HTML 5 run tracking application

Download the src(github)
View the demo

The github repo has been updated. Some of the code will not match what is currently in the repo.

An idea that I have had for awhile is a RunKeeper like application that runs completely in the browser. This is not due to any inherit issues with the RunKeeper application, just more of a proof-of-concept. HTML 5 makes this easy. We can save old runs and run without an Internet connection making it almost a native app.

The only phone I have tested this with is an iPhone 4S as that is the only phone I have access to. It should work with an iPhone 4 and possibly a 3GS, but I cannot say for sure. Android should work as well as it should support everything I am doing with HTML 5 and javascript. Desktops can also try it out if you are using any modern browser: Chrome, FireFox, or Safari. You won’t get a path and possibly get an error if your browser cannot get a location. I have tested it in IE and it does not work. I have no plans to try and make it work as the only place I was trying to make it work was the iPhone. Although not supporting IE has made the code a lot cleaner.

RunKeeper in the browser: RunBrowser

HTML 5 – almost a native app

HTML 5 gives us many new methods to make a webpage an application. Before HTML 5 there were many workarounds to make a webpage do what we wanted it to. Now they are built right into the browser. The first thing I am going to cover is application cache. Continue reading “HTML 5 run tracking application”

Facebook SDK and Backbone – Final Post

Download the src(github)
View the demo

This really is the final installment of this. I have shown how to use the router and views to make a site that is only one page of HTML, but still has back button functionality. Each view is tied to a Facebook API query in which I load different elements on to the page. I have a few different ways in the code that you can do this. I would like to say it is for instructional purposes, but it is actually because I was trying different methods and I did not want to go back through and update all the other views and routes.

I will show how to deal with paged data and some other tricks

Paged Facebook Data

Let’s use photos for example. To see what would be returned for an API call to /me/photos we will use the Graph API explorer. You will see that there are two top level keys data and paging. Inside of data is all the information about each photo. In the lofPictureView I loop through the photos adding them to the page

         for (photo in
    			var test = "<li>";
    			test += "<img src=\"" +[photo].source + "\" class=\"fb-pics\">";
    				test += "COMMENTS: " +[photo];
    			test += "</li>";


I create a list item that has an img tag and then I check for comments and let you know how many there are. If you wanted to add different information you can look through the object in the Graph API explorer and see what is available to use. Now let’s look at the paging data. This is pretty straight forward. The previous attribute has the URL for previous photos and the next has the URL for the next photos. First thing I do is see if these attributes are present and then I create a button for them.

	    		var prevButton = document.createElement('button');
	    		prevButton.innerHTML = 'PREVIOUS'; = 'prevPage';
	    		var nextButton = document.createElement('button');
	    		nextButton.innerHTML = 'NEXT'; = 'nextPage';

Earlier in the Backbone view object we created click events for a button that has the id of prevPage and a button that has the id of nextPage that call functions with the same name as each id.

		events: {
			'click button#nextPage' : 'nextPage',
			'click button#prevPage'	: 'prevPage'

Inside of these functions is the first gotcha. I am using jQuery’s getJson function. We want this to be JSONP and not plain old JSON. Why JSONP? Remy Sharp explains it best, “JSONP is script tag injection, passing the response from the server in to a user specified function”. We want to use this data in an anonymous function call and we need it to be JSONP. Using jQuery’s documentation we see that if we add callback=? the request will be treated as JSONP. In my functions we add callback=? and we get an object back that we can use.

    	nextPage: function(){
    		var This = this;
			$.getJSON( + '&callback=?', function(response){
				loadPhoto(response, This.options.currUser);
    	prevPage: function(){
    		var This = this;
			$.getJSON(this.model.paging.previous + '&callback=?', function(response){
				loadPhoto(response, This.options.currUser);

You can see that we use the data returned to load another lofPhotoView of new pictures. We also pass the cached user object through the closure This.options.currUser.

Backbone Event Target

In the lofPostView I have a list of a person’s last posts. I put an attribute of data-post-id equal to the post id so that I can retrieve it. The issue comes in when you want to have access to that element and retrieve the data-post-id attribute. Backbone passes the event as a parameter so that you can pull into your function and use it. This Stackoverflow question shows how to use it. Once you have the target you can ask for the data-post-id attribute. There is one issue with this particular setup, sometimes the click will be on a div inside the li. The div does not have the attribute so we cannot grab the data from there as it does not have the attribute. We can either put this attribute on all child elements or we can test to see if the attribute is present and if not grab it from the parent. Here is the code in the lofPostView where I do that.

    	post: function(ev){
    			var postid = $('li').attr('data-post-id')
    			var postid = $('data-post-id');
    		window.location.hash = '/post/' + postid;

I am sure there are better ways to do what I did. If you know of one of the ways let me know. You can leave a comment or even fork the project on github.

Google Music, I mean Play, as an App on Windows 7

I have been using Google Music ever since I was able to get an account. I have already synced all the my music to it. It works great in my browser. I have one issue though. This:
Multiple Tabs
It becomes just another tab in my browser. It could even be just another tab in just another instance of Chrome. This is a pain. A song I don’t like comes up and I want to go to the next or my phone rings and I need to pause the song. It is a firstworldproblem, but annoying nonetheless.

