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Instructables goes Trapezing! (Updated with Videos!)

On the 16th of October, team instructables decided to head over to Trapeze Arts for a day of fun and adventure! As a reward for our one millionth registered user, I was given the option to choose how we got to celebrate the occasion.  After researching for a little while, a friend mentioned that she'd recently gone to a one day trapeze class.  I looked into it, and it seemed like a fun idea.  Several people brought cameras and a bunch of videos were taken. You can see photo's of the event below, sadly the video's haven't been cut together yet.  Hopefully I'll be able to add that soon! ----- Well, I finally managed to get the videos all put together, I hope you enjoy! You can find them on our youtube channel. However, I'll just embed them here for ease of browsing! I figured it'd be nice to show off one complete run by everyone. Sadly we didn't get video of everyone getting caught, so I had to make do with what I had. Now a video of everyone's practice runs. We had to just practice swinging and getting our legs up and over the bar, then jumping back into the net. The guy who does the double flip out of the net at the end of the video is the instructor who's catching us in the following video. Then we all got a chance to get caught. this is another mashed up video of all of us on our runs to get caught by one of the instructors. Finally, after we finished the trapezing, we went to the equipment room to have some more fun. There were trampolines, tight rope (that was a couple feet of the ground), plate spinning, super yo-yo's, and a whole ton more. Again, we were all having fun, so video didn't get taken of everything, but I think this mash-up kind of shows off some of what we got to do. ...And that was our trip to Trapeze Arts! Everyone who worked there was great, and we had a blast! Thanks!

Topic by StumpChunkman    |  last reply

How Not to Crush a Can against your Head

Maybe someone can help us figure out how to do this properly.

Topic by nagutron    |  last reply

Instructables Company Retreat

We all went out to Cloude's cabin in Bear Valley, CA, last weekend to hang out. Here's a video of the ski jump we made and subsequently fell off of, repeatedly.

Topic by nagutron    |  last reply

Logo for this Group?

Hey, got any ideas for a logo for this group? I think it's a great idea to have a group; it should have a strong presence, and we should fill it with great instructables! I've attached an image as an example.

Topic by nagutron    |  last reply

"Oorja" Stove taking off in India

This is a stove being pushed by BP in rural India. It looks like an innovative product not just engineering-wise, but also in terms of marketing and distribution

Topic by nagutron    |  last reply

Using Bulk Mailer's Envelopes Against Them

Does this really work? The Office of Strategic Influence reports that you can use the bulk mailer return envelopes to mail back heavy boxes to snail mail spammers. How can we test this?

Topic by nagutron    |  last reply

Another IKEA server rack!

I just saw this: an industrial-strength server rack built out of a Helmer filing cabinet. This guy was using it to create Linux server cluster for 3D rendering. Pretty awesome.(I made the super-cheap, half-height one out of Corras side tables.)

Topic by nagutron  

Urban Agriculture

I'm opening up this topic just as a place for discussion and link-sharing. We already have a bunch of instructables on hydroponics and small-garden farming. Let's see what else people come up with. Urban agriculture is a much less energy-intensive way of producing food, mainly because the product is transported very short distances to its consumers.Here, for example, is a Saskatchewan business that is promoting ways of doing urban agriculture as a profitable business:

Topic by nagutron    |  last reply

Hilarious: Altered-Perception Sports

I saw this video of a Japanese game show where players try to play a game of soccer with binoculars strapped to their heads: It made me think: what other kinds of games could you have, where your own perceptions were the challenge? Fisheye lenses over each eye? Periscopes? Let's hear some ideas; maybe we can come up with some cool, brand-new Instructable ideas.

Topic by nagutron    |  last reply

How do I realistically match sprite animations to a video? Answered

I've embedded an example, below. Here are some cool effects I notice:the animations are matched with the shaking camera shots, frame-by-frame.some shots have the animations changing in focus to match the camera shotssome shots mask the animations to make them look like they're moving behind things in the video So, how is this done? What software tools are used? What are the different effects called?

