WebViews – Seeing all your website.

So what’s a WebView? They are just small windows showing a webpage. Here’s an image of a page with four views on, click it to go to the page:

As you can see, WebViews provides a way to see many of your webpages at once, no need to load multiple pages or to click through, you just need to open this one page. Furthermore, it’ll do some error checking for you too.

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Gaia star data with D3 – part 2 – prettier, faster

Welcome back! (if that statement isn’t appropriate you’ll want to check out part 1 first: Gaia star data with D3 – part 1). We are going to make everything look much better, and then do a couple of optimizations.

Let’s make the sky look more natural, i.e. Black. In the current SVG specification there’s no way to set a background colour, so to work around that we’ll place a rectangle across the whole image.

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Gaia star data with D3 – part 1

TL;DR: I’m going to show you how to take a fairly large dataset – in this case the galactic stars – and make some nice visualizations with a JavaScript library called D3. They look great.

Basic view of data.

Did you see the recent news from the ESA Gaia mission? It will eventually give the precise position and motion of one billion stars in our Galaxy (which is actually “only” one percent of the stellar population!). An initial release of data happened on 13th September 2016 and included the position, motion and distance of two million stars.

I wanted to take this data and play around with it and I like to play around with data with the help of D3. This is a web based visualisation tool, which unfortunately is restricted by the capabilities of today’s browsers. This means I’ve had to reduce the data points, however, I suspect we can still get some nice results.

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Generating Webpages

Check out my post about the work I’m doing at the University of Oxford’s eResearch Centre. It’s about taking semantically linked data and generating a useful, website like view of the data.


I’m using nodeJS and Dust with Jena’s Fuseki SPARQL database to select and display the data. More to come.

Full text follows.

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Node.js – the programmers “Save the World” tutorial

What this tutorial is

This tutorial was designed to help you understand how to create your own node.js program – not how to copy and paste someone else’s code! (However… you might have some luck finding the complete code at https://bitbucket.org/akademy/save-the-world/src).

It is assumed you are a programmer, with some experience of javascript and other programming languages such as Python, Ruby or Java. It’s really written for other programmers and tries to get to the points quickly (except for the odd alien invasion)!

It may be useful to imagine: Earth has only minutes to live and you are our only hope – your teacher is barking orders at you in a manic attempt to teach you the skills you’ll need to defeat the invading armada. You need to set up a node.js server before the laser bolts start burning! Quick!

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Controlling JavaScript with LazyLoad – a ShareThis example

Forgive me for the break in communication. Let’s get right back into it.

In the last few months I’ve been looking into website load times and implementing a few on my own. My hoster doesn’t run the most efficient servers and so my webpages really weren’t appearing as first as they might. One interesting area I looked into was javascript – in particular how the position and method of including can impact the rendering of a webpage and the speed it appears.

Some of the worst things you can do is include javascript files near the top of your HTML page. Unless you are careful, any javascript you include in the <head> or <body> sections will stop a browser from reading and rendering your page. This is because the browser does not know whether or not that javascript will output code and therefore require some rendering of its own.

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Auto Redirect from Blogger to WordPress

Here’s a useful bit of Javascript that will redirect your old Blogger blog account to your new, self hosted WordPress blog account once you’ve imported all your old blogs.

It uses the search function in your new account to list the possible matches (usually just the correct one!). It works this way because the blog names on blogger are rarely the same as in wordpress, but it encourages people to update their links by showing them it’s different. It also displays a helpful message.

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CanvasZoom – HTML5 Canvas and code

You may have seen the program Zoomify, or similar programs like, OpenZoom and DeepZoom, which quickly display large resolution images on websites without large amounts of data being downloaded – only the part which is needed is downloaded. Most of these applications use some kind of plugin to work (e.g. Flash or Silverlight), so I wanted to see if we could create one without any plugin, using only the HTML5 standards.
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