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Posts Tagged ‘Web development’

I’ve added Reminders to my BBC Now Next Chrome extension

posted by Duncan at 11:59 am on February 14th, 2010

So, last week I posted about releasing a BBC Now Next extension for Google Chrome. I updated it a few days later, adding the rest of the information received from the BBC Programmes upcoming feed.

So, before I’m finally done with this, I though I’d write about a final feature I added, Reminders. Download the extension here.

Reminders added to BBC Now Next Chrome ExtensionHighlighted are all the active reminders

Having Now, Next as well as Later (the next few shows upcoming) is great, but I thought it would be so much better if you could add a reminder on these upcoming shows and be notified when they are about to start. With Chrome’s extensions API you have access to the icon that activates your extension, so you can not only redraw or animate that, you can also set a label, much like Mac and iPhone apps that display a number representing unread email etc.

So my implementation works like this. When the Now Next window is open you will see that there is a little clock icon next to any upcoming shows. If you hover your mouse over this icon you will see a crafty bit of CSS using transforms that animates the clock to make it easier to see. Clicking on this starts the reminder timer. That’s it for setting the reminder. Oh and you can cancel any reminder by clicking on it again.

Once the timer/s are running you can then carry on using the browser as normal. The timers will just remain running whilst you have the your browser open. You can also click on the now next icon, to see any active timers running.

Ok, now the important bit. What happens when the timer ends. So what first happens is the extension icon will spin 5 times to hopefully catch your eye. After the spinning ends, the icon will then contain a label which tells you how many finished reminders. This number will remain until you click on the extension icon again.

Reminders added to BBC Now Next Chrome ExtensionSee how many reminder have finished

Oh, and when you do click on the icon, you will see that the reminders that finished will be highlighted and pulsing.

Reminders added to BBC Now Next Chrome ExtensionThese reminders have been mocked up hence their position

So, I hope you like this little addition, and I’d appreciate your feedback.

Now, although I wrote a lot of this on my daily commute, I was also given the chance to work on this whilst at work with the BBC R&D Prototyping team. I ran the idea past them a week or so ago at a standup, and said it would be great learning should we want to build anything else. They trusted me. This makes me happy.

Finally as I said in the previous post, you can download the source for this via my github account.

I built a Chrome extension, and yes it shows BBC Now Next information

posted by Duncan at 12:33 pm on February 8th, 2010

UPDATE: I added a new feature. Reminders

I like Google Chrome, it’s fast and simple and works as expected. It’s currently my main browser, and with Extensions, it’s likely to remain that way.

An extension is a zipped bundle of files — HTML, CSS, JavaScript, images, and anything else you need — that adds functionality to the Google Chrome browser. Extensions are essentially web pages, and they can use all the APIs that the browser provides to web pages, from XMLHttpRequest to JSON to HTML5 local storage

I use a Mac so extensions have not been available to me, until that is the dev versions of Chrome started incorporating them. I installed it the other day, and thought I’d have a play at creating one. You can build them too, as their dev site is very helpful.

Using my standard use case, I have built an extension that displays BBC stations Now and Next information. Give it a whirl:

You can see what it looks like in action below.

chrome extension

It uses feeds from BBC Programmes, the upcoming feed and the lesser know service feed. So you install it, and choose the stations you are interested in. You then get to see what is on now and next when you click the BBC icon that appears in the browser bar. the results are clickable. You can click on the network icons to listen or watch live. You can click on the show images or heading to go to that shows programme page.

Oh, and if you’re interested in the code, it on available via my Github account.


A simple way to speed up your iPhone web app

posted by Duncan at 12:04 pm on June 22nd, 2008

Reduce the size of each component to 25 Kbytes or less for optimal caching behavior


Rails 1.1 released

posted by Duncan at 4:49 pm on March 28th, 2006

The Rails team have now made Rails 1.1 an official release. As DDH put in his post:

The biggest upgrade in Rails history has finally arrived. Rails 1.1 boasts more than 500 fixes, tweaks, and features from more than 100 contributors. Most of the updates just make everyday life a little smoother, a little rounder, and a little more joyful.

I’ve had it on my machine for a while, but have not really delved into the new features. I look forward to trying out the new ActiveRecord stuff though as that’s an area where I’ve had to build lots of workarounds due to restrictions before. Plus the respond_to feature of ActionController also looks cool.

Some canvas tag experiments

posted by Duncan at 10:30 am on November 29th, 2005

I have been doing a little messing with the canvas tag that comes with Firefox 1.5 and Safari. This tag is a new HTML element for programmable graphics. canvas is based on the WhatWG canvas specification, which itself is based on Apple’s canvas implemented in Safari. It can be used for rendering graphs, UI elements, and other custom graphics on the client.

I had seen some examples of using canvas to draw pictures and was inspired by the 3-d demo done by Benjamin Joffe, so I thought I’d have a little play myself. It felt a bit like the early experiments done when Flash5 and MX came out.

Here’s a couple of experiments using some simple physics.

One true layout

posted by Duncan at 2:36 pm on November 13th, 2005

I’m just really giving another heads up for this article about creating the definitive multi column layout. I had read it a while back but went through it again yesterday. Really good stuff and nice detailed explanations through-out. If you build websites for a living then this should be read.

Whomwah on rails

posted by Duncan at 9:04 pm on November 8th, 2005

Hurrah! I’ve finally got round to putting on rails. I it took only a morning to get the basic functionality of the old Movable Type powered site up and running, and I still have a way to go to add any complex stuff. But for now I can post stuff and manage that, and that’s a start.

I’ve also decided to use tags instead of categories as I felt a category is essentially a tag, at least it was the way I was using it before. I will add new stuff as I go along so keep on checking.

Oh and also, if you happen to subscribe to the RSS feed then it there is now a new RSS feed url, so update you subscriptions. I will stick a redirect on the old url for now.

Safari with Omniweb style thumbs

posted by Duncan at 10:43 pm on September 27th, 2005

This Safari plugin is the king of all plugins. Thumbnails in the side bar a-la Omniweb.

Pimp My Safari

Just so cool. I’m not sure how long this plugin has been around but I’ve only just spotted it.

Google Launches its own IM

posted by Duncan at 9:44 am on August 24th, 2005

Google have released their own IM service Google Talk. If you have a PC, you can download your own google client otherwise you can use the service via other IM clients. I have it running with iChat although I don’t know anyone else who has it running yet so don’t really know how good it is. I’ll hopefully have checked it out by the end of today.

Installing RMagick on OS X (Tiger)

posted by Duncan at 10:21 pm on August 19th, 2005

I have finally managed to get RMagick installed and working correctly on my Powerbook. This post is just a little heads up for people who are having trouble and had not realized that the RMagick tarball has a README file explaining the procedure in detail. This is were I should have gone in the first place, duh!

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