xbdev - software development
Friday September 22, 2023
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More than just code ....


Greetings visitor, welcome to xbdev.net, bringing you all the bits and bytes ....


Please explore the of tutorials and research articles through to prototypes and sample code listings on a range of subjects. All sorts of exciting gems from graphical formats through to game engines and machine learning.
If there is a particular area or project you'd be interested in proposing - something that would be an invaluable help to the public - please get in touch.
We are always open to new ideas and projects, anything you can imagine... ranging from reverse engineering to writing simple hello world tutorials in for game consoles.

What's been happening, what's new, what does tomorrow hold?


Regular Expression Crosswords (Wordsearches)

Regular Expression Crosswords (rcross.xbdev.net)

Apart from boosting your problem-solving skills and spelling, tackling regular expression problems using word searches helps your brain to further improve your understanding of the syntax (fun learning resource for a challenging subject - helping you digest and master regular expressions).

It's a great way for everyone to learn regular expressions (basic syntax, bugs and tricks) and feel smarter.

If you're interested in having a look at how it's coded - provided a link to some of the base code - which shows other experiments (diferent versions etc). Even though it's just a 2D grid for visualizing basic regular expressions, it's really fun... try some of the examples ;) You can see the examples and answers - of course, clear the solution and try it from scratch. The online program changes the squares to 'green' when you're correct and 'red/orange' when wrong.

You can also take screenshots and save the grid if you want to work on it for a while - you can even write your own (save/load them). Regex's are really powerful, and as the old saying goes, with great power comes great responsibility! Also don't go mad! They're magical for certain tasks, but don't use them for everything. You wouldn't use a hammer to fix a lose screw?

Have fun and happy reg-exp-wording ;)

Project Page (rcross.xbdev.net)

Test Example - Proof of concept base-code (Code)

Ray-Tracing Visualization Resources

Learning Ray-Tracing (rays.xbdev.net)

An animated visualization resource to learn about basic ray-tracing concepts - so you can experiment and understand how a ray travels around the scene to build up an image.

The simple animated examples provides lots of custom features to experiment with, such as, reflection, refraction, lights, shadows, and so on. Useful resource to help explain and visualize the algorithm. You can toggle different features on/off, and change parameters (like the incident of refraction). The image is a generated SVG (sharp resolution).

If you're interested in having a look at how it's coded - provided a link to some of the base code - which shows other experiments, including a fractals/Mandelbrot version of the concept (instead of just spheres). Even though it's just 2D and for visualizing basic principles, it's really fun... try ramping up the maximum number of rays (500+) and turn on all the features ;)

Project Page (rays.xbdev.net)

Test Example - Mandelbrot/Fractals (Code)

Pattern Generator

Tile/Profile Picture Pattern Generator

There maybe occasions when you want a random tile image (sizes, complexity and color) - either for a profile, background or artistic need.

Small bit of code that randomly generates a tiles (either a single tile pattern or multiple ones - you can tweak the preferences, such as the resolution and colors). Try out the code on notebook.xbdev.net or you can use the pattern.xbdev.net project page (generate and download images when you need them.

Project Page (pattern.xbdev.net)

Simplified Test Code (Code)

WebGPU Gems (Book - Call Chapters)

WebGPU Gems Book (Call for Chapter Proposals)

As the WebGPU API undergoes its final stages; there is a need for examples, studies and tutorials to demonstrate/show different features in contexts. The WebGPU Gems book is motivated by this need; the need for an edited collection of original projects/research works to showcase the broad range of possible solutions; as well as how they could leverage one another in a concerted and complementary way.


NoteBook Developer Interactive Tiles (Images/Colors) (D3)

Try the interactive tile example....

You can tinker with the demo to create all sorts of effects, the example creates lots of small tiles - which as you move the cursor around are brought to the front (both a color and an image example)

(Here's Link to the code and different versions ).

The code uses the d3.js library (free, open source and modular) - makes it easy (and quick) to implement web-based visualization (eye candy). Sorry if the recorded 'gif' is a bit jittery - if you try the demo it looks much smoother :)

NoteBook Developer Inverse Kinematics Demo (JS)

Try the interactive Inverse Kinematic example....

You can tinker with the demo to create all sorts of effects, try adding more links, or scaling the iteration speed (moves towards the solution faster but oscillates/vibrates more).

(Here's Link to the code and different versions ).