Question by nagutron    |  last reply

Painting Video Portraits

My friend Marc Scheff is an accomplished digital painter, and recently came up with a new idea: when painting someone's portrait, why not give them both the finished product and the work as it was created? Thus were born Video Portraits. He's done a bunch, which you can find on his blog.I've included two, here. One of a woman named Polly Rose and another of Barack Obama (our next president-to-be!) Polly Rose from marc scheff on Vimeo.

Topic by nagutron    |  last reply

How do I record and play a series of videos in some software-controlled order?

I'd like to create an interactive artwork where people can come up to a camera and record a short video of themselves speaking. At the same time, there will be a series of such videos playing on a nearby display. I should be able to insert the new video at any point in the list of playing videos. The list should also be continuously changeable via software; any programming language will do. Bonus points if I can have basic transitions between the videos.

Question by nagutron    |  last reply

Minimizing Hills on a Bike

Things are crazy out there, with gas prices spiking, so I've been biking a lot more. Grocery runs, going to work, etc. I don't go out much any more, though, especially with people in a lot of neighborhoods getting "grabby." Forget riding around with a nice-looking laptop bag. In any case, a practical question: what's the best way to find the best route on a bike so that you don't tangle with too many hills? It's often hard to figure out here in San Francisco, especially if I'm riding my fixie or lugging a bunch of stuff in a trailer.

Topic by nagutron    |  last reply

Plushie: CAD program for Stuffed toys and Inflatables

This is an awesome tool for designing teddy bears, stuffed animals, and big inflatable items with complicated shapes. It's called Plushie, and it looks incredibly easy to use. It's kind of like Sketchup, but for blobs of stuff. You just start drawing in 2D, and it makes smart guesses at the volume that you're trying to create. Once you're done, it generates the pattern for you that you need to cut out. Here's their cool video: It's a Java-based Windows app. Someone should definitely make something with this!(I found this via the We Make Money not Art.)

Topic by nagutron    |  last reply

How do I map 3D animations when projecting onto a 3D surface?

I've embedded an example of what I'm talking about, below: I'm curious about:the specific software usedtips and trickshow to do projection of a pre-rendered animation (this seems straightforward: model the surface virtually, then map the animation to the surface. then, record the mapped animation from the same vantage point as where the projector will be in real life; they projection should them map exactly.)how to do interactive projections, where some sort of input might affect real-time rendering of the mapped animationAny tips appreciated!

Question by nagutron    |  last reply

Without Hot Air: Mackay's new Book on Global Warming

My friend told me about a new book by David Mackay. I've added screenshots of two of the really nice graphs he put together in his book. Says my friend:Forwarded Message:David Mackay, Cambridge U Physics Professor and a flat-out rockstar inthe field of statistical inference, has written a book on SustainableEnergy, which he is (as usual) giving away for free on his website.'s also a few slide decks for the overview: a blog:'m not much through it yet, but the gist seems to be putting realnumbers on the size of the energy problem, much as Saul Griffith hasbeen doing. It's written in his usual style, which is to say it readslike common sense you feel you should have known all along.

Topic by nagutron    |  last reply


It's crazy that there isn't a "How to make Biodiesel" Instructable on the site, yet. I just created this group, but I'm inviting people to share info and links, here.Luckily, there are plenty resources online on how to brew your own biodiesel. The stub for the Make article on the subject doesn't include the full text, but it does include a number of great links:The Energy Self-Sufficiency Newsletter - This article is partly based on a series of articles by Maria "Mark" Alovert that first appeared here.Gly-Tek - To test for the presence of glycerin, you can use the Gly-Teck test kit, which detects leaked anti-freeze in motor oil. Recycling Sciences - High-volume operations can buy a $31,000 glycerin-purification distiller here, which will convert dirty biodiesel glycerin into nice, clear, commercially valuable glycerin. Mark Alovert's - Homebrewing - Another homebrewing - Biodiesel policy and activism - Biodiesel processor designs and other - Biodiesel stations and industry - VW diesel - Setting up a commercial biodiesel pump in your town.Alternative Energy Videos - Videos about alternative energy, including biodiesel, available for rent from

