Add Encryption toYour Web App With The Stanford Javascript Crypto Library

The Stanford Javascript Crypto Library (hosted here on Stanford’s server or here on GitHub) is a project by the Stanford Computer Security Lab to build a secure, powerful, fast, small, easy-to-use, cross-browser library for cryptography in Javascript.

via Stanford Javascript Crypto Library.

This looks like a great way to add encryption to web apps. Found out about it from Dave Winer’s mention of it in his announcement about the addition of encryption to Fargo. Seems like something that will be of use as I look into things like annotation schemes for ebooks and the Free Law Reporter. May also be of use for things like A2J Author as it moves to a browser based editor.


Unhangout From MIT Media Lab Seeks to Harness Google Hangouts For Large Live Events

Unhangout is an open source platform for running large scale online un-conference-style events using Google Hangoutsto create many simultaneous small sessions. Think of it like a classroom with infinitely many breakout rooms. We provide a text-based chat experience that can support hundreds of participants chatting or watching a live video stream together. When you want to create more opportunity for participation, you can break out into up-to-ten person Google Hangout sessions that create opportunities for peer learning instead of just top-down information transfer that is typical in large scale online education.

via Unhangout.

This is worth keeping an eye, especially if it manages to tame the wild world of Google APIs a bit to make Hangouts more useful for real events. Unhangout is written in Javascript and is powered by node.js and Redis. You can get the code for this open source project on GitHub at


When You Want to Browse the Web Without a Browser

Sometime you need to get stuff from the web without that pesky browser getting in the way. Screenshots, testing, archives, scraping, and such often call for getting a page from the web and doing something with it. Automating this with a conventional browse is no fun. Linux folks have the advantage of wget and cURL running from the command line. Programmers and developers will use the language and libraries of their choice. But it is still a chore. Well, there may be an easier way.

I’ve found a couple of javascript libraries, PhantomJS and SlimerJS (yes, very ghosty!) that provide tools for building JavaScript that can manipulate web pages, effectively browsing the web without the browser. PhantomJS “is a headless WebKit scriptable with a JavaScript API. It has fast and native support for various web standards: DOM handling, CSS selector, JSON, Canvas, and SVG.” SlimerJS “is useful to do functional tests, page automaton, network monitoring, screen capture, etc. SlimerJS is similar to PhantomJs, except that it runs Gecko, the browser engine of Mozilla Firefox, instead of Webkit.”

I’ve been looking for a way to generate screenshots of pages that I’ve generated shortened URLs for with my shortener figuring that it would be nice to have a browsable library of pages. Either of these libraries will do the trick.

You can find both on Github: SlimerJS on GH & PhantomJS on GH.

He’s Back! Dave Winer Teases A JS HTML5 In Browser Outliner

On Monday of this week, somewhat quietly, we released the docs for the outliner we’ve been developing at Small Picture, Inc.

The docs are interesting, if you like outliners — but also interesting because they illustrate something important about the outliner. It’s very easy to include in a web page.

There’s a practice outliner right there on the docs page. Kind of subtle. 😉

via Scripting News: It’s an outliner!.

If I were looking for a killer app, an outliner that runs completely in the browser and is always on the network would certainly fit the bill. And that is just what Dave Winer and his programming partner Kyle Shank are bringing us from their new startup Small Picture. Their goal is “to bring outlining software to the browser environment, in JavaScript, through the power of HTML 5.”

The outliner in a browser that’s linked in the quote above seems to really deliver. It offers all of the features that you’ve come to expect in a Winer Outliner and includes features that will appeal to programmers too. Dave promises to reveal new bits of the browser outliner over the coming Mondays, so there’s something to look forward to.

I’ll be very interested in seeing just how this outliner rolls out. A quick peek into the JavaScript that makes it go shows it’s reading/writing from a given OPML file. Going forward the ability to create, share, and collaborate on a network of OPML files is going to be where the “killer app” aspect of this product lies. I hope this means a distributed network of OPML hosts offering browser based access to the outlines.

And boy would it be nice if the server side would run on Linux.

Codecademy adds jQuery lessons and scratchpad to its online coding school

Getting jQuery Right From The Start

jQuery has changed the way we write Javascript by abstracting out much of the painful cross-browser implementation details that used to plague developers, but to use it correctly still requires a little knowledge about what’s going on under the hood. In this post we’ll take a good look at jQuery’s selectors and how to use them efficiently.

Wealthfront Engineering: jQuery the Right Way.

One of the best explanations of how jQuery works and how to use it properly I’ve seen. Best part is the inclusion of things that will actually slow jQuery down, resulting in a poor experience for your visitors, coupled with faster alternatives.