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JavaScript | Don Hopkins


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SimFaux Interactive Network News Simulation

I've just uploaded the first version of the SimFaux Interactive Network News Simulation to the Huffington Post's Contagious Festival!

It's pronounced "Sim Foe". Like the Colbert report: it's french, bitch!

It has an cinematic interactive interface consisting of several different screen layouts, each with a different number of frames, which you can configure to display a variety of simulated characters, streaming videos, interactive surveys, and text talking points. Here's the conference screen layout showing several videos, a couple of characters, a survey and talking points:

SimFaux Conference Screen (an OpenLaszlo application, by Don Hopkins)

Transmogrifier OLE Automation Documentation

This is the documentation for the OLE Automation Interface to Transmogrifier (version 2.1.2 and greater).

Transmogrifier's OLE Automation interface enables it to be used "behind the scenes" by scripts, web servers and other programs like RugOMatic, to create and modify Sims objects. It can also export previews of Sims objects. This OLE Automation interface makes it possible to develop other tools and web services that use Transmogrifier, with scripting languages like JavaScript and Python.

AJAX is old NeWS, Laszlo is non-toxic AJAX

AJAX is a new buzzword for old (but not bad) ideas.

Don't take this as anti-AJAX. That kind of architecture is great, but it's the notion that the new AJAX buzzword describes new ideas that annoys me.

Of course Microsoft has been supporting it since the 90's, but it goes back a lot further than that.

For a long time, I've been evangelizing and more importantly implementing interactive applications that run efficiently over thin wire (dial-up modems, ISDN, early internet before it was fast, etc), which are locally interactive and efficient because there's a programming language on each side of the connection that implements custom application specific protocols and provides immediate feedback without requiring network round trips.

Before he made Java, James Gosling wrote the NeWS Window System.

I did a lot of work with NeWS, as a user interface researcher, commercial product developer, and a gui toolkit engineer for Sun, implementing distributed applications as well as user interface widgets and gui construction tools.

I've programmed NeWS to implement many user interface widgets (pie menus, tabbed windows, terminal emulators, graphics editors), gui toolkits (Suns TNT Open Look Toolkit, Arthur van Hoff's HyperLook user interface construction tool), and applications (UniPress and Gnu Emacs text editor interfaces, Ben Shneiderman's HyperTIES hypermedia browser, PSIBER visual PostScript programming and debugging environment, PizzaTool for customizing and ordering pizza via FAX, a cellular automata lab, a port of Maxis's SimCity), and lots of other stuff.

Now I develop distributed applications with OpenLaszlo, which embodies all the great qualities of AJAX without the horrible compatibility problems and shitty graphics. Macromedia though OpenLaszlo was such a great idea that they made a proprietary knock-off called Flex, for which they charge $12,000 per CPU. The future of Laszlo is secure since it's free software with an open source license, but Flex is in Flux since Adobe is buying Macromedia.

I'm quite happy to have found OpenLaszlo, since it's got all the advantages of NeWS, it runs beautifully and consistently on all platforms, the people developing it really understand what they're doing, and most importantly it's open source. NeWS was a technological success, but a commercial failure, because Sun refused to release it like X11. But OpenLaszlo applications really do run everywhere consistently, support XML standards and rich dynamic graphics vastly superior to anything you can do in DTHML, and they're great fun to develop.

ShowNTell ActiveX Plug-In for Previewing Sims Objects

I'm developing another Transmogrifier based tool called "ShowNTell", which is an ActiveX control for displaying a live preview of a Sims object file on a web page (or wherever you can plug in an ActiveX control). You can drag-and-drop iff files into the window to view them, change the rotation and zoom, and read the name, price and description. It also gives you control over the background color and grid, to match your web page and objects.

"What is ShowNTell for?", you might ask. I want to make it easy for people to distribute and download Sims objects over the web, as well as view and manage their own objects offline. Players should be able to quickly look at objects before installing them and restarting The Sims. ShowNTell displays a live interactive preview of a Sims object, right on the web page!

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