Topic by nagutron    |  last reply

Solar heating and perceived temperature

We've had an interesting discussion spanning several months on the efficacy of this instructable's approach to heating: The conversation has gone long and isn't really that appropriate for the comments there so I've moved it here. Summary: The approach described in the instructable is to create a thin metal panel that hangs inside of one's window, which is heated by the sun's radiant energy. Convection then carries the hot air next to the panel up and circulates it within the room. The question is whether this approach provides a warmer perceived environment than simply letting the light into the room. As I see it, the question has two components. First, which one nets more heat energy inside the room? For an average room, the light will be scattered many times before a tiny fraction reflects back out the window. A flat foil panel as described in the instructable would have to be extremely absorptive to match this level of energy capture, because it gets only one bounce for its capture and also must capture the heat in an extremely small thermal mass. For this part of the question, not having a panel seems the likely win. The second part of the the question is more complicated. What is the perceived temperature in the room, given differences between convection heating of the air versus radiative heating of objects and surfaces in the room? On this count I'm unsure, but it seems that radiative heat contributes more to human comfort (see this Wikipedia article: If that's true, the panels lose again. Discuss!

Topic by nagutron    |  last reply

(newsletter) Algae Bioreactor, Water Bottle Raft, Video Glasses...

Feb 5, 2009 Sign-up for this newsletter: function openSubscribePopUp(src){ var emailValidate = /\w{1,}[@][\w\-]{1,}([.]([\w\-]{1,})){1,3}$/ if(emailValidate.test(src.value) == false){ alert("Please enter correct email"); return; }"/newsletter/newslettersignup?email=" + src.value,"newslettersignup1","status=yes,scrollbars=yes,resizable=yes,width=420,height=250"); } Welcome back! Making something sweet for your honey? Enter it in Valentine's Day: Sweet Treats Contest and win some fabulous gourmet chocolate-covered cocoa beans from Cocoa Puro, or a date with our own noahw!It's cold up here in the northern areas and we want to see your great ways to fight the chill in the Stay Warm Contest. Win a brand new sleeping bag!The Tap'dNY Keep the Bottle Contest has closed for entries and now it's time to vote! Head on over to the contest page and help choose who wins a Voltaic solar-powered backpack! Algae Bioreactor from Water Bottles by mfischer Magnetic Induction Bike Lights by nagutron Glasses Mounted Video Display by XenonJohn Build a Dome out of Paper (and Steel and Cement) by sklarm Win a date or gourmet chocolate covered cocoa beans! The Perfect Valentine's Gift! Fun with Bismuth by rachel Plastic Soda Bottle Prosthesis by CIRnetwork Nail-less, glue-less, almost screw-less bed by Tazo Five-cent Tilt Sensor by ix Make a Wall from Plastic Bottles by yotnomuk Gas Bottle Wood Burner by btop Build a Raft out of Water Bottles by Weissensteinburg Make Your Own Hotwire Cutter! by Creativeman Closes for entries this Sunday! Vote for your favorites! Friendly Folding Keychain by reconscious Remove Broken Light Bulbs with a Bottle by prabbit22m Solar Necklace T-Shirt by Plusea Extreme Surface Mount Soldering by doctek Now go make something awesome, and I'll see you next week! - Eric Sign-up for this newsletter: function openSubscribePopUp(src){ var emailValidate = /\w{1,}[@][\w\-]{1,}([.]([\w\-]{1,})){1,3}$/ if(emailValidate.test(src.value) == false){ alert("Please enter correct email"); return; }"/newsletter/newslettersignup?email=" + src.value,"newslettersignup2","status=yes,scrollbars=yes,resizable=yes,width=420,height=250"); }

Topic by fungus amungus  

[newsletter] Burger Recipes, Hot Tub, Italian Wedding...

