Monday, November 26, 2012

flip this

There are many jQuery libraries out there for generating a "Flip" transition effect, as if a card was flipping over.  Flip!'s page is polished, but the effect is marred by the content disappearing during the flip. (Also I didn't like how it encourages the back content to be generated programatically, rather than living with the rest of the content.) QuickFlip 2 does a better job keeping the content present, but the visual effect is rather lackluster. However I have found an excellent, easy to use library that has a high "hey, wow!" factor and only a few things to watch out for: Zachstronaut's rotate3Di. Here it is an action:

This is a trivial example, but the content inside can be any html, including images.

It took me a bit to wrap my head around how it works: it's some CSS transform magic with skewY() and scale() being animated in sync for the nifty 3D illusion. The front of the card/back of the card bit is really interesting: if you want different content for the front and back, you make a function for the sideChange parameter. This function is called halfway through the flip with a boolean argument that indicates if the front is showing. Your function is then responsible for show()ing the appropriate side and hide()ing the other (which makes sense: with a flat object, only one side is visible at a time... Amusingly, the defaults without this function are to show the content reversed.)

So for this example, I had this HTML:

<div class="flippable" id="flipExample">
    <div class="front">Click To Flip</div>
    <div class="back">The Back</div>

decorated with this CSS (some parts omitted for brevity, feel free to view source.)

.flippable {
.flippable .front {
.flippable .back {

The code then was pretty easy...
        $(this).rotate3Di('toggle', 1000,
                    if(isFront) {$(this).find(".front").show();$(this).find(".back").hide();}
                    else  {$(this).find(".front").hide();$(this).find(".back").show();}

So like I mentioned, the things to watch out for were pretty minor: one was that the container (which is what is actually being rotated, but maybe shouldn't have content of its own outside of what's in your front and back side content) needed 1 pixel of padding, otherwise some odd lines showed up during the animation in chrome. And also, you need to include 2 js files, not just 1: jquery-css-transform.js and rotate3Di.js. The Transform one is needed for IE9 tweaking, which brings us to IE in general: it doesn't work for IE8 or earlier, but it degrades gracefully into an untransitioned swap of the front with the back.

So, a nice effect, and easy to put into place.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

trunKit: how to deal with too much text...

As a UI developer, I'm sometimes given a visual spec to implement that doesn't really stretch: designs with elements that are fixed sized, regardless of the content meant to be lincluded inside (such as a long title or description.)

One solution for this is to show an abbreviated version of the title, possibly ending with a "...", and then let "hover" (in an increasingly touchscreen world, hover is often deprecated, though iOS tends to let a quick tap act as a hover) show the full title.  While refactoring our "activity tiles" at Alleyoop, I decided to wrap our solution to this issue as a jQuery plugin, So I introduce to you:
I've posted an example of it in action below, but more information is there on the project site or its github repository.

Wrapping the functionality as a jQuery was easy: I'd recommend jMar's simple guide. The short of it is using a tiny bit of boilerplate, you're implementing an "each()" function (so your code can be daisy-chained) and then there's a nice method to allow for a hash of configuration options, but with sensible defaults.

Here it is in action:
This is the first example that I am placing here
My second example is not much different from the first
but by placing three examples, we will experiment with different colors.
But this is short.
There's likely dozens of similar plugins already out there, but this is mine, and I learned a bit from making it and packaging it as a plugin...

Thursday, November 1, 2012

wiki-dy wiki-dy wack

I like wikis, but tend to dislike wiki markup. As a note to my future self, {code}...{code} can be used to mark off some coding type stuff especially if said code has ${template stuff} like that in it.