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Caching effects

Sort of discovered this by surprise. I was making the typical “mouse-over” effects for buttons, where they grow a few pixels when you hover over them. But, since only one webkit transformation can be applied to an element at any given time, I decided to use a callback to catch effects that overlap.

Well, it’s pretty cool! Move the mouse pointer in and out of the control very quickly to see what I mean. And naturally, the element never looses its original size. This is perfect for music vumeter’s — or perhaps a ripple effect that never loses track of the original size?

  W3Button1.OnMouseEnter:=Procedure (sender:TObject; Shift: TShiftState; X, Y: Integer)
    if not w3button1.fxBusy then
    w3Button1.fxScaleUp(4,0.2) else
    w3_callback( procedure ()
      end, 100);

  w3button1.OnMouseExit:=procedure (sender:TObject; Shift: TShiftState; X, Y: Integer)
    if not w3button1.fxBusy then
    w3Button1.fxScaleDown(4,0.2) else
    w3_callback( procedure ()
      end, 100);

Oh, and remember to update the QTX svn library before trying it !


I decided to add this form of caching to the library itself. This completely removes the need for an effect-stack (linear “list” of effects to execute one after the other).

Well, everything is now in place to write some interesting, dynamic and awesome Smart Pascal visual components. I could be tempted to write a book on advanced Smart Mobile coding — interested?

Storing stuff inside the tag

User definable per-tag attributes

User definable per-tag attributes

Another thing I learned today. As you probably understand by now, a Smart Visual Component consists of two parts. First, there is the javascript object which is what you compile from Object Pascal, secondly there is the HTML element which your control manages via code.

But what if you want to store some data which can be read/written without access to the JS code?

Let me introduce you to the problem. The effects library is capable of animating any TW3CustomControl based element, regardless of what basetype it implements (DIV, PRE, IFRAME etc..). But it does this via class helpers – so how can we store a boolean value informing us that an effect is active? We dont want to re-mold the RTL (at least not before the technology is rock solid) — so how can we attach data to an element without altering the virtual method table data?

Ta-Da! —  HTML5 introduces something called Data Attributes (read more here: http://html5doctor.com/html5-custom-data-attributes/) . Basically, whenever you use attributes on a tag which begins with “data-“, the browser leaves them in place (ordinarily it would remove them or not include them in the DOM). This allows us to do stuff like below, without affecting javascript, the RTL or the DOM negatively in any way (!):

<DIV ID="w3Panel1" data-fxActive="true">

In the QTX library read/write access to data-attributes is introduced in the class TQTXAttrAccess (qtxutils.pas). So if you include this unit in your project, all TW3CustomControl based elements gain an extra property called ElementData of type TQTXAttrAccess. Think of it like an unlimited box of TComponent.Tag values 🙂

Effects without stylesheet punching

Unless you have been living under a rock you would know that the GPU can only be accessed via CSS. This means you have to write stylesheet code (which you can edit inside Smart Mobile Studio). But this ties you down a bit, because what if you want to re-use some effects in another app? You either have to copy the CSS and Pascal code over — or… you can author the effect CSS in smart pascal directly.

And that my friend is why you will find a class called TQTXStyleSheet in the qtxstyles.pas unit. It allows you to write cutting edge GPU effects that are portable between projects — and you can leave the default, model view stylesheet intact.

You are welcome!

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