News roundup: Canvas face detection, how YUI could improve its image, users with JavaScript disabled

Introduction

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This week’s news is self-admittedly Yahoo-centric, so apologies in advance! It’s been a bit of a slow news week in general, which means this week’s news we’ll be more in the style of checking out some interesting JavaScript discussions instead of reviewing new libraries or scripts.

Face Detection with Canvas

Chinese developer Liu Liu has ported his C-based computer vision library to JavaScript and implemented a demo of face detection with JavaScript!

We’re now in the days of faster JavaScript engines that can begin to handle computationally-heavy tasks such as this, and it’s not a far stretch to imagine that client-side face detection would be faster than sending a request off to a server and waiting for a response. Not to mention that such an implementation would be much more scalable, shifting the burden of processing from the server to the client. And if a site is overwhelmed with more clients, the clients all bring to the table more number-crunching machines.

(via Badass JavaScript)

How could YUI3 improve its image?

This post on Quora got a lot of attention and prompted an interesting discussion. The author claims that YUI3 is really on par with jQuery but obviously hasn’t turned out to be as popular. So how could YUI3 improve its image?

John Resig, the creator of jQuery, is the top-rated response, yet he actually echoes many of the sentiments of other (less-notable) responders before him. One of the less controversial suggestions is that the multiple domains YUI3 resources lives on should be consolidated into one. Another suggestion that makes sense is that the focus should now be on YUI3, even though there are many sites still running on YUI2 (it’s the old legacy code problem). I definitely agree with this, as it was somewhat embarrassing to see a book about YUI2 come out just a few months ago.

One of the most controversial suggestions is that YUI should break off from Yahoo and become completely open-source, where everyone can make contributions. That would certainly be nice, but I definitely don’t see this happening, and I’m unsure it’s worthwhile for YUI to try something like that.

How many users have JavaScript disabled?

A few weeks back, Nicholas Zakas wrote on the YDN blog about estimating the number of users with JavaScript disabled. His analysis uses statistics gathered from visitors to the Yahoo homepage.

One of his conclusions, after filtering out automated requests by bots, estimates that in the US, 2% of actual users have JavaScript disabled. This comes out to roughly 6 million visitors to the US Yahoo homepage each month, which is quite a substantial number.

The post attracted quite a bit of attention and many questions and criticism, notably from Mike Davies (formerly of Yahoo Europe), who criticizes Zakas for failing to fully disclose the measuring methodology, using a pre-filtered narrow set of users, and for not taking into account other factors that might account for JavaScript not executing.

Tidbits

JSConf EU 2010 Videos
Video: Extreme JavaScript Performance (Thomas Fuchs)
Announcing MooTools More 1.3
jQuery the Right Way

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2 Comments

  1. Ryan Grove says:

    “One of the most controversial suggestions is that YUI should break off from Yahoo and become completely open-source, where everyone can make contributions.”

    Probably just some unintentional phrasing here, but it’s worth noting that YUI is already completely open source, and everyone *can* make contributions. The core team are Yahoo! employees and the core of the library is carefully curated, but we have many external contributors and we’d love to have even more.

  2. davidcalhoun says:

    Yeah, that sentence did sort of skim the surface of the issue. I think from Resig’s comments there’s a desire for it to be even easier to contribute, and for more of the core contributors to not be Yahoos. I’m unsure of the process for a jQuery contributor, but YUI is still very much tied to the company. It’s an easy process, but you have to sign Contributor License Agreements to contribute code to YUI, and its direction is very much controlled by Yahoo!. I think it’s just the association with a big company that scares people.

    Funny enough I think jQuery might be heading the opposite direction – they are becoming more and more involved with Microsoft, and more plugins are being contributed by Microsoft employees.




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