July 3, 2008 Sign-up for this newsletter: function openSubscribePopUp(src){ var emailValidate = /\w{1,}[@][\w\-]{1,}([.]([\w\-]{1,})){1,3}$/ if(emailValidate.test(src.value) == false){ alert("Please enter correct email"); return; }"/newsletter/newslettersignup?email=" + src.value,"newslettersignup1","status=yes,scrollbars=yes,resizable=yes,width=420,height=250"); } Welcome back! O'Reilly Media (publishers of MAKE) are working on an Instructables book. To see how you can win a mention in the book, check out our new Book Contest. The Robot Contest has been extended for two week.! The new deadline for entries is now July 13, so show off your robot's best features! Both the Lonely Planet Travel Tips Contest and the BBQ PDQ Contest close for entries this weekend. Use these last few days to enter an awesome Instructable to win greta travel books or an Instructables apron. Upcoming: Next week we'll be starting our Horny Toad Invent-a-Sport Contest. Win a ton of cool clothes from Horny Toad by submitting your own original sport! "1UP Mushroom" Mushroom Burger! by momo! Traveling by Scooter by dbc1218 Put A Spring In Your Step by xclinic Waikiki 'ahi (Tuna Steak) Sandwich by sbdesigns The Elivinator Project by GWJax Wood-Fired Ocean Hot Tub by nagutron How to Build The BeetleBot v2 by robomaniac Fresh Ground Beef Burgers by rsub8 A Garden Shower in 10 minutes for $8 by Camillo Miller Robot Costume With LEDs by joshf Make your own horseradish by knarx KidWash : PVC Sprinkler Water Toy by m32825 Extended for two weeks! Get published in the Instructables book! Closes for entries on July 6th! A "Jungle Cruise" Playhouse by madhatter1138 How to Get Married in Italy by fungus amungus Incredible HULK Nintendo Wii by BeerBellyJoe Prince Caspian's Sword by KaptinScarlet Now go make something awesome, and I'll see you next week! - Eric Sign-up for this newsletter: function openSubscribePopUp(src){ var emailValidate = /\w{1,}[@][\w\-]{1,}([.]([\w\-]{1,})){1,3}$/ if(emailValidate.test(src.value) == false){ alert("Please enter correct email"); return; }"/newsletter/newslettersignup?email=" + src.value,"newslettersignup2","status=yes,scrollbars=yes,resizable=yes,width=420,height=250"); }

Topic by fungus amungus    |  last reply

(newsletter) Magic Mirror, Duct Tape Batman Mask, Necronomicon...

Oct 30, 2008 Sign-up for this newsletter: function openSubscribePopUp(src){ var emailValidate = /\w{1,}[@][\w\-]{1,}([.]([\w\-]{1,})){1,3}$/ if(emailValidate.test(src.value) == false){ alert("Please enter correct email"); return; }"/newsletter/newslettersignup?email=" + src.value,"newslettersignup1","status=yes,scrollbars=yes,resizable=yes,width=420,height=250"); } Welcome back! It's getting dark outside, and if you ride a bike that means trouble. So find some way to make yourself more visible, and enter the Light Up Your Ride Contest! We're giving away three pairs of Bike to Work Pants from Cordarounds, and they're sweet so enter soon!The DIY Halloween Contest is scaring up awesome projects! We've partnered with some of your favorite websites to bring you the biggest and best Halloween contest ever -- and we've got tons of great prizes to give away. Show us your best costumes, treats, gadgets, jack-o-lanterns, and more! Check out the entries and get inspired for the best Maker holiday ever. Enter the Party Like It's 1929! Contest! With the economy in the toilet we need to find clever ways to save money, live with less, and reuse what we've got. Share your cash-stretching tips and tricks, and win something useful!Need some last-minute Halloween ideas? Be sure to check your inbox tomorrow morning for another special Halloween edition with lots of quick and easy Instructables! Mega Man Costume by craineum Making Faces by blightdesign Coin Slot Detector by semiotech Best way to remove event bracelets by noahw Tons and tons of spooky and amazing prizes! Win some seriously cool clothes for your bike commute! Necronomicon: Book Of The Dead by onespartan The Magic Mirror - Arduino Powered by alinke Rum Bubble Surprise by Mongpoovian Duct Tape Batman Mask by seamster Car Battery Wirefeed Welder by TimAnderson Grow flowers on a military base in Iraq by AndrewPBentley Build an autonomous Wall-E Robot by djsures Animatronic Rat by Falcon_3dee 10 ways to hide your identity andmake an impression Share your best money-saving tips! Rainbow Marzipan Cake by wupme Sugar Glass by ERNesbitt Eco-friendly Turbo-Boost Blender by mrfixits Laser-Cut Laptop Tattoo by nagutron Now go make something awesome, and I'll see you next week! - Eric Sign-up for this newsletter: function openSubscribePopUp(src){ var emailValidate = /\w{1,}[@][\w\-]{1,}([.]([\w\-]{1,})){1,3}$/ if(emailValidate.test(src.value) == false){ alert("Please enter correct email"); return; }"/newsletter/newslettersignup?email=" + src.value,"newslettersignup2","status=yes,scrollbars=yes,resizable=yes,width=420,height=250"); }

