06 May 2010

PhyloPainter: Happy Little Trees

The whole Flash/Apple fracas has been rather distasteful to me. But I'm not going to dwell on that right now. Instead, I am trying to keep an open mind by trying out some of the technologies that are competing with my favored development tools. First up: HTML 5.

I'll probably write more on the topic later, but suffice to say for now that working HTML 5 feels like I've traveled in time back to 2001, the days of ActionScript 1.0. JavaScript is a poor language for anything complicated. Canvas has covered the basics of vector drawing well, but little else. That said, I see potential and I'm pretty certain the tools will improve.

For my first HTML 5 app, I ported some basic functionality from Names on Nodes, namely, the ability to read Newick tree strings and the ability to draw graphs. I give you:

It's a bit rough right now. For one thing, it doesn't work in Internet Explorer (despite the inclusion of a workaround JavaScript tool—the current version of IE doesn't support HTML 5 Canvas). But it's a start.

Give it a try—paint some happy little trees!

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