What is it?
Developers often use it for games, but it is finally gaining visibility across the web. It is now being used for map visualizations, charting data and presentations.
Some history behind
WebGL emerged of the Canvas 3D experiments started by Vladimir Vukićević at Mozilla. He first demonstrated a Canvas 3D prototype in 2006. By the end of 2007, both Mozilla and Opera had made their own separate implementations. In early 2009, the non-profit technology consortium Khronos Group started the WebGL Working Group, with initial participation from Apple, Google, Mozilla, Opera, and others. Version 1.0 of the WebGL specification was released March 2011. Early applications of WebGL include Zygote Body. In November 2012 Autodesk announced that they ported most of their applications to the cloud running on local WebGL clients. These applications included Fusion 360 and AutoCAD 360. Development of the WebGL 2 specification started in 2013. This specification is based on OpenGL ES 3.0.
What is WebGL Doing?
WebGL has three distinct advantages over writing code that simply manipulates the DOM:
- Performance. Using hardware acceleration (with GPU being built into your device), WebGL is a great fit for games as well as complex visualizations.
- Shaders. Complex visual effects can be done with small programs – “shaders”. This may be very simple things (such as producing a sepia coloring effect), or more complex simulations (such as water or flames).
How to start?
Here are the essentials steps to create your first WebGL project:
1. Create “canvas” element
2. Obtain drawing context
3. Initialize viewport
4. Create buffers
5. Create matrices
6. Create shaders
7. Initialize shaders
8. Draw primitives
This could sound like a lot of work, so please have a look at some of the engines and frameworks that could be of help.
Engines and Frameworks
It is an open source engine which includes a number of options, along with an editor which helps visualize your changes as you make them. Some useful experiences they highlight include brand experiences for viewing high performance cars, as well as playable ads which you can insert into applications.
It offers a 2D and 3D engine for developers to build, publish, and monetize games on their platform. Founded by former developers at Electronic Arts, this tool is also open source under the MIT License. You could download and build the latest Turbulenz Engine directly from the Github public repository. This includes everything from rendering effects and particles, to physics, animations, audio, inputs, and networking.
It is a devoted rendering engine. There are a host of other engines covering game, sound and physics etc. and they all work beautifully with Pixi. It also has a number of added benefits including render auto-detect to fallback to Canvas when necessary, text support via bitmap (sprites) or webfont, as well as an asset loader.
It is a powerful ground breaking HTML5 game creator designed specifically for 2D games. It allows anyone to build games as no coding is required.
PhiloGL is a WebGL Framework for Data Visualization, Creative Coding and Game Development from Sencha Labs people. All lessons from Learning WebGL have been ported into the PhiloGL Framework. This is a great starting point for people wanting to learn PhiloGL and/or WebGL as well. This is also licensed under the MIT License.
Where else is WebGL used?
WebGL has not only been used in 3D web design and gaming, but also by some researchers for scientific purposes. For example, in a book named “Cellular Automata” the authors have used this technology to simulate Debris flow for the article “Visualization of molecular structures using state-of-the-art techniques in WebGL” tried to simulate molecules with it. More basic examples like simulation of the solar system are made many times by developers.
NASA developed an interactive web application called Experience Curiosity to celebrate the 3rd anniversary of the Curiosity rover landing on Mars. This Blend4Web-based app makes it possible to operate the rover, control its cameras and the robotic arm and reproduces some of the prominent events of the Mars Science Laboratory mission. The application was presented at the beginning of the WebGL section at SIGGRAPH 2015.
Hope the information about WebGL was useful for you Have you ever used it? If yes, how was your experience? Please feel free to share your comments and thoughts in the comments below.
Posted September 10, 2015on:
– Prototype-based Inheritance
– Asynchronous event-driven programming
– Functions as objects
Frameworks and Libraries
Open-source web application framework. It aims to simplify both the development and the testing of such applications by providing a framework for client-sidemodel–view–controller (MVC) and model–view–viewmodel (MVVM) architectures, along with components commonly used in rich Internet applications.
3) Meteor (MeteorJS)
6) Ext JS (Sencha Ext JS)
7) D3.js (D3)
The competition in the server side programming department is getting tougher with each month, especially with the recent popularity of NodeJS. However let`s look how everything began.
