News roundup: Chrome ditches H.264, Mobile Perf bookmarklet, Reddit’s list of JavaScript game engines

Chrome ditches H.264

Google released a bombshell this week by dropping support of the H.264 video format. The rationale behind this is Google’s pledge to support open video formats, which is the same philosophy behind Mozilla Firefox and Opera. And yet it’s no coincidence that Google is behind the WebM (VP8) codec, one of the main open video formats being pushed. Many have questioned this decision, especially given the fact that Chrome still supports Flash, which is not open.

You may know H.264 as the de facto video format powering iOS devices. The trouble is that the codec isn’t open, and the company behind it, despite extending their royalty-free period to 2016, will still have legal precedent to charge consumers in a few years. The format’s future on the web is uncertain, despite being ubiquitous.

In the end, it seems clear that people would have felt better about Google’s decision if it had no vested interest in the success of any particular video format. Now it seems pitted against Apple more than ever before.

Microsoft responded in a strange and thinly-veiled post implying that Google’s move is akin to the failure of Esperanto.

These are interesting times to be sure!

UPDATE: Google just today released a more detailed post about their decision.

Mobile Perf bookmarklet

One of the first fruits of Steve Souders’ recent focus on mobile performance is a suite of mobile performance tools bundled together in a Mobile Perf bookmarklet.

The bookmarklet loads in the extra tools by way of dynamically inserting script blocks. After loading, the user can run Firebug Lite, DOM Monster, SpriteMe, CSSess, and Zoompf through a small menu. Steve mentions that the suggestion to make the tools a meta-bookmarklet (including several bookmarklets) came by way of his discussions with Thomas Fuchs, who in the course of the conversation open-sourced DOM Monster (thanks!).

Reddit’s crowdsourced list of JavaScript game engines

Over the past few week’s we’ve been trying to track the slew of new JavaScript game engines being released, and it’s nice to see folks on reddit try to track them as well. In addition to providing a link to each engine, this in-progress list also attempts to note the license and the type of engine (2D, 3D, isometric, etc.) as well as other various details.

In short, if you’re considering making a game in JavaScript and already know a few requirements, this list will probably be your first stop!

Releases

YUI 3.3.0 brings support to Android, IE9, and Firefox 4
jQuery 1.5 beta
Node 0.3.4

Upcoming Events

Performance of the new Twitter (SF Web Performance Group) (Jan 17 in San Francisco)
jQuery: Making Javascript fun again (HTML5 Silicon Valley) (January 18, 2011 in Mountain View, CA)
New Adventures in Web Design (January 20, 2011 in Nottingham, England)
Paul Irish on HTML5 Boilerplate (January 27, 2011 in San Francisco, CA)
Day of JavaScript on Mobile (January 27, 2011 in Mountain View, CA)
Mozilla/P2PU School of Webcraft (January 2011 online)
JS Boot Camp (February 10-11, 2011 in Reston, Virginia, US)
Confoo.CA: Web Techno Conference (March 9-11, 2011 in Montreal, Canada)
JSConf 2011 (May 2-3, 2011 in Portland, Oregon, US)
NodeConf 2011 (May 5, 2011 in Portland, Oregon, US)
jsday (May 12-14, 2011 in Italy)
Mobilism (May 12-13, 2011 in Amsterdam)
TXJS (June 11, 2011 in Texas)

Tidbits

Arbor.js is an interesting new graph visualization library using web workers and jQuery
scopeleaks.js is a small script to detect stray global variables
What Can Be Done About 3 Gotchas in IE9 Beta – DeviantArt developer mudimba discusses some issues and workarounds working with canvas in IE9
Silk is an experimental drawing canvas that produces pretty amazing patterns (iOS version is still in development)
Partial Application in JavaScript – Ben Alman describes functional programming concepts such as partial application and currying in JavaScript
memcached.js is a port of Memcached to JavaScript running on Node.js
PopcornJS is a new HTML5 video framework
three.js is a 3D engine by mrdoob
Get up to speed with Mozilla’s IndexedDB Primer
Video: People of HTML5 – Remy Sharp
HTML5 Guitar Tab Player with the Firefox 4 Audio Data API
Douglas Crockford talks about recent updates to jslint
mug, a JavaScript compiler for the JVM written in Clojure
Learning Advanced JavaScript is a set of interactive slides by John Resig in anticipation of his upcoming book
spec is an event-driven JavaScript unit testing library
JavaScript Full Screen API, Navigation Timing and repeating CSS Gradients – Peter Beverloo takes a look at the new onwebkitfullscreenchange event
CamanJS Revisited – Improving Render Times by Ditching Web Workers – a case where not using web workers proved more performant
ES5 strict mode support: new vars created by strict mode veal code are local to that code only
ES5: Strict Mode (Rob Sayre’s Mozilla Blog) – Firefox 4 now supports strict mode more fully than any browser

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2 Comments

  1. Bill Chapman says:

    “Microsoft responded in a strange and thinly-veiled post implying that Google’s move is akin to the failure of Esperanto.”

    Failure? What failure?

    It’s true that Esperanto hasn’t yet gained the recognition it deserves. However, all things considered, it has actually done amazingly well. In just over 120 years, it has managed to grow from a drawing-board project with just one speaker in one country to a complete and living natural language with around 2,000,000 speakers in over 120 countries and a rich literature and cosmopolitan culture, with little or no official backing and even bouts of persecution. It hasn’t taken the world by storm – yet – but it’s slowly but surely moving in that direction, with the Internet giving it a significant boost in recent years.

  2. Fabrice says:

    Oh. My. God. Another Esperanto troll. That is so funny. Well now David, you know. Never, EVER, mention “Esperanto” anywhere near your personal blog or community forums. These guys are almost as bad as the Bible freaks. I had the same happen on my own forums. THe word “Esperanto” popped in a discussion, and lo-and-behold, someone came out of nowhere, registered and starting arguing about the language even though our forums have NOTHING TO DO with Esperanto in the first place.

    Bill, in case you didn’t realize: this is a Javascript blog. NOBODY gives a damn about Esperanto here. Don’t you have better things to do with your time? At least you could have written your post in Esperanto, to make a point.

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