After months of procrastination and delays, I’m proud to officially release Kenny Login – a fully responsive HTML5 theme for your WordPress Login page. Version 1.0.0 is available now as a free WordPress plugin. Simply install the plugin and activate it through your admin panel. Blam! Kenny Loggins all up in your login page! Click here to get the lowdown.
Here’s a quick primer on Pixi.js:
It’s really comfortable for Flash/Actionscript developers. The folks who created Pixi.js are clearly very familiar with Flash and used a lot of Flash terminology in Pixi.js. It also feels like they worked hard to make it very easy to dig in and start creating cool stuff with minimal boilerplate code. I really appreciate that.
Pixi.js has a really clever renderer: It detects if your browser is WebGL enabled. If not, it falls back to an HTML5 canvas renderer. Not only is it cool that it handles this for you, but browsers with WebGL (Chrome, Safari) are hardware accelerated. This means that they can unload the rendering from the CPU to the GPU, making everything run much faster. Firefox also supposedly has WebGL capability, but from what I’ve read, the performance is questionable. The WebGL thing is going to be a big deal as it becomes more widespread. As usual, IE10 doesn’t support it, but it does have hardware accelerated canvas.
As a side note, the hardware acceleration is all based on your browser and hardware configuration. So, if you have a relatively new device and an updated browser, it just kicks in automatically. iPhones and iPads all support hardware acceleration and many Android devices do too. Obviously, how you handle older browsers is the challenge. In most cases, a less full-featured backup may need to be served up. In a few cases, the user may need to have hardware acceleration to run your game or app at a reasonable frame rate. A smart way to handle this is to check the frame rate of the game and alert a user if it drops below a minimum threshold.
So grab the Pixi.js code and start building some HTML5 goodness.
If you are doing front-end web development, you likely use Firebug. It’s a Firefox browser extension that provides all the basic tools you need to debug a website. Development tools in all of the modern browsers are based on the gold standard set by Firebug.
One of the most common uses of Firebug is to make changes to your CSS in real time. You can experiment with different styles until your layout looks right, then simply cut and paste everything into your stylesheet.
This works great for desktop browsers, but mobile browsers don’t have development tools. If you want to debug your mobile layout, you need another browser extension that allows you to switch the user agent. There are a number of good ones out there. I’m currently using User Agent RG for Firefox. Once this extension is installed, you can change the user agent string by going to the “Tools” menu and choosing “User Agent.” Simply choose a mobile device and you can get an idea of what your site looks like on a mobile device.
It’s important to understand what the user agent switcher does (and doesn’t do). What it does is tell the browser the type of device that you are using to browse the web. The Firefox plugin basically lies and says “I am using an iPhone” (or whatever). If you have a mobile version of the website, that version will be displayed.
What it does NOT do is make Firefox act like Mobile Safari, or any other browser. If there are browser-specific layout issues, you will not be able to see them with the user agent switcher. Luckily, mobile device browsers are fairly standards-compliant, so very few CSS issues are browser-related. Browser-specific issues like HTML5 video issues (*cough* Mobile Safari *cough*) still need to be debugged with that browser.
The other thing that user agent switching doesn’t do is resize your site to mobile browser dimensions. To get an accurate sense of how your site looks on a phone or tablet, you will probably need set a body width in your CSS:
width: 320px; /*older iphone width*/
This way, you can lock it to the dimensions of the device you want to test and tweak the CSS with Firebug to fix any layout problems.
This has been the quickest and easiest way I have found to fix mobile-specific layout issues. Good luck!
As I look ahead to this year, I have several posts planned around game development in ActionScript 3 (Flash). So, I thought I should post a brief explanation about why I’m STILL developing games in AS3. After all, isn’t Flash dead? Aren’t we all living in a brave, new HTML5 world? Here are a few of the reasons why I’m developing in AS3:
As of this post, HTML5 <canvas> support is still inconsistent across major browsers. Admittedly, the main issue is Internet Explorer, but they still have a HUGE market share and can’t be completely ignored. For most of our <canvas> projects at work, we still end up building a Flash backup. If you’re targeting desktop devices for your games, publishing to Flash gives you a bigger market share than HTML5 <canvas>.
HTML5 <audio> support is pitiful. In some browsers (*cough* Mobile Safari *cough*), it barely works at all. Then there are issues with preloading sounds so they are actually available when you need them. Read more…