative Commons license Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic.
PermalinkCommentsDOM html javascript messagechannel postMessage programming technical
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