Tag Archives: Web browser

Computer Algorithms: Stack and Queue

Introduction

Every developer knows that computer algorithms are tightly related to data structures. Indeed many of the algorithms depend on a data structures and can be very effective for some data structures and ineffective for others. A typical example of this is the heapsort algorithm, which depends on a data structure called “heap”. In this case although the stack and the queue are data structures instead of pure algorithms it’s imporant to understand their structure and the way they operate over data.

However, before we continue with the concrete realization of the stack and the queue, let’s first take a look on the definition of this term. A data structure is a logical abstraction that “models” the real world and presents (stores) our data in a specific format. The access to this data structure is often predefined thus we can access directly every item containing data. This help us to perform a different kind of tasks and operations over different kind of data structures – insert, delete, search, etc.. A typical data structures are the stack, the queue, the linked list and the tree.

All these structures help us perform specific operations effectively. For instance searching in a balanced tree is faster than searching in a linked list.

It is also very important to note that data structures can be represented in many different ways. We can model them using arrays or pointers, as shown in this post. In fact the most important thing is to represent the logical structure of the data structure you’re modeling. Thus the stack is a structure that follows the LIFO (Last In First Out) principle and it doesn’t matter how it is represented in our program (whether it will be coded with an array or with pointers). The important thing into a stack representation is to follow the LIFO principle correctly. In this case if the stack is an array only its top should be accessible and the only operation must be inserting new top of the stack.
Continue reading Computer Algorithms: Stack and Queue

Diving into Node.js – Introduction & Installation

Why I Need Something Like Node.js?

First of all the use of some software is needed not because of itself, but because of the need of some specific functionality. In my case this was the need of real time news feed. Of course there is a way to make this without Node.js, as I’ll describe later in this post, but there are several disadvantages. However to begin from somewhere, let me explain what is Node.js.

Introducing Node.js

Perhaps the best way do describe what is Node.js is from its about page.

Node’s goal is to provide an easy way to build scalable network programs. In the “hello world” web server example above, many client connections can be handled concurrently. Node tells the operating system (through epoll, kqueue, /dev/poll, or select) that it should be notified when a new connection is made, and then it goes to sleep. If someone new connects, then it executes the callback. Each connection is only a small heap allocation.

In general Node is a program using the Google Chrome’s V8 JavaScript engine, which in turn is a program that can parse and execute code written in JavaScript. V8 is a very very interesting project itself. First of all from Google have developed this engine especially for one of his products – their browser Chrome. It pretends to be and by no means is one of the masterpieces of Google. It is fast and reliable engine, written in C++ and JavaScript, as Wikipedia’s page says. Actually this code is open source and can be embedded in whatever application written in C++. Thus you can have in your application a JavaScript engine. Continue reading Diving into Node.js – Introduction & Installation

HTML5 video support. Detecting, playing and progressive enhancement!

HTML5 video

HTML5 is mentioned as entirely new “thing” out in the web, but what it actually means is rather a collection of new, unknown for the current HTML version, features. One of the most interesting and used things in HTML5 are the support of a video in a entirely new “video” tag. Until now the playing of a video was either with Flash player or with Quick Time. But in both cases it relied on a third party plugins. Of course normally the question about performance was inevitable. Which is faster? But imagine we didn’t have the IMG tag? This give you the answer – using third party plugins always slows down the page, and today most of the web is based on video sharing and therefore the browsers become slower!

Performance of HTML5 video tag against Flash video players

As I mentioned above the performance of HTML5 video should be way better than the performance of any Flash video player. To be more precise I’ll reference an article from ajaxian.com, where the author points on his turn an interesting presentation. Indeed the performance of HTML5 video was way, way better:

But sometimes this doesn’t resolves all the problems. Normally with this “new” technique of putting a video into the page, come some additional issues.

First of all there are many codecs that the browser should support and almost always there is something “your” browser don’t support. That makes the task bigger. Now you should support more and more video file formats for the different browsers. And yet another problem is the detection of this codec support.

Detection and integration

Lucky enough, I found a great article and tutorial describing how to integrate HTML5 video with progressive enhancement. First of all you can check for it’s support than downgrade to Quick Time and Flash and if the client doesn’t support even that – render an image.

You can find the source here.

Thanks to this technique you can fully integrate new video tag into your page. Remember that most of the clients for sure will be happy to watch video in a more user friendly manner.