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Tuesday 8 November 2016

Tuesday Afternoon Decisions

It's that time of the year where I need to rebuild my website. I'm happy with the simplicity of the filesystem-based view but I'm not interested in building modules for functionality from scratch. The downside of the current design is that it's largely static — one of the motivators behind this little blog here. What's the best python-based CMS? Django gets an A for being a great platform but what if you didn't want to roll all your models and templates from scratch?.

There are a handful of CMSs that are built on top of Django. So far I've heard of one called mezzanine but it seems like the support for mezzanine has dropped off a bit since 2014 or so. Basically, one could argue that you can gauge the success of a given platform by the documentation and the size of its community. I've started looking into wagtail developed in the UK. Despite its somewhat annoying name it looks promising.

https://wagtail.io

I think i'll try and get this setup locally and see what It offers out of the box.

Monday 7 November 2016

Getting to know Three.js

So far all I can say is that I'm absolutely floored (in a good way) by three.js. The documentation is 9/10 which is saying a ton. So far, as someone who generates a lot of content in Illustrator, I'm a little distraught by the lack of proper SVG instancing in the WebGL rendering library. I lost a solid day on that. There are other rendering engines, Canvas and SVG-native, but none of them have the richness of OpenGL; shadows, reflection maps etc. I spent a big part of the summer building an OpenGL app in python only to finally accept that python isn't the tool for it. I'm excited to work using three.js because it lets me experiment OpenGL (well, WebGL) in a highly portable environment.

I'm currently using the dev version of three.js which can be found at: https://github.com/mrdoob/three.js/...

For the past several years, I've been looking at how to use 3d engines (even home-rolled) for displaying static hierarchical data. I found that the best responsiveness so far was using OpenGL in OBJC apps. The disadvantage is OBJC itself, which is painful to learn as well as being platform-specific. I've looked at/developed in Python because there are utilities that can export Python apps to both Apple and PC platforms but the way Python uses memory really started to get in the way. In many ways, native applications will always offer better performance than non-native. While I wait for that reality to change, I'm going back to browser-based development.

Current work in progress can be found here: http://luminome.com/static/aux/thre...

This is a filesystem view of the luminome.com site's public asset folder. The folder is traversed and exported as JSON by a python-wsgi app on the backend. That blob of json (a flattened nodal representation of the folder) is then displayed using objects in three.js.