Topic by fungus amungus    |  last reply

Thanksgiving Dinner Recipes

Thanksgiving dinner is coming up in just a couple weeks and we want you to be able to have the perfect feast ready. So we've whipped up a fresh batch of Instructables that will help you out with everything from the turkey to the side dishes and even a dessert and a bit of apple cider.These recipes have been tested out at the Instructables Test Kitchen in the Oakland Hills and are sure to be a great addition to the festivities. If there's something that you think that we missed, make one of your own!This topic is now an official Thanksgiving Dinner Guide. Turkey Recipe by noahw Cook up a delicious bird and get everyone in a festive mood as the aroma fills your house! This in-depth recipe will guide you on the way to greatness. Gravy Recipe by noahw Make this delicious sauce from the turkey's pan drippings. Stuffing by scoochmaroo An amazing stuffing recipe so good that it stands well completely on its own. Mashed Potatoes by scoochmaroo An essential part of the Thanksgiving dinner, mashed potatoes go well with everything else that will be crowded onto your plate. Cranberry Sauce by noahw Homemade cranberry sauce rules with its tanginess and wonderful texture. It cooks up easily and stores in the fridge like a champ so skip the can this year. Cornbread by canida Cornbread is a versatile dish, equally good with a big bowl of chili and as a holiday side dish for Christmas or Thanksgiving. Deviled Eggs by rachel While everyone's anxiously waiting for the turkey, bring these out to keep the hungry horde happy and content. You can also try the dill-variation of Deviled Eggs. Corn on the Cob by noahw Hot corn on the cob with a bit of butter is a simple pleasure that nobody should be denied on Thanksgiving. That's right, nobody. Green Beans by noahw Add some veggies to the meal with this quick and tasty recipe for green beans. They're so tasty that even those who normally have to be force-fed greens will grab them up. Apple Pie by randofo Learn the basics of apple pie making with this Instructable and then try out different kinds of apples to see which combination makes you happiest. Pumpkin Pie by ewilhelm This recipe turns out a pumpkin pie so smooth that eating it is like becoming one with the essence of pumpkin. Absolutely worth the effort. Apple Cider by nagutron Fresh cider has a life of its own that can't be matched with what you get in the store. Give this beverage the respect it deserves by juicing some up yourself.

