I’m continuously amazed at the versatility of WordPress. As a blogging platform, it’s incredible. However, it’s also incredibly useful as just a general website engine – it creates the shell, and the internals can be done up however you please. At most, you only need to know a modest amount of PHP to create a stunning website, and even if you don’t, you can still get by most of the time by choosing a good theme and widget set. I have to say, if there was only one platform the web ran on, I’d seriously hope it was WordPress.
A quick note – I’ve updated my jQuery Image Overlay Plugin to version 1.1. This version adds support for pinning the overlay so it is always viewable (not just when you mouse over the image). There were no other changes, so you should be able to upgrade without worry.
Here’s a 3D CSS Animated Image Carousel that I created while I was learning about 3D CSS animation. Watch the video above to see the technique in action. If you’re on a 3D CSS animation capable browser (currently a non-production version of MAC Safari and mobile Safari in the iPhone and iPod Touch), go ahead and check it out. The video was shot with my XBOX360 webcam, of all things.
Here’s a GeoLocator example I put together that showcases two popular GeoLocation techniques – IP lookup and using the GeoLocation API – in order to both demonstrate the techniques as well as to show the issues with each.
In HTML, there are a few ways of determining the location of a user. Traditionally, this has always been accomplished by IP lookup – a lookup is performed with your IP against a database of known IP locations. This technique leaves a lot to be desired, but it’s been all that’s been available for a very long time.
In HTML5, however, there’s a new Geolocation API. The gist of this feature is that instead of relying on IP address lookup, the browser will instead interrogate the device for this information. This allows devices that have native geolocation hardware (GPS receivers and Wifi antennas, for example) to be able to pass their known location to the browser. Many web-enabled devices of today already provide support for this feature, including the iPhone, the Palm Pre, Android phones, and some netbooks.
The problem with all these methods, however, is that none of them just work on all devices. IP lookup works best in the workplace, but it doesn’t work as well for home users and doesn’t work at all for mobile users, as it pretty much requires a stationary device (amongst other things). The Geolocation API is not supported in all browsers yet (with the major notable holdout being all versions of Internet Explorer), and it tends not to work well on devices that don’t have built-in GPS capabilities (which the bulk of desktop and laptop devices still aren’t equipped with).
Worse yet, when location is returned via any technique, it is often inaccurate. In my case, IP lookup and Geolocation lookup provide locations that are over 10 miles away from each other! That’s not a discrepancy that can be resolved in many cases.
In the longer term, the Geolocation API is almost certainly the way to go. When it is fully supported, it is the most accurate method available. Today, though, the landscape is still fractured and implementing accurate geolocation is not trivial on the web.