Category Archives: Javascript

P4A 3 rendering layer discussion

This post will not be easy to write… I’ll try to explain you what kept us really busy in the past 2 weeks. ok a screenshot could help me :-)

In the P4A 3 roadmap post, I told you about a new widget rendering system… I didn’t post more technical info intentionally, I wanted to create a bit of suspense :) but I also wanted to do some tests before publishing news.

For P4A 3 we’d like to have a killer graphic with killer features (resizable widgets, border layouts, beautiful and powerful menu and so on) thus we looked to the biggest javascript frameworks out there: extjs and dojo. Both have great features and both have issues.

Extjs as really a killer graphic layout, and it’s released under LGPL3 (developers wrote some licensing notes that I can’t really understand… actually I think that those notes could conflict with LGPL3 itself) but it has not an open SVN and development is quite closed. Another note: only community support is for free.

Dojo is more polite with licensing and it’s released under BSD, but I don’t like the graphic layout too much and the way you’ve to code your applications writing a non-standard HTML with dojo-only attributes. It has some accessibility features.

Some considerations:

  • In my tests I found bugs in both frameworks
  • porting P4A to one of these tools is a “1 way road”
  • relying the rendering layer to a 3rd party project means we’ve to 1000% trust this project
  • these tools do not have a good print CSS support

We would have a 3rd option: continue on our road with quite standard HTML but rewrite our CSS from scratch with a CSS reset and a modular design which will give us better control.

I wrote extjs developers to know if they’re interested in a collaboration with P4A, I’m waiting for an answer but I’m looking for your considerations too, community it’s important to me, please let me know what you think and what are your experiences with those tools (or suggest others).

P4A 2.2 is finally out

This is the month of the big releases :-) first was UCK 2.0 a few days ago, now it’s time for P4A – PHP For Applications 2.2!

Highlights of this release:

  • Prototype/scriptaculous were dropped and jQuery was added. Thanks to jQuery and some wonderful plugins we added a new color picker field type, the ajax file upload feature, some great improvements to the popup system also with the ability to block the underlying interface and a beautiful audio/video preview system.
  • Answering to many request the tooltip system was implemented, $field->setTooltip() and you’ve done the work of providing information about fields on your mask.
  • Another requested feature: field autocomplete, similar to the google suggest one, enjoy it
  • A smooth “helpers system” was introduced, now everyone can really write plugins for P4A, overriding core mothods without having to patch framework’s file (this only works with PHP5)
  • The getid3 library was added, its work is to read all data from multimedia files and pass them to P4A that will use them and store them. Now we have a better width/height/mime-type detection for many and many multimedia file formats.
  • …and many many improvements and bugfixes, check the changelog for the complete list

Upgrade:
You should have no problems directly upgrading from 2.0.6 to 2.2.0, otherwise write us on the help forum!

Download:
Can’t you wait? Here you have:
P4A 2.2.0 download

Future:
You already know that we can’t stop, things are already moving… we’ll publish more info very soon, also because I’m going to commit some preliminary tests for the next big step: P4A 3.0. Don’t miss it, I swear you’ll like it.

Technical note:
If you use P4A SVN, please switch to the 2.2 branch and don’t use the main trunk anymore!!! That’s because we’re working on it for P4A 3.0!

see you :)