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Thread: Web Based Front End

  1. #1
    Newbie Zenith_Warrior's Avatar
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    Web Based Front End

    How many web based front ends are there?

    Including the ones that are using Flash or COM objects, cgi, vb or some other backend.
    Are there any that are fully integrated into the web browser, gps and all?

  2. #2
    Super Moderator xBrady's Avatar
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    Nothing good that I know of. Why on earth would you want your front end to be web-based in the first place?
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  3. #3
    Variable Bitrate 12Vsystems's Avatar
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    We have done this before. Basically we embedded IE and made a custom web page for our customer that displayed wheater info, world times and a couple other unusual things. It was nice because we can change it with out going on-site and because it's web based using it is really easy to use already existing PHP,ASP modules.
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  4. #4
    Newbie Zenith_Warrior's Avatar
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    I thought it might be a good way to keep the front end seperate from the wooden cogs working in the backend.

    In essence the different pages would perform different tasks. One page for Radio another for the Backview/WebCam, another for the Music, another for the Divx's,etc.

    People could add modules (COM/ActiveX) that the front end web site(PHP,ASP[.NET]) could utilise. That should also make it easier to skin. Some pages could use one version of a music player (WinAmp) while another pages might use a different music player (Windows Media Player).
    The thought being that different developers could work together for a common goal. The skinners or web pages would then choose what modules they want to use.

    It could make the front end more dynamic and easier to use, since everyone is farmiliar with the web browser concepts - back, forward buttons, hyperlinks, etc.

    For the Radio and music the front end only needs to send commands to the back end to do stuff. Simple for html,asp,php or even Flash. Divx's, TV and a WebCam would need a place to display their video... perhaps Java, an ActiveX control, or MediaPlayer embedded into a web page?

    It might even be possible (with the exception of GPS) to get it to work on a PocketPC.
    Or is that just a silly silly idea?

  5. #5
    FLAC SFiorito's Avatar
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    I've been doing this with FireFox. Originally I was planning to use IE, but decided to go with FireFox because the footprint was a lot smaller versus IE (and yes, I could use it on other OSes). Basically XUL is used for the GUI, JavaScript for event code, and then anything else that can't be done in JavaScript I wrote XPCOM objects (using C++) scriptable from JavaScript (stuff like XM player, shutdown/hibernate/standby control, volume control, etc.). Everything is run in FireFox, but it looks like any regular application. I'm using Febsperanza's MediaCar skin for now, but with stylesheets the whole thing is very easily skinnable. I'm using the VLC plugin right now as the media player and it's scriptable, but somewhat limiting. The only other "cross platform" media player plugin that is scriptable is RealPlayer so I may have to go with that instead.

    I don't think it would be good to have an actual web server based frontend though. Seems like that would be kinda slow and cumbersome. You could probably use W3C spec DHTML, but the browser specific stuff has its advantages (XUL in FireFox for instance).

  6. #6
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    Bugbyte's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SFiorito
    I've been doing this with FireFox. Originally I was planning to use IE, but decided to go with FireFox because the footprint was a lot smaller versus IE (and yes, I could use it on other OSes). Basically XUL is used for the GUI, JavaScript for event code, and then anything else that can't be done in JavaScript I wrote XPCOM objects (using C++) scriptable from JavaScript (stuff like XM player, shutdown/hibernate/standby control, volume control, etc.). Everything is run in FireFox, but it looks like any regular application. I'm using Febsperanza's MediaCar skin for now, but with stylesheets the whole thing is very easily skinnable. I'm using the VLC plugin right now as the media player and it's scriptable, but somewhat limiting. The only other "cross platform" media player plugin that is scriptable is RealPlayer so I may have to go with that instead.

    I don't think it would be good to have an actual web server based frontend though. Seems like that would be kinda slow and cumbersome. You could probably use W3C spec DHTML, but the browser specific stuff has its advantages (XUL in FireFox for instance).
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  7. #7
    Raw Wave RoyN's Avatar
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    Hey SFiorito, that sounds cool, any way I could take a look at how that works? Are you using GPS?
    Roy

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  8. #8
    FLAC SFiorito's Avatar
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    right now I'm using the MapPoint ActiveX control. FireFox and Mozilla have an ActiveX plugin so I'm using that to host the control in the browser. Obviously it's not cross platform, but that's all I have for now. I alternate between this project and some other stuff. I haven't worked on the front end in a few weeks, but I'm planning to get back into it this week so I can get it ready for my carpc.

    Here's some pics... obviously I still have to clean up the displays a bit (for music and stuff), but the hard part is done already. Also, I'm running it in "browser" mode to show you that it does indeed run in FireFox. Normally it would run windowless so you wouldn't be able to tell it's actually FireFox (or mozilla).
    Attached Images Attached Images   

  9. #9
    Raw Wave RoyN's Avatar
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    Wow man, this looks amazingggg!!!! Is it compatible with current skins or did you adapt this? What skins would it work with?

    Are you going to ever release it? can you detail how things are working, I dont know many of the things you said in the previous post... XUL, XPCOM component you wrote, etc, what is playing music?

    I understand that you are doing this all client-side right? there isnt a server per se in the background right?
    Roy

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    Any ideas for putting a PC in this? :)

  10. #10
    FLAC SFiorito's Avatar
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    here's a good reference site for XUL and XPCOM: http://www.xulplanet.com/
    Mozilla Documentation: http://www.mozilla.org/catalog/
    Mozilla ActiveX Project: http://www.iol.ie/~locka/mozilla/mozilla.htm

    I wrote a little app that reads in MediaCar skins (just because I used Febsperanza's skin) and spits out the CSS style sheet file. To change the skin all you need to do is provide the images (any image that FireFox can display) and the CSS file, change the stylesheet source in the XUL, and refresh the browser. That's it.

    VLC is used for music playback (in hidden mode) as well as for DVD/Video playback. This is all client-side. I want to release it but I want to get it to a good enough state that anyone can easily jump in and customize it, even non-programmers. It's just JavaScript and XML after all. After that I may play around with MSFT's XML based GUI framework that will be part of the next Windows.

    Oh, and it's very responsive too. Loads quickly and screen changes are nearly instantaneous.

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