Super Mario in JavaScript!

I was just reading this post on Arcade games and nostalgia on Coding Horror when I just came across this amazing implementation of the classic Super Mario game in JavaScript at nihilogic!! Everthing about the game is in JavaScript including the sound version which is supposedly base64 encoded! And to top it all, it is written in only 14KB of code! An amazing feat indeed.

Everything about the game is in JavaScript with no images or audio files used as quoted above. I tried my hand in it and the game was pretty decent enough, but the point here is not the game, but the fact that you can do so much using just a little JavaScript!

Check out the post here and the games with audio, without audio, with audio(2x size) and without audio(2x size).

But when it comes to Standards, Sorry Mario, but our Princess is in another castle!

Spry – Adobe Labs

I just came across Adobe Lab’s AJAX offering, titled Spry. Creating dynamic applications seems to be a breeze for non-programmers and time-saving for regular programmers. This is a completely client-side set of libraries with no dependency on any other downloadable or server side component.

A good set of demos are provided alongwith code samples that show how easy it would be to deploy Rich Internet Applications that can be rapidly developed by mashing up components from Spry to come up with your final RIA. Quite a few visual effects top up the icing on the cake. Spry also has pre-built widgets which you can customize out of the box. Quite a lot of other widgets that aid in form validation are also provided making it easier to validate form input too.

Just to refresh my memory, I checked out OpenLaszlo, another open source framework for RIAs, the last time I saw it, it seemed to be relying overly on Flash, but on my latest visit, found that there was rendering in DHTML too from version 4 onwards. Though I am not a critic of Macromedia Flash, er Adobe Flash, there are many things that can be achieved without going for plugins like Flash, which ultimately lies with the way the designer designs the system choosing whether or not to implement plugins for simple functionality.

Check out Spry here.

Standards. Standards. Burp.

I have been implementing some Web Services on WebSphere DataPower and it is almost a breeze in most cases, with the majority of the development time spent in coding the XSLs for transformation and the rest configuring and setting up appropriate error handling mechanisms. Even the binary to XML, XML to binary transformations can be simplified using tools such as WebSphere Transformation Extender or Contivo’s Analyst. All of these just leave you in a state of disjoint harmony, you absolutely like the fact that life’s made easy for you, while at the same time cringe on knowing that if you had done it by yourself, you would have learnt two(or a million) more new things today! We shall take that up for some other day, coming to standards now.

Standards and Web Browsers will definitely be remembered for a long long time to come. I was just reading this entry on Joel Spolsky’s blog on how the developers of IE8 are mulling over strict standards settings or to allow for default IE7 style behaviour which is not that strict when it comes to standards.

If you are a web developer, you must admit that we are all sick of trying to write code to make sites look as close as possible to being similar on all browsers. And with IE being IE(barring the recent move towards ‘standards’ mode), a lot of different hacks needed to be put in place just to get the same look and feel. Let alone JavaScript hacks. Now, with pages numbering in billions all over the Internet, when people go strict all of a sudden when it comes to standards, it really will get a good beating! Sites working previously might not even display! Whew! And as Joel rightly puts it in his post, developers are also to blame for coding code without giving any forethought if their code would actually be standards compliant or not(including me). I have done a lot of CSS and JavaScript coding over the past few months, but each time, barring for a few tests, I really do not do much to see if the code is really standards compliant. Partly since the applications that I built were not for public use and the target audience was well covered in terms of configuration since all of the apps were internal and mostly because I am sick of it. I have had enough searching Google for each and every hack to make a part of the page work as intended in IE, Firefox and Opera.

The list of hacks can become endless, but if you really want to have the cake and eat it too, well.. Never mind. We can probably wait for the next version of HTML, and probably start coding, ‘strictly’ adhering to standards, with the version tag telling all about it, just as all the others put forth, but ultimately, the major responsibility lies with the developer who is coding the pages in the first place, like you me and yeah all of us.

Donate Free Rice – Vocabulary Game

I came across this site via the Instant Messenger status of one of my pals which promises to donate ten grains of rice for every word you get right in their vocabulary game. The game works like this, a word is presented to you with four probable synonyms. You are given the task of choosing one that best relates to the current word. If you answer correctly, ten grains of rice are donated through the United Nations to end World Hunger and as you play, you also get to see a nifty bowl beside with some graphical grains in it!

Fun apart, this seems to be a noble initiative to end world hunger, and all you have to do is play the game! The game is quite interesting I tell you and you get to build your vocabulary too. If you select a wrong option, you are told the right option and are allowed to play again. You can learn a lot of new words this way and I also read that the system automatically guesses your vocabulary level and adjusts accordingly! Cool! And as you keep guessing the right answers, ten grains of rice are donated for each correct guess!
I played for a few rounds and had some 100 grains in my basket when I was curious as to how this was being funded. I noticed ads at the bottom from some biggies like American Express and just checked the FAQs and found that the rice was sponsored by the ads! Way to go guys, A noble initiative for a noble cause!

Start donating free rice NOW!

The Arrow of Time

During one of my sojourns on the Internet, I came across this web page, aptly titled “The Arrow of Time”. It is a web page which was put up by an Argentinian Photographer, Diego Golberg where he and his family took a picture of themselves every year on the 17th of June since 1976. The web page becomes a snapshot of them in time as every year rushes by.

The page has pictures of the couple from 1976 till 2007 as of now! We have to wait till June 17th 2008 to see the next round of updates! Makes me feel like taking a photo of myself every year too!

Check out this page and wish you a very Happy Diwali guys!

Google – Indian Languages Realtime Transliteration

Some days back, I checked out the Google Indic Transliteration service. I was amazed at the way the guys have implemented it!! It is dissimilar from most other transliteration services in many ways. Here, you get the word in your selected language, say tamil the moment you type a word in english and hit the space bar or a punctuation symbol. If the spelling appears incorrect, clicking on the word gives you more suggestions and the word can also be edited as needed.

I found that it worked like a charm for most words, which I verified with some of my friends as I am weak in Tamil. Hindi seemed to work fine too and a friend of mine said Kannada was also transliterating to their respective correct spellings! Way to go guys!! The languages currently supported by this application are Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam. It works better if you type a word in English which a English speaking person would pronounce correctly, for example, in tamil, the word “portions”(English) would not transliterate correctly, but typing “poshuns” seemed to do the job >:-)

Check out Google Indic Transliteration!

The Earth and other heavenly bodies comparison

I came across this interesting page which showed a visual representation of the size of the Earth compared to other planets, then the size of each of the planets compared with the size of the sun and so on.

You will be able to see that as we begin to include bigger and bigger heavenly objects, the Earth seems kind of insignificant amongst all the other mighty heavenly bodies!! Quite interesting, Check it out!

Click here to view the comparisons.