CSC 510 : midterm screencast

In this screencast we look into a couple of papers and discuss how they are relevant.



Front End Developer Tools – Where are they going?

        Working on the front end code for a web site or web application has never been the best part of a programmer’s day. Typically User Interface for software moved from text based to a more GUI based approach. As discussed by Myers et al. [Mye00], this pushed tools for UI development to a more GUI and window based approach as well. Web development tools following this GUI based approach sprung up, each having its own merits and demerits. Microsoft FrontPage for example, one of the older more popular web page authoring tools offered the user a WYSIWYG editor [Fra99]. These visual editors, gave users the ability to develop the front end of web applications pretty easily, but  one of the major drawbacks was that the architecture these tools supported, dealt with static content, like a group of HTML files . Working with web applications which had front ends which interacted with databases did not benefit majorly from such WYSIWYG tools. These limitations however are slowly disappearing, and the definition of a web-application front end is changing.

FrontPage, offered not only development, but also management of “web-sites”

        The front end of web applications has moved over the years from simple dynamically generated HTML pages to a more interactive type of application which uses JavaScript and technologies like AJAX to make the applications, light, faster, more intuitive and user friendly. However debugging JavaScript, has for the most part been a tough process. JavaScript cannot be run like a simple program and tested. It involves simulating the JavaScript environment, the DOM of the HTML page etc.[Art11] One crucial step however which had made JavaScript hard to work with, was debugging the errors. Before tools like Firebug, and Chrome Developer tools came along, JavaScript developers relied on the “alert” function [Ler07].

When javascript didn’t work, developers ended up throwing in a bunch of such alert statements all over the place

        As the definition of web front end is changing, the tools used to develop the front end is also constantly evolving. Starting from notepad about a decade ago, we moved to GUI tools, and are now moving to combination of many kinds of tools, starting from a simple text IDE combined with a web debug and testing toolkit like Chrome Developer tools and its competitors like Firebug and F12 Developer tools.


Raghav Tripathi & Roopak Venkatakrishnan

Firefox 4 Launch Party – Chennai #fx4party

Yes, we just had a Firefox 4 launch party at our college today!!! and a mighty blast it was

Started off as a surprise as all the students gathered there were told it was a seminar … Oh the look on their sad faces when they were told they had to listen to another lecture was priceless…  (and a sample below below) … and yes one kid slept off just as he sat down !!!

When he heard it was a lecture he was asleep in a jiffy

First question I managed to blurt out… why do you think you are here… one smart kid who had seen some Firefox banner on the notice board managed to guess it was a launch party… To get some interest we immediately rewarded him with a FF bag, a few badges and an armband!!! Bang… everyone was awake!!!

Though a huge part of the crowd seemed to know firefox, not many of them had yet started using FF 4 … we played the videos straight of the site… quite a bit of fun to watch ppl wowwing and the very same features i take for granted ( What would i do without firefox ?)

Jus for fun, i quickly stripped the wall of all firefox posters, handed out papers to everybody and the person with the best likeness of the firefox logos got a bag… while that went some techies pitted their minds against our FF quiz… surprisingly one of them even managed to answer my question about “the book of mozilla” (mental note to self : make questions harder next time)

Before the first batch of attendees was sent away we got em to screen “Firefox 4” … I think I’m half deaf now 😦

Screaming FF 4

It would have been fun to see the other off stage competitions we had but i was stuck helping out with the quiz!!!

We Finally ended up distributing the swag (so kindly sent to us by the Mozilla foundation) … The funniest part was when the kids who attended the launch went about getting the students who had classes all riled up!!!

Then some total off stage work like “firefoxing” our entire lab… and fotos with our HOD and professors… All in all an amazing event…

Note : some fotos are in this post… will be posting some on flickr with the tag #fx4party … and the fotos with other ppl will follow as soon as i get them!!!

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Schedule your mails on Gmail with Boomerang

How many times have you wanted to send a mail at 12:00 to wish some one for their birthday/anniversary or even schedule remainders for yourself… Some try to do the job by remembering it till necessary while others use some sort of scheduler… But here is a scheduler which works like a charm and can bet set up with a few clicks

Boomerang for GMail allows you to just that.As the name suggests it supports only GMail for now and is installed as an addon for chrome or Firefox.(IE users walk away with nothing, but its about time they started using a real browser anyway)

Now you can schedule yourself remainders, birthday greetings and various other things you can think of. Some people are even going to the extent of using it to communicate at proper times on different time zones.

Get Boomerang for Gmail here. Read more here

Facebook’s Project Titan Revealed

After months of speculation facebook announced their secret project titan…

Disappointed, the “gmail killer” was a complete rumor… yes everyone will eventually get you want). Zuckerburg says the idea is to create a seamless messaging system fir people to communicate… Whether people use laptop, phones, PDAs they’ll be able to view their messages in a nice organized format.

The funny thing though is Bosworth says its going to be modelled after a chat… wait a second… yes thats exactly what facebook are good at .. CHAT (yes thats right sarcasm intended). users have been complaining on end to get the eb based chat system fb has fixed, and not a step has been taken but yes titan is now going to try set up this unfinished code for various platforms… way to go facebook you really seem to be doing amazing things.

Getting back, the project will eventually kick of via invites only so you’ll have to wait to get yours! Looks like facebook has picked up on google’s cheat code to generating a hype (gmail to wave)!!! yes wave was a complete letdown but the hype was enormous!!! For whatever it is work if u haven’t managed to get the username u want on gmail or yahoo now is prolly a good time to set your username on facebook (account -> account settings)

Read more at the huffington post

All browsers fail at Pwn2Own, IE8,safari and sadly even firefox

Most of us our in a bubble that we use a browser that can’t be hacked… or rather we use the best browser… Well we’ve always known IE is shoddy piece of coding brought out just to keep Microsof in the race… The only reason they are still alive is cos they distribute with their OS’es…


IE8 toppler - Peter Vreugdenhil

Getting back,  in Vancouver Canada the CanSecWest Pwn2Own competition was on, and guess what the following browsers were exploited to gain access to the machines… -> IE8 (obvious), Safari (hmm, thats new) and firefox (god damn, totally out of the blue).

Most of you using chrome must be thinking, “yeah i run the best browser”, unfortunately we’ll never know because no-one tried to hack chrome this time round… As for you firefox fans, the firefox on 64bit version of windows 7 was hacked… So what about the edition on the more common x86 (32 bit ) edition.. again remains unanswered so far…

IE8 users, I’m hardly surprised, its about time you lot change to a more stable browser…

But here’s something even more interesting… They managed to hack an iphone… not a jailbroken one but a fully patched one… and guess what they were able to access.. messages.. including the deleted ones…  (Apple, what went wrong?) And apparently the hacker claims he could have got anything else he wanted from the phone…

Time for the browser creators to look up and solve all these issues.. before these are used by some on who ACTUALLY wants to hack systems…. (lucky this was jus a contest!!)

Read more about the IE exploit here.

Read more about the firefox exploit here and the iphone hack here