PHP appeared about 20 years ago, in 1995 and ever since then it has been a number one language for back-end developers and has gathered a big community behind it. For a long time there wasn’t any good reason why not to use PHP: it`s rather easy to use PHP, it`s supported by the majority of hosting companies and it has become the most commonly used language in terms of number of websites powered by it.
Of course, everyone has his own truth: one coder will praise the speed of NodeJS while the other will be devoted to the stability and long history of PHP. But let`s have a look at strong sides of both for you to decide whether to concern yourself with the so popular nowadays NodeJS or not.
PHP strong sides:
– Huge community and tons of materials for all programmers, from a beginner to an advanced coder.
– Deep code base. The most popular platforms for building websites (WordPress, Drupal, Joomla) are written in PHP. Not only are the platforms open source, but so are most of their plug-ins.
– Easy to find a hosting company. PHP has been the industry standard since the stone age and any hosting company still surviving is bound to be compatible with it. For Node.JS you still need to make a little research.
– Simplicity. PHP can be run inside of the same file as html.
– Speed of coding. For most developers, writing PHP for Web apps feels faster: no compilers, no deployment, no JAR files or preprocessors — just your favorite editor and some PHP files in a directory.
– Mixing code with content. You just open up PHP tags and start writing code. No need for templates, no need for extra files or elaborate architectures.
– No client app is needed. All of the talk about using the same language in the browser and on the server is nice, but what if you don’t need to use any language on the browser? PHP is a way out.
NodeJS strong sides:
– Speed. NodeJS is blazing fast compared to PHP. This is where Node really kicks assJ.
– Separation of Concerns. NodeJS separates fundamental components up giving a clear separation of concern across controllers / routes, models and views.
– New and fresh. It’s newer in comparison to PHP and has been developed by programmers who have full knowledge and understanding of modern web applications, from the server to the client, and that means more modern features.
– JSON. NodeJS is a powerhouse for JSON. Accessing SQL is possible and there’s plenty of plugins that make it possible, but JSON is the lingua franca for interacting with many of the latest NoSQL databases.
– Gridlock. NodeJS uses a callback structure to pass logic from one asynchronous call to the next meaning we never have to worry about spawning new threads or even considering the deadlock process. Almost no function in Node directly performs I/O, so the process never block which is a major implication for scalable systems.
That is a difficult decision when it comes up to decide which language or tool to choose. But NodeJS worth considering and it`s proved by the fact that Node is getting more and more popularity every day. And what is your opinion on NodeJS, is it the future of web?
The IT sector is flourishing. If you’ve used a computer for at least a couple of times in the last few years, you’ve probably noticed this. I’ve noticed it myself even more after a business trip to Stockholm where I was lucky to attend some conferences and learnt more about Swedish IT industry tendencies. These tendencies reflect our life in general. Life changes rapidly with new technologies bursting into it. And when it comes to programming languages, we get a chance to see very different trendy styles. Programming languages which were popular some years ago are not useful today. And no one can exactly predict which programming language will be popular in future. That’s why a programmer who wants to stay in developer fields has to adopt the right programming language from time to time.
As the Swedish software maker Erik Starck pointed out, “programming is about managing complexities”. And it’s really so. An understanding of at least one programming language makes an impressive addition to any CV nowadays.
It is also very difficult to get the exact number of users for any programming language. Many of us use multiple programming languages. The more experience you have, the more programming languages you use. The more programs you write or work with, the chances of using more languages rise. The larger the company, the more languages you’re likely to use.
There are a number of ways to measure the popularity of a programming language, for example, based on the number of: 1) new applications written in the language; 2) existing applications written in the language; 3) developers that use the language primarily; 4) developers that use the language ever; 5) web searches; 6) available jobs that require skills in the language; 7) developers’ favorites, etc.
My survey attempts to rank which programming languages are most popular in Sweden, each using a different measure. So, they are the following:
Python is an object-oriented programming language which allows developers to work quickly while integrating their systems more efficiently and effectively. Designed by Guido van Rossum in 1991, Python is one of the most easy to use programming languages.
Python is characterized by its use of indentation for readability, and its encouragement for elegant code by making developers do similar things in similar ways.
