05 Feb, 2020Two New Christmas Apps
Christmas school holidays can be tough if you work from home, but I was able to get a couple of little projects done that I have had rolling around in my head for quite a while. The first allows you to create low-poly 3D trees of various levels of abstraction, and the second lets you view simple polyhedra and apply sequential geometric operations to generate higher-order shapes and forms.
This web app lets you generate a range of polyhedra – based on Platonic, Archimedean, Prism and Johnson Solids – and then interactively apply a sequence of mathematical operations on them to create more complex higher-order polyhedra. These include all the standard Conway and Hart operators as well as some additional 'extended' operations of my own.
This web app lets you interactively generate both abstract and realistic procedural 3D trees for use with BIM and building performance analysis. Once generated, you can analyse dynamic shading effects as well as exporting them as geometry or generating the code required to create the same tree in a BIM model or with a script. It also serves as a visual test suite for stress testing my tree geometry generation code under lots of different conditions and configurations.
12 Mar, 2019The Wonders of Duck Typing
26 Nov, 2018Recent Service Interruption
As you may have noticed, my blog has had quite a few outages lately which hopefully have now been sorted out. However, after some long-running issues with the occasional html file simply disappearing, my web hosting service provider has recently upgraded their infrastructure and, in the process, blown up most of my other Drupal-based sites.
09 Jun, 2018New Schedule Editor
I have finally finished my online annual hourly schedule editor, which took several iterations and quite some time to get working the way I wanted. It's of interest because hopefully its relatively easy to use and can read and write schedules in a range of different formats, including EnergyPlus (IDF and epJSON), OpenStudio (OSM), DIVA/DaySim (.OCC.CSV) and some other CSV layouts.
12 Nov, 2017Why Educational Tools
A common question I get, both directly and indirectly, is why do I spend so much time on what seem to be pretty limited educational apps rather than doing a full-on building analysis tool that can handle real projects. I documented this at the start of a recent research paper , but figured that I should probably summarise my reasons here as well.
08 Nov, 2017JSON Settings
Quite a few people have asked lately about the settings editor in my web apps and how to use it. Actually most of the questions were more along the lines of 'why on earth do you use JSON for storing settings in your apps, and what’s with that weird editor?'. Well I have one or two good reasons for both, which I shall endeavour to explain.
01 Nov, 2017Two New Web Experiments
As part of adding support for scriptable tutorials, I had to create my own 3D vector font and annotation libraries. Both are intended to be highly dynamic and customisable so I wrote a couple of apps that interactively control their properties to thoroughly test them. As a bonus, these apps also serve as font and annotation designers, allowing you to do visual customisations and then copy/paste the code required to create that text or annotation in a script.
08 Feb, 2016Moving From Drupal to Hugo
My content management system of choice is Drupal. It has served me pretty well and allowed me to do a lot of things I probably could never have done without it. However, it has become such an attention seeker these days; with security issues, module upgrades, heavy comment spam and database blowouts seemingly weekly events. Also, upgrading to the newest version is never as smooth as promised. Thus, instead of upgrading my blog to Drupal 8, I have dumped it entirely and moved to a completely static site using Hugo.
05 Jan, 2016Understanding WebGL
My biggest issue with WebGL, and actually all non-immediate-mode OpenGL, is constantly fighting with the requirements of vertex buffers and attributes. I seem to be always looking for ways to minimise and optimise memory whereas vertex buffer objects always seem to want me to waste large amounts of it with duplicate attributes. However, reconciling that requirement in my own mind has actually given me a bit of insight into potentially alternate uses for the WebGL render pipeline.
30 Sep, 2015Web Experiments
PerformativeDesign.com has gone into a short code-freeze for some external testing now so I have finally got a bit of time to catch my breath. As part of that work, I have had to do quite a few small experiments and proofs-of-concept, just as a way of seeing what was possible and then working out the best ways to do various things. Some of these were a bit interesting and often a lot of fun so I thought I'd polish up a few and make them available as a small taster of things to come, hopefully quite soon.
03 Jan, 2010Interactive 3D in a Web Page
This page discusses the results of my experiments with Processing over the Christmas break. What is interesting about Processing is that it allows you to create fully interactive 3D applets embedded in a standard web page on any platform. For visualising and playing around with complex concepts, this offers something far more exciting than even Adobe Flash.
02 Sep, 2009Stung by Drupal's Filter Caching, Again
When will I ever learn? I just lost another few hours of my life because - again - I didn't properly understand Drupal's filter cache system.
28 Aug, 2009Hacking Drupal's 'Read more' Link
When displaying a list of node teasers, Drupal includes a 'Read more' item within a list of links at the bottom of each node. Other items in this list include links for adding comments, the number of page reads and other node-specific actions. For users not familiar with Drupal, this link can be easily missed as it is given the same significance as all the others, making it not particularly obvious that there is more information available.