Topic by fungus amungus    |  last reply

Homemade Holidays Winners Announced

Instructables and CRAFT Magazine are happy to announce the winners of the Homemade Holidays Contest!While most people are out there trying to buy the perfect item, many of you were working to make the perfect gift and we love you for it. The personal touch of a handmade gift shows your creativity, and how much you care.Once again we were delighted by the variety of Instructables that were submitted. The entries just keep getting better and better -- just one look at the winners here shows that! Even though there are first, second, and third prizes, all of these Instructables deserve a look. Be sure to leave comments and pictures so the authors know how much you appreciate their hard work! First Prize Winners The authors of these Instructables win a CRAFT Boxed Gift Set, an Instructables robot T-shirt, a CRAFT T-shirt, and a laser-cut Robot holiday ornament. (in alphabetical order) Flat Zipper Bag and Wallet How to Make a Color-Changing Lighted Faux Fur Scarf Make DIY Vanilla Extract! Second Prize WinnersThe authors of these Instructables win a one-year subscription to CRAFT Magazine, an Instructables robot T-shirt, a CRAFT T-shirt, and a laser-cut Robot holiday ornament. (in alphabetical order) Crochet a Baby Penguin Amigurumi Fiber Optic and LED Minature Garden Light How to Make a TRON Style Lamp: The MADYLIGHT How to make a unique tile picture for less than $3! Make a Custom Lift-the-Flap Book for a Toddler Third Prize Winners The authors of these Instructables win CRAFT: Volume 5 and a laser-cut Robot holiday ornament. Due to a tie, there are 11 winners instead of 10. (in alphabetical order) Bat-Mobile hanging toy Chinese Dragon Pull Toy Give a real "fallen star" Grow your own Magic Crystal Tree How to make Candles! How to make Pixel Cookies! LoveBox - The box of love make your own cookie cutters Metal Embossing Stylish Santa Hoodie Venezia Napkin Rings Slideshow/Video Prize Winners The authors of these Instructables win CRAFT: Volume 5 and a laser-cut Robot holiday ornament. (in alphabetical order) french market bag Homemade Apple Jelly How to crochet a DS case My Shadow Knit Piano Scarf Jackobs Ladder Optical Illusion Toy The Pirate's Secret Scarf Portable CD Pouch PVC Cello Unisex Neckwarmer Wooden rings Thank you to all the judges: arwen, natalie, ewilhelm, randofo, canida, rachel, reno_dakota, noahw, fungus amungus , and nagutron.

Topic by fungus amungus    |  last reply

Laser Cutter Contest Winners!

It is with great pleasure that I announce the winner of the Laser Cutter Contest:Stuart.Mcfarlan for How to Make a Three Axis CNC Machine (Cheaply and Easily)Be sure to check out Stuart.Mcfarlan's plans for the Laser Cutter.Congratulations to all the finalists who will receive a Laser-etched Instructables Leatherman Juice S2 and an Instructables t-shirt for their simply amazing work:crabfu for Steam Turbine Tankdave spencer for erupting Volcano Birthday CakeHonus for How to make a Green Lantern ring- including a glowing version!jabroutin for personal powerPlantjeffkobi for Retro Hi-Fi ProjectKasey for Compubeaver --> How to case-mod a beaver - in 29 easy steps!lkrasnow for Precision Puzzlemaking Primer -- Volume 1mikejedw for Pringles Wind Turbine (Pleech) - Version One mydian_nightshade forFurniture grade cocktail arcade cabinetmzed for Low-cost Spherical Speaker Array nemomatic for Giant Squid kinetic sculpture from found materialsorthonormal_basis_of_evil for EMP shopping cart lockertalbotron22 for DIY Kitty Crack: ultra-potent catnip extract turkey tek for Interactive Multitouch DisplayWe had planned to select 20 second place winners, but just couldn't narrow the field, so we're awarding 25 second place winners, who will receive Instructables t-shirts! They are:$30 High-Speed PCB Drill Press by lancandy$60 Laser Engraver / Cutter by cgoshBreath powered USB charger by jmengelBuild a Tetris DVD (or book) shelf by odecom5Capture the Ethereal Beauty of Everyday Objects Using Polarized Light. by Tool Using AnimalCO2 laser that cuts sheet metal by owhiteCosmic Light With LEDs Embedded in Resin by technoplastiqueDuck Cam Decoy by RoadstarElectromagnetic Floater by J_HodgieFine Silver (99.9% pure) Popcorn Pendant! by roughtyperHan Solo in carbonite chocolate bar! by FreakCitySFLaptop Converted to 2nd Monitor by punish3rMake a wall avoiding Robot! a collaboration led by Brandon121233Make Conductive Glue and Glue a Circuit by mikey77Make rope out of dead plants -- with no tools a collaboration led by phyzomeMod a toaster and have retro art toast for breakfast by 5VoltMotherboard PCB Bracelet by llama13Portable Water resistant LED Picnic Blanket with hard center serving surface! by pointcloudStart a Guerrilla Drive-in by plusbryanThe Ice Bulb by mandrakeThe Intimate Video Light/ Handheld photograpy light. by curve12The One, The Only COTTON CANDY MACHINE! by T3h_MuffinatorTheater Effects: Gunshot Wounds by TrumpetNeelUse a Vacuum cleaner to build your own Skateboard by gregorylavoieWire Scorpion by OniToraAll the winners should watch for a personal message from us for prize claiming instructions.With so many excellent entries, and with each of them being at the top of their game in some different aspect, the judging was extremely difficult. We had help juding from a large number of users including 5Volt, african_andy187, Albetcha, BobbyMike, CameronSS, canida, daenris, drinkmorecoffee, ewilhelm, fungus amungus, herrozerro, ian, imanalchemist, J_Hodgie, jamesh, jesse.hensel, jessyratfink, jmengel, Kiteman, LasVegas, lebowski, lennyb, llama13, lothotrity, momo!, nagutron, nak, noahw, olddaddycrane, pt, Randofo, Robyntheslug, royalestel, ryzellon, Sam Noyoun, saul, Sedgewick17, sheekgeek, stasterisk, steven07, T3h_Muffinator, technick29, Tetranitrate, Tool Using Animal, trebuchet03, trialex, x9a, zieak, and Zujus. For more information on how we judged, check here.The entries submitted to this contest exceeded all of my expectations. They are totally amazing in their quality, instructional value, uniqueness, and pure brilliance. It is my hope that everyone had a blast entering the contest and learned something useful, fun, or both. To me, the value of posting an Instructable is when someone makes a comment saying that I taught them something new, changed the way they looked at things, or inspired them to make something themselves (even if it's something totally different than my Instructable). Looking through the Instructables submitted to the contest and comments on the finalists' forum posts, it's clear that this is happening all over, and it makes me smile every time. Congratulations to all the winners! And, thanks to everyone that entered. Even if your Instructable didn't win a prize, I'm sure it has had a positive impact on someone's life and will continue to do so.