Top Employers: Amazon, Dell, Google, eBay, Instagram, Yahoo
Java is a class-based, object-oriented programming language founded by Sun Microsystems in 1995. Java is one of the most in-demand programming languages today for many reasons. First of all, it is a well-organized language with a strong library of reusable software components. Secondly, programs written in Java can run on many different computer architectures and operating systems because of the use of the JVM (Java virtual machine).
Top Employers: Amazon, Deloitte, Sun, eBay, Symantec Corporation, Cisco Systems, Samsung
C++ is a compiled, multi-paradigm language written as an update to C in 1979 by Bjarne Stroustrup.
Due to its high-level compatibility and object-orientation, C++ is used for developing a wide-range of applications and games which makes it a popular and sought after programming language by the employers.
Top Employers: Intel, the Math Works, Microsoft, Qualcomm, Amazon, Mozilla, Adobe, Volvo
Ruby is an open source, dynamic programming language designed by Yukihiro Matsumoto in 1995 with a key focus on productivity and simplicity .It is one of the most object-oriented languages in the world.
Ruby is a mix of elegant syntax which is easy to read and write and hence it has attracted many organizations and developers.
Top Employers: Spokes, VMware, Accenture, Cap Gemini, Siemens, BBC, NASA
Top Employers: Microsoft, Sales Force, IBM, Yahoo, Dell
C# is a compiled, object-oriented language developed by Microsoft.
It is highly used on Windows platform and labelled as the premium language for Microsoft .NET framework. C# is known for strong typing, procedural and functional programming discipline which is the reason it has acquired so much popularity.
Top Employers: Microsoft, HP, Digi-Key Corporation, Allscripts, Intel
Those are the top 6 programming languages which are in great demand among Swedish developers.
And one more thing: remember that opinions are like noses, everyone has one and they all smell ;) If you disagree, please feel free to email me or write your own opinions in the comments.
- Ideal for complex “client-side” applications, where the complexity is more in a way “components” of an application interacts with each other than in a way they synchronise and/or interact with backend
- Very clear separation of concerns
- Uses concepts that kind of look like the future of HTML/DOM (DOM templates, binding attributes).
- A bit complicated to grasp. A lot of new concepts
- jQuery or another dom parsing framework in directives may be painful to use because of the way angular compiles templates
- Good for application with a big level of complexity on the client side, but you’ll have to learn a lot of new stuff.
On the whole, AngularJS is a robust and viable framework for building generic web apps. Whether it lives up to the expectations of being the most dominant JS framework for web development is yet to be seen.
Backbone came out in June 2010, and its community is nearly as large as Angular’s. Many popular applications such as Twitter, LinkedIn Mobile and Foursquare use Backbone framework. Also a number of music apps were built with Backbone, including well-known Pandora, Soundcloud and Pitchfork.
If you’re working on a single-page application or widget and you’re comfortable with being a self-starter—Backbone is likely the right choice for you.
- Very easy to start with
- Very small
- Free to use any templating engine
- A lot of excellent documentation
- Good Community Support
- Very popular (According to Github, Stackoverflow statistics)
- Very flexible in how you may want to use it
- Minimalist library
- Easy to learn
- No two way data-binding
- Dependency on different frameworks like jQuery and Underscore
- No provision for handling nested views
- More work required to build large scale applications as compared to Angular or Ember
- Code can become messy
- DOM manipulations are left to the developer
- Performs slower than AngularJS
Ember is the newest of the three, but it’s already making waves. LivingSocial, Groupon, Zendesk, Discourse and Square are some of the most well-known applications that have adopted Ember. Ember’s creators say it’s easy to see when a site is using Ember because of its loading speed.
Ember’s library size and support network are its two greatest strengths, but if you’re only trying to create a small widget or single-page app, it might be overkill for you. If you’re working on a multipage, navigational, long-term project, Ember might be the right choice for you.
- Good for long running and complex applications with deep nested view hierarchies
- Aggregates model data changes and update the DOM late in the RunLoop
- Well defined models and computed properties
- Use HandleBars as templating which is flexible
- Provides auto updating computed properties
- Test driven
- Relatively new framework
- Steepest learning curve out of the three
- Payload is the largest out of all three
- Dependency on jQuery and Handlebars
- Poor performance as compared to AngularJS
- Documentation is not very good
- Two way bindings are not implemented well
Even if you only build websites using CMSs, you’ve probably heard the word “framework” before. You’ve probably also heard of a few famous web frameworks, including Ruby on Rails, Django and Bootstrap. Many experienced web developers build websites using frameworks and often find them easier and enjoyable to use.