I wanted to make it more of an app. It should have its own spot in my taskbar. Because I run Windows 7 it should pinned as well so it is always there.

Chrome to the rescue

Google Chrome makes this easy. Navigate to your Google Music page Click the little wrench > Tools > Create application shortcuts. You should get a window that pops up letting you choose where to put the shortcut.Google Music Application Shortcut

It will now work just like any other application and have its own spot in your taskbar.

Facebook SDK with Backbone – pt 3

Download the src(github)
View the demo

I am back to finally finish this off. We are going to dive into Backbone and how we use it to create this application. I want to note up front that this is not a great tutorial for Backbone. The reason being is that I don’t use any of the model aspects of Backbone. I use it for event binding and creating views. In this context it makes sense as our model is Facebook. Another thing to note is that this uses Backbone version 0.5.3 when as of right now it is at version 0.9. It looks like it should work after being upgraded, but I haven’t tested it yet. Well let’s get started.

Finally we are getting to the backbone of this app


Backbone is a javascript library that creates an MVC(Model, View, Controller) structure. Earlier I said this was not a great tutorial and that is because we are only using the view and controller portions of backbone. The model is coming from Facebook. We probably could abstract this out and create a backbone model for Facebook, but I chose just to use the Facebook API directly. Continue reading “Facebook SDK with Backbone – pt 3”

Facebook SDK using only javascript – pt 2

Download the src(github)
View the demo

I know it has been awhile. Christmas came and proceeded to fill up a lot of my time. I am back, though, to finish this tutorial. We left off at the HTML skeleton. Remember this is just an outline of where we are going to put our real content. This content we will fetch from Facebook through Facebook’s SDK and then throw it up on the screen. Let’s get on to using the Facebook JavaScript SDK.

This part will cover setting up the Facebook SDK, initializing the SDK, and getting users authenticated.

Facebook SDK setup

We covered this in the last post, but I will touch on it again. We are going to use XFBML. Facebook used to have FBML, but they have deprecated this. We use XFBML to create the login button. If you look at Facebook’s Social Plugins you will see that you can implement many of them through the javascript SDK and XFBML. The last post had the old way of doing it, but here is the new updated way (it’s not much different):

<html xmlns:fb="">

Continue reading “Facebook SDK using only javascript – pt 2”

Facebook SDK using only javascript – pt 1

Download the src(github)
View the demo

This is a continuation of my last post. My re-immersion into NES games started me down the path of an 8-bit web browser. This project is not a full 8-bit browser, but rather just viewing Facebook. It uses javascript and only javascript. There is a skeleton of HTML elements for javscript to build the content. It uses the Facebook js SDK,  backbone.js is used to build the content, pixelize to pixelize the photos, and jquery for ease.

It uses javascript and only javascript

Setup your Facebook App

First thing you will need to do is to create an app through Facebook. Start at the Facebook Developers site. There will be a button to create a new app. A modal window will popup. Fill this out.You may have to play with the App namespace to find something that isn’t taken. Continue reading “Facebook SDK using only javascript – pt 1”

Pixelize photos with HTML 5 canvas and Javascript

Download the src(github)
View the demo

This library came about because of a my purchase of an NES. It lead me to wonder what would a browser look like on the NES? The first thing would be that all the photos would be pixelized. I wanted to use the canvas element of HTML 5. I didn’t want to go through every pixel of the photo to do the pixelization, I just wanted to shrink the image down and then blow it back up to create ‘natural’ pixelization.

What would a browser look like on the NES?

The canvas element

Canvas is a new element that was part of HTML5. Canvas opens a lot of doors in HTML5 and there are a lot of amazing examples of what is possible with the canvas element, but we are only using a small portion of it’s capabilities. We can add a canvas to a web page very easily

<canvas id="myCanvas" width="500" height="500">Fallback content</canvas>

We can now manipulate it with Javascript. First thing is to get a reference Continue reading “Pixelize photos with HTML 5 canvas and Javascript”

Facebook SDK inside of Zend Framework Tutorial

Download the src(github)
View the demo

This tutorial should show you how to take a Zend Framework project and easily add the Facebook SDK to it. You will be able easily make calls to either the Javascript or PHP SDK and also use Facebook’s new Graph API. Let’s get started. Don’t worry if you don’t have Zend Framework or don’t want to use it as I will cover how to do this outside of Zend as well.

It doesn’t matter if use Zend or not, you can follow along and use the code in your project as well.

Setup Zend Framework

First thing to do is download the latest version of Zend Framework. It is a free download, but you will have to create an account. If you don’t use Zend Framework (ZF from here on out) you really should. It is very extensible and versatile. I won’t continue to try and sell you on ZF (and most likely you already are using it).

Next thing to do is setup a project (of course if you have a project just use that). I won’t go into how to do this, but there is a great quickstart tutorial on Zend’s site that is a great introduction if you haven’t used ZF before.

You should now have the default ZF page if all is working correctly.

This should be familiar to you.
This should be familiar to you.

Download the Facebook SDK

Continue reading “Facebook SDK inside of Zend Framework Tutorial”