The majority of the code is setup code for the graphics - however, it's a compact 2-dimensional example of the CCD IK concept (try adding more details, make the single linked chain into a ragdoll, with 2 arms and 2 legs that you can drag around).

NoteBook Developer Scrolling Text Effect (JS/CSS)

Scrolling text effect using JS and CSS, very simple, but really catchy....

For the example, I've grabbed a simple test image of a jigsaw and put in some simple text - but it's really easy to customize, with lots of things to try.

(Here's Link to the code and different versions ).

Once you've got the basic principles mastered, you can customize the effect in all sorts of ways, mixing different textures, speeds, directions, response to mouse/user input, change the speed or text dynamically, - you can even have multiple overlapping scrolling texts... cool eh! No? I know, better than cool! Super cool ;)

NoteBook Developer (Testing/Learning JS Programming)

Inspired by CodeSandBox, CodePen and Jupyter Notebook, I decided to develop an uncomplicated client based tool for testing out (and writing) simple Javascript programs. Sometimes, you just want to 'test' something, without all the complications - something that doesn't depend on a server (runs on your computer - client side). I followed the Jupyter layout, so you see a 'list' (instead of your programs on different pages) - to help you develop and incrementally see your code grow - with the output for your program given below (easy to edit and re-run), or create a new version... Brilliant for small programs, testing and learning. Give it a try and see what you think. Only the first version, maybe I'll add some extra features (e.g., syntax highlighting).

( Here's Link (notebook.xbdev.net) ).

Really crazy what you can achieve using a web browser! Just take a look, everything from machine learning libraries, hardware acceleration (WebGL/WebGPU), even Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality (WebXR) is possible using a standard web browser! Non of those issues of cross platform, installation, latest builds... it just runs!! (as long as you have a reasonable computer and an up to date web browser).

Life Goes by too quickly!!!...

Printable calendar created using Vanilla Javascript, which shows the life-calendar (generated on-the-fly when the page loads). It lets you see just how much time you've got! 90 years! It sounds like a lot, but when you look at the calendar, you'll start to wonder (how much time have you got left!! ;).

   Link to Calendar

Let me know if you think of any little tweaks that might make it a bit more fun? Maybe a pick/click on a specific square to vote that your best day (and see which days were also picked by other people - what do you think? good idea?)

Rick&Morty Mario Just for Fun...

While they keep us waiting for the new season of Rick & Morty! What's even worse, they're teasing us and feeding us juicy tid-bits and snippets! Just to drive us crazy thirsty for more!!
So just for a bit of fun I created a Mario-Rick crossover! ;)

   Link to Demo

Pre-order your season 5 of R&M now! Order extra copies for friends and family ;)

Code-Misery (Pair Programming)

You'll at one point or another during your career hear about the amazing benefits of pair programming. Work as a team, together, on a single computer to 'double' your performance. But what happens when pair programming goes wrong? What could happen?

Then again, there are those that might say, "what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger".

Testing? Volunteer Game Testers (Test Your Skills)

I'm working on a port of the classic Mario game (the retro 2D version) - and I wanted some play testing. I've made a version of the game available if anyone wanted to volunteer and give it a try - test if you have 'skillz' - also to see if there are any bugs?

At the end of each level you can rate the difficulty and if you like coffee ;)
I've shown a few of the level mock-ups below so you can see how the levels are structured and what to expect.

Link to Game
The game runs in on a web page, doesn't require any installation or complex graphics and is just for fun.
You should be able to click on the link, and run it on a web page and use the cursor keys to move around.
It took me an hour or so to get into the groove before I was able to get through the first few levels. Not sure if the balance is right between the fun, frustration and anger!
To make it a little less painful, so you don't throw your computer out the window, if you do complete a level, then if you die, you continue from the level that you've last reached ;) So you can continue to progress and rate each level as you go :) If anyone gets through all the levels, email me! I won't believe it! No one has those skills! ;)

Time is flying past so fast! - Christmas Is Coming Again (2021!) Again!

A range of new articles on Javascript and Interactive Web-Based solutions are available, not to mention, research articles that explore cutting edge topics.

I'm sure you'll find something to feed your curiosity. As who can't resist opening the hud, and having a look at what's actually happening inside - optimization tricks, software projects, file formats, processors, compilers, assembly, so many juicy topics ....

Season of Gouls and Ghosts - Halloween!

Just because it's that time of year, and we don't want to go straight to Christmas and miss Halloween. Get into the 'spirit' of things. A simple Halloween/Javascript Game with an integrated editor (link).


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