In this article, we’re going to explain what a framework is, and when you might use a framework.
If you are currently doing one of the Coding Training classes, this information will prove especially useful to you. If you are just using a CMS, this post will still contain some valuable insights, as many CMS systems can and are built using frameworks. For example, Drupal 8 is currently being built on Symfony and Joomla 3 is using the CSS framework Bootstrap.
What is Framework?
The goal of a framework is to allow designers and developers to focus on building the unique features for their project, rather than re-inventing the wheel by coding common, familiar features found across many websites and web applications.
A framework can be considered a pre-built that handles most of the repetitive or common features. As a result, unlike a CMS, a framework will probably not have a template/structure user interface (although this is not always the case, as Django provides an administration interface). Most of the activity will be done by writing code and interacting with different parts of the framework itself through code.
Often frameworks take a while to learn, but once you’re familiar with them, they should speed up your development time.
5 advantages to using a framework:
- Open-source: Most of the popular frameworks in many languages are open-source (or available to use for free). They also come with licensing that isn’t restrictive and allows you to build commercial products using such frameworks
- Documentation and support: Although this can vary (if the language being used is popular and the framework has a lot of developers using it), you can expect that the framework will either have good documentation, good support or both at the same time. It is worth mentioning that “good support” is a subjective issue at times. Typically, paid support will almost always be faster and more concise, but this also depends on the level of activity within the framework – as a framework like Ruby on Rails demonstrates with a massive community, which is renowned for its welcoming nature and good support too.
- Efficiency: This could be considered the most vital reason why frameworks exist. They eliminate the need to write a lot of repetitive code that you will find being used in many different applications. These include, for example, user-authentication and commenting systems. On average (if you have sufficient knowledge using a certain framework) you can expect to build a project in much less time than would be achieved writing code without a framework
- Security: Typically, a framework is developed and tested by many different developers. It is extremely likely that many security risks are addressed and tested when the framework is being built. New security risks can also be addressed and fixed quickly. However, security can also be considered a con, as will be mentioned in that section
- Integration: If you are building almost any type of application (including a website) and you want to store some data, you will typically use a database. Just like a database, there also exists many other tools that link to web development. Many frameworks will thus make it easier to link to these tools and also communicate with them (for example, when “talking to” a database is abstracted away in a certain framework, making communication with the database much easier)
5 disadvantages to using a framework:
- Limitations: Generally, you will not be able to do almost anything with a single framework. They are all restricted in some way, from coding paradigms to database designs and everything in between. A good way to work around this is to see what the framework is being used for by other developers in the community, as this will give you an idea of what you can achieve
- Learning bias: If you decide to learn how to use any framework from some programming language you are familiar with, chances are that what you learn will be somewhat different to the language itself. This is due to the fact that a lot of those repetitive tasks have been created in custom functions and other parts, which is why you will learn such things that may not have existed in the language lessons itself. Apart from that, you may also learn a lot of things that may be irrelevant to you whilst using the framework in real-life, but are necessary to grasp how the framework works
- Steep learning curve: Although this isn’t always the case, most frameworks can be difficult to learn and even more difficult to master. After some simple research into this matter, a university professor said that it will take about 2 years (with no programming background) to become familiar and comfortable using a language (Ruby) combined with a framework (Rails). This may not be the case when being self-taught or having years of programming experience, but I would say that even with experience, at least 3-6 months will be needed to become confident using any framework (based on continuous learning and practice)
- Cost: Frameworks require more development expertise and experience than most CMSs. As a result, it can be more costly to hire reliable framework developers than reliable CMS developers. As the experience shows, the average project built with a framework is more expensive than a similar project built with a CMS.
Examples of popular frameworks
Below are some popular web frameworks (in no particular order) for different web languages. This is not an extensive list, as there exists many more options out there.
Over to you?
Have you built any websites using a framework instead of a CMS?
What were the advantages and disadvantages of going with a framework?
Share your feedback or any other experiences below.