Archive for the 'WebKit' Category

OpenGuides Map Changes

Posted in Javascript, OpenGuides, WebKit on January 9th, 2006 at 05:37:18

So, tonight I took it upon myself to redo the javascript behind the map for the Open Guide to Boston. The reason for this is relatively simple: when I first wrote the Google Maps interface, the guide had about 50 nodes. With that in mind, drawing them all was acceptable. As the guide got bigger, it got a bit more time consuming, but was still much easier than paging. However, the guide has recently doubled in size as I’ve increased the rate at which I pull data from Zami.com (specifically for the purpose of trying to build a free database of all the churches in the area with user interaction) — up to 2400 nodes (making it the single largest Open Guide to date by pure node size, as far as I can tell).

With this change, the map was no longer just difficult to use: it was impossible. Attempting to open the page crashed my web browser.

So, I took it upon myself to learn enough JavaScript to do paging… but then decided that rather than paging, I should attempt a bit more friendly solution to start. So I started hacking, and got into the Google Maps getBoundsLatLng() function, which allows me to determine the area of the map.

There are two basic options to go from here, depending on performance you expect in various situations, and the scalability you want to have.

* Load all data. Create Javascript variables to store it all. When the map moves, iterate over the data, adding markers for only points which are not already visible, and are in the new span.
* Load only the original data from the database. All additional data to be loaded via XMLHttpRequest.

The first is obviously something that can be done entirely client side, and in fact turned out to be the (much easier than I expected) path I chose. The largest reason for this is simply ease of integration. OpenGuides code is rather convoluted (to me), and modifying it is not something that I enjoy spending a lot of time doing. I’ll do it when I need to, but I prefer to avoid it. The other option would be to simply query the database directly via Perl or some other language, without using the OG framework. This would probably be slightly faster, but with the size of data I’m using, iterating over it is a minimal time compared to the time drawing the GMaps Markers. As a result, I chose to go with the slower, less scalable, but quicker-to-implement and merge to other guides way of doing things. The biggest benefit here is that I can merge it back into the other quickly growing guides — Saint Paul is now growing leaps and bounds alongside Boston, due to help from pulling Zami.com’s database, and I plan to do similar things with other guides. Also, London probably will not be able to use the mapping stuff in any useful way without this kind of code being added, so I went for the quickest thing that could possibly work.

There were a few gotchas that I had to end up avoiding:

* Removing Google Maps Markers takes *much* longer than adding them. Like, 3-4 times longer in extremely informal testing. With one or two, or even 20-30, this doesn’t matter, but with 100, this starts to be a significant barrier to user interaction.
* There are a number of words which are reserved in Javascript, but are not treated that way in Firefox. This leads to confusing error messages in Safari (although they are slightly improved in the latest webkit): If you see a ParseError, you should check the Firefox Reserved Words list — this is in one of their bugs. For example, the variable “long” is reserved, and can not be used to pass something like, say, longitude.

Discovering the ParseError, working out why it was there, and how to fix it, was greatly helped by the #webkit folks: I have never seen a more dedicated, hardworking, friendly, open and inviting group of Open Source Software developers in my history as a programmer, either in closed or open source products. Many thanks to them for helping me work through why the error was happening, and how to avoid it in the future.

Lastly (although this is not quite chronological, as I did this first), I had to modify the code to the guide to zoom in father to start, so it wouldn’t try to load so many nodes. I think a next step is to allow users to set a default lat/long for themselves, a la Google Local, from which they can start browsing, rather than always dropping them into the main map. But that’s a problem for a nother late night hack session.

Building WebKit on Panther

Posted in Software, WebKit, XSLT on June 9th, 2005 at 00:26:48

I mentioned the other day the release of Apple’s WebKit, WebCore, and JavascriptCore (the latter two of which were already publicly available). Naturally, the first thing I wanted to do was download it and give it a try. This post will outline the steps I took to get as far as possible in the build process at this point. First, I would like to mentioned that this project has the cleanest build steps I have ever seen. It is well documented all the way through, and for Tiger users on Xcode 2.0, the build process went off without a hitch, the first time through. (Xcode 2.1 problems have since been fixed.) The members of the supporting IRC channel are helpful and intelligent, and the mailing list has already taken multiple patches from non-employees into the source tree. This is, quite simply, the best opening for an open source project that I have ever been aware of.

However, the build process currently favors those with Tiger, and the current CVS does not support those who are using Panther. Apple developers have expressed an interest in correcting this once the WWDC, being held this week in San Francisco, is over. So, I took it upon myself to report bugs in bugzilla where they are applicable, to help out developers when they get a chance to breathe.

