We’re very proud to release Popcorn.js 0.7. This is one of our biggest releases – 66 tickets in our changelog! Popcorn.js features many code optimizations and improvements, and now has over 1148 unit tests. Our core, plugins, parsers and players each receive rigorous testing before we ship. With each release, the library is more stable and ready to deploy! You can download the release here.
Aside from this increased stability (and the release of a processing.js plugin!), the notable features of this release are Event Effects, plugin defaults and SMPTE timecode support.
Event effects offer a way for developers to attach css and other UI elements to popcorn events. When a Popcorn event “fires”, a developer can add a color, move the element, or anything else possible with CSS + html. With our event effects framework, we’ve made popcorn plugins much more powerful. To see this in action, re-visit our original popcorn demo, now using our event effects framework. For further detail, read Scott Downe’s detailed blog and how to.
Plugin Defaults allow authors to set the options (such as target) for a plugin once and apply it to all calls, saving development time.
SMPTE timecode is the standard for video, and allowing authors to use this format makes Popcorn more useful to video creators. Authors can specify the framerate and then simply use the time format they’re accustomed to.
Popcorn in the wild
I’m excited to present a face lift to our popcornjs.org demos page, with particular thanks to community member Patrick Ortell for finding time between family life, school and a full time job to help us with some css love.
Its a great time to show off – two very exciting productions have launched recently that take advantage of popcorn.
The first is “Visions Of Students Today” – a great video collage remix by Michael Wesch and students of the Digital Ethnography program at Kansas State University. Michael Wesch has been rightly dubbed “the explainer” for his great analysis of digital culture. You may remember “The Machine is Us/ing Us” video from a few years back. This time, Professor Wesch solicited over 200 contributions of first person videos from students and remixed these into an analysis of the challenges and opportunities for educators in the digital age.
The second production, “Happy World“, is a web documentary in the gonzo tradition. French producers Upian, who pioneered the web documentary genre with docs like Gaza/Sderot and Prison Valley, used popcorn to annotate their exploration of the bizarre Burmese regime.
These are in addition to the other great examples of Popcorn on our new demos page – I encourage you to experience them all!
Eating our own doc-food
We’re making documentation a priority in the run up to 1.0, and are experimenting in this release with audio/visual guides that use popcorn to illustrate code along the way. Visit our documentation page and scroll to the “Guides” section to see them in action. To create these, we wrote a plugin for the Gist code sharing platform (a part of Github). We recorded a narration of how to create some basic popcorn pages (Popcorn 101, Youtube, Vimeo) and then used our new plugin to highlight the relevant portions. The plugin then allows you to run the code in an frame, showing the results of your coding in the same page. Our plan is to use this feature to document many more features, and we hope you might find it useful for your projects as well. Stay tuned for this plugin to be released in 0.8 when we put it through our testing process.
Our API documentation also improves with each release – visit our API page for detailed documentation of all the features in popcorn.
With this new release, its a great time to get involved – visit our community page to find out how!