Thursday, March 8, 2012

Down the Foxhole - ActiveDen

Down the Foxhole - ActiveDen

Link to Envato Notes

Get Jeffrey Way’s Latest Rockable Book: “Decoding HTML5″

Posted: 08 Mar 2012 03:23 AM PST

Have you heard about the latest book by Rockable Press? Written by popular web development teacher Jeffrey Way, “Decoding HTML5” is a must-read for anyone who codes for the Web. It’s a practical guide for designers and developers to jump straight into HTML5 and start using what it has to offer.

Jeffrey explains the goal he had when writing the book:

When I set out to write this book, I had one goal in mind: decipher that incredibly confusing spec into something that any John Q. designer or developer can understand. It's what I wish I had in the beginning.

Have you ever found yourself thinking, "I wish there was somebody who could sit next to me and make me understand this code…because I don't!" I've been in that position countless times. Well, if you can relate, I think this book just might do the trick. Rather than using high level jargon that no beginner could possibly understand, I've done my best to break these complicated concepts into chunks that everyone can grasp.

What’s Inside?

This book is quite exhaustive, yet avoids jargon. Here’s how he has broken complicated concepts into digestible pieces.

  • The History of HTML5Learn how HTML5 came to be…HTML5! You'll learn about the politics and history, as well as the difference between all of those confusing acronyms, like W3C, WHAT WG, and HTML WG.
  • The State of HTML5You've likely heard various reports that HTML5 won't be "ready" until 2022. This couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, HTML5 is ready to use…right now!
  • Semantic MarkupBefore we can learn about the semantic new tags that are available, we must first learn what to remove, and how to ensure that Internet Explorer 8 and below still get to play with the cool kids. Once we've stripped all unnecessary content and attributes, we can shift our focus to the new elements.
  • Easy Queries with the Selectors APIThe Selectors API introduces two new ways to query the DOM. Now we can use the CSS selectors that we're already familiar with to dive into the DOM. JavaScript library users will feel right at home!
  • Custom Data AttributesIn the past, we often resorted to random element attributes for the purposes of containing, or storing data. It wouldn't be uncommon to "communicate" with a script, via a class attribute. A smarter solution is to take advantage of HTML5 custom attributes.
  • Fun Fun FormsPerhaps a bit ironically titled, this chapter will focus on all of the new HTML5 elements and attributes that are available to us. I know, I know; forms are boring. Luckily, HTML5 makes them — not fun — but less boring! If you've ever found yourself setting default placeholder text, performing client-side validation, or using date picker plugins, you've no doubt had first-hand experience with the limitations of the browser. Though it's taking a bit longer than we might hope, browsers are beginning to come around, with Opera and Webkit leading the pack.
  • The Essentials of Feature DetectionWhile ultimately I will recommend that you use a tool called Modernizr to perform feature tests, it's certainly important to understand how it's done manually. Abstractions are fantastic — just as long as you have a modest idea what's going on behind the scenes. This chapter details the essentials of manually performing feature detection.
  • Automated Detection With ModernizrPerforming feature detection manually isn't always a walk in the park. Once you factor in all browsers, both desktop and mobile based, you end up with a host of false positives and bugs. Modernizr's entire reason for existing is to take care of this tedious work for you! This chapter outlines the essentials of working with the library.
  • Finally… Native MediaNative media is easily one of the most flashy and press-worthy new additions to HTML. We now have the ability to provide native audio and video playback in the browser. No longer must we rely on buggy, browser-crashing third party tools, like Flash. Right? Well, sort of, but I'm getting ahead of myself.
  • Track That Sucka with GeolocationSometimes, when we read the acronym, "API," we immediately assume a certain level of complexity. But luckily, HTML5 geolocation is incredibly simple. Don't believe me? It only takes a few lines of code to get started. Ironically, the bulk of your time will be spent focusing less on geolocation and more on third party tools such as the Google Maps API.
  • The Basics of Working with CanvasCanvas is an incredibly powerful new 2D drawing tool in HTML5 that will very likely revolutionize the landscape of web applications in the future. While a true review of the API requires an entire book, this chapter will detail the essentials.
  • Don't Irritate Visitors – Use Web StorageYou'll be happy to hear that local storage is incredibly easy to understand. It allows us to store key-value pairs for future use. Unlikes sessions or cookies, local storage is considered by the browser to be long term. It's as plain and simple as that. By implementing this natively in the browser, we now have access to an easy-to-use, standardized API. I'll show you exactly how to work with it in this chapter.
  • The History APIOne of the earliest criticisms of AJAX was that it made it difficult to save state. For example, if we asynchronously pull in some set of data when a link is clicked, the user will not have the ability to link specifically to that state of the page. This has long since been fixed by clever developers, however, now, with the updated HTML5 History API, we can rely on a native solution to remedy this issue — at least within the browsers which support it.
  • The File & Drag and Drop APIsBefore HTML5, we had no standardized way to work with a user's local file system. Thankfully, that's no longer the case. We now have the ability to read, validate, and modify a file's contents—just as long as the user takes an active role in the process. This chapter will outline the process of working with both the File and the Drag and Drop APIs.
  • Web Workers are AntsWhat I mean by this is that you can think of web workers in the same way that you think of ants. Still confused? That's okay; it'll all make sense by the end of this chapter.
  • Tools, Folks, and BlogsMore important than every HTML5 book ever written is the people and tools that push it forward. Consider this to be the obligatory round-up chapter.