First problem: Building returned a problem with “CarbonSound.h not available”. This was as a result of not yet installing the QuickTime 7 SDK. (It has been in software update, I just hadn’t touched it yet.) Updating fixed that.

Second Problem: 10.3.9 Build Failure: NSString may not respond to `+stringWithCString:encoding:’. This is a method which was not available in Panther. Maciej has said he is working on a patch to have this use CFString instead, where it is available. (I am tossing about some terms I don’t know here, so please excuse any incorrect terminology.) Workaround for the time being - copy the last two build commands before the crash (a cd line and a gcc-3.3 line) and past them, altering the gcc-3.3 line slightly to remove the -Werror. This means that it may cause problems later on, but will compile for the time being.

Third Problem: isnan failure in kjs_window.cpp: This one boggles me a bit, especially since (as I mention in the bug) there seems to be explicit knowledge in the code of the problem. However, a workaround is now offered in the bug in comment 1: replace using std::isnan; with extern “C” int isnan(double); This fixed the problem for me.

Fourth Problem: XSLT Headers not installed - This one is more systematic of the way that Apple releases updates, and is something that dajobe has brought up with building Redland in the past: “Headers don’t match libraries”. This is true here as well, but I now (thanks to toby from #webkit) know that the reason for this is that Apple does *not* ship updated headers with libraries updated through Software Update. Since libxslt is new in 10.3.9, there are no development headers. Dave Hyatt, of the WebKit team, mentioned that the whole team, when building on Panther, had to install libxslt and libxml from the source. Once I did this, it made this problem go away.

Fifth Problem: libxml headers are wrong - this was before I installed libxml, which also fixed this problem. It is, again, related to the fact that Apple does not update headers with System Update.

Once you get through these, you will have built both JavascriptCore and WebCore. Congratulations! You now have two completely useless frameworks which the new Webkit will depend on when you can build it! :)

WebKit is the previously unreleased Apple-specific Framework which is the “pretty” part of WebCore - it’s what ties everything together. It has a few more issues building on Panther, but most of them can be worked around by simply copy pasting build lines without the -Werror flag. (Note that this will produce possibly unstable results! These builds are not designed for production, and I do not advise doing this and filing bug reports on Safari crashing.)

npapi headers not available - for some reason, building on Panther does not find the appropriate headers from the in-process WebKit build. I really have no clue why this is, and neither did anyone else when I was building. My workaround was to copy the headers out of the framework and into ~/build/include (a directory I had to make), which was already on the path. cp ~/build/WebKit.Framework/Versions/A/Headers/* ~/build/include, cp ~/build/WebKit.Framework/Versions/A/PrivateHeaders/* ~/build/include, then continuing the build. I am not sure why this is neccesary, but it does seem to work.

Missing 10.4 Method -setCompositingOperation for WebImageRenderer - Two parts of the code require: (void)setCompositingOperation:(NSCompositingOperation)operation;
(NSCompositingOperation)compositingOperation; — this function was added in 10.4. This can be resolved by following the above -Werror removal steps. You will have to do this several times.

Missing 10.4 Method CFMakeCollectible - CFMakeColelctible is new in 10.4. Building with no -Werror allows the build to continue.

And, the current showstopper: Missing SecurityNssAsn1 headers — This comes from the libWebKitSystemInterface.a file, which is currently Tiger-specific. Once WWDC is over, a Panther binary file will be released. Until then, this is where the ride stops: you can build WebCore and JavascriptCore, but WebKit is out of your reach until you get your hands on Tiger.

Luckily for me, I’m going to be in Cupertino this weekend, so I’ll pick up a copy and get it installed soon ;)

WebKit Source

Posted in Social, Software, WebKit on June 7th, 2005 at 08:19:41

An announcement on the release of Webkit, the source of the rendering engine for the popular OS X browser, Safari. Includes mention of #webkit on irc.freenode.net, for discussion of webkit, and information on how to get anon CVS access.

Currently requires XCode to build, but I’m sure that someone out there will cook up some autotools goodness for it sometime soon.

Keep in mind that (as far as I know) this isn’t the actual shell that makes up Safari. It’s the source of the rendering engine inside it - basically, the bits that were taken from KHTML. I’m not sure though, and I can’t read the code well enough to confirm that I think that. However, one of the parts that is being released is WebKit: the interface that people have used in the past to make 10 line browsers in Xcode projects. This could mean we’ll see a lot more similar projects for other UNIXes - with the rendering taken care of and a simple binding, it becomes much simpler to write applications which display HTML.

Certainly an interesting development. Could this mean we’ll see a Safari-like browser base on other platforms in the near future? My bet is yes.