To learn more, check out Rockable Press, or download some sample pages.

How Do I Get It?

There are two ways to get this book. Firstly, you can buy it from Rockable Press for $19. Visit the site, or use these links:

The eBook includes all three digital versions: ePub, PDF, Kindle.

Secondly, the book is also available right now as part of Tuts+ Premium. As a member, you’ll also receive Jeffrey’s in-depth video course, HTML5 Fundamentals, 20 top-selling Rockable eBooks, and an exhaustive list of Tuts+ Premium tutorials.

Embedding Videos in Item Previews

Posted: 07 Mar 2012 09:31 PM PST

Recently here on Envato Notes we’ve been covering a range of issues around item previews and our content policies. One question that has been asked a number of times is whether authors are allowed to embed videos from servies like YouTube in their item previews.

Before we get to the answer, it’s good to remember that these policies apply even for externally hosted previews (‘live’ or ‘demo’ previews), because of their connection to items being sold here, and because we want items associated with our marketplaces to respect others’ intellectual property.

The other posts in this series are:

I can embed videos?  Cool.  Do I need to consider anything else?

More on where to source embedded videos follows.  But first, it’s important to keep in mind that although a video sharing site might technically allow you to embed a video elsewhere, like in your site or item preview, you still need to consider the content of the video you’ve chosen.  Is the content appropriate for use in your item preview?  Just like you would for a still image, consider whether the video content contains trade marks, objects that might be under copyright, and identifiable people.  All these things might not have been cleared or released for your particular use by way of an embed in an item preview.  If you want ‘commercial movie quality’ video for use in an item preview, many  excerpts or trailer on sites like YouTube might themselves be under copyright.  


As the biggest video service on the block, YouTube is the prime candidate for embedding. And happily this is technically acceptable as YouTube encourages its videos to be embedded widely online (keeping in mind the content considerations I’ve just discussed).  YouTube has fairly clear terms prohibited commercial usage in the form of attaching advertising to its content or charging to view its content, but allows more general commercial usage.

Keep in mind that some people uploading to YouTube actually choose an option that makes their particular video un-embeddable (it removes the ‘embed’ option). Obviously those videos should not be manually embedded somehow.

You can use the standard YouTube embeddable player, or you can use YouTube’s API and their chromeless player to make a custom skin.


While not nearly as large as YouTube, Vimeo is fairly popular in the creative/tech niches. Unfortunately Vimeo’s terms state that its service is made available only for “your own personal, non-commercial purposes”.

It’s a little confusing as their terms have only the barest references to embedding. In any case, since an item preview is best considered a commercial use, authors are advised not to use Vimeo video embeds.

Hopefully Vimeo will clarify things at some point, especially now that their commercial PRO service is out.

Other Services

Got another favourite video sharing site? Check their terms and conditions so see whether embedding elsewhere is allowed, and if so whether use for commercial purposes is allowed.


Your Say: What do you like best about the new iPad?

Posted: 07 Mar 2012 05:11 PM PST

The New iPad by Markus Spiering

I just finished watching all the coverage of the new iPad announcement. (Yeah, “the new iPad”, not the “iPad 3.”) I guess you’ve caught up with the news too. What do you like most about the new device? This poll will let you add your own answers if they’re not already there. Choose more than one if you like.

Do you already have an iPad? Does this one offer enough incentive for you to upgrade? Let us know in the comments.

Or are you an Android lover or tablet hater. This new iPad is evolutionary rather than revolutionary. (Some might say “resolutionary”!) But does it tempt you in any way? How close are you to buying one?

Finally, do the more powerful iLife apps do enough to make the iPad good enough for you to work on? Or will it always be a secondary device?

All opinions welcome. Let us know what you think in the comments.

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