Topic by ewilhelm    |  last reply

Free Code: JSLoad!

UPDATE: JSLoad is now hosted on Google Code. You can find the most recent source, revision history, documentation, and can report bugs, there. What is JSLoad? JSLoad is a Javascript file loader that we wrote for Instructables. You give it a set of dependencies and groupings, and it loads the files you need, when your executing code needs them. We're releasing it under the LGPL because we're cool like that, and because we'd like to use any enhancements that other folks come up with. You can download the code at the bottom of this blog post, or check out the test file to see it in action. Why use JSLoad? Generally, we use dependency managers to avoid having to think about all the couplings that exist within our code. A widget we've made may need a whole mess of stuff -- all spread out between different files -- to run. Dependency managers allow us to say, "Give me everything I need for this widget to run," instead of having to figure it out for ourselves, each time, for each widget. Other, well-written javascript package managers exist (e.g. jspkg, YUI Loader, etc.) So why did we write a new one, and what reasons might you have for using it? In a nutshell, JSLoad is small, flexible, and is designed to work on its own, without the need for any heavyweight framework. How does JSLoad work? JSLoad does the basics: you tell it that file 1 depends on file 2, so it loads file 1 first, then file 2. Throw any number of other dependencies into the mix, and JSload figures out the dependency chain and loads the files in the right order. The real usefulness of JSLoad comes with its ability to group dependencies using tags. Tags are arbitrary labels that you can apply to (i.e. make dependent on) any group of files or other tags. Tags can be applied to single files or multiple files. Multiple tags can be applied to a single file. You can even think of your tags as depending upon a portion of a file (say, class within a file containing several classes.) As a result, you can mimic most other dependency structures: Chains, trees, or more complicated graphs. You can tag things that often appear together, that share a certain aspect; whatever your usage calls for. At Instructables, for example, we generally have a base set of widgets and features whose dependencies are primarily tree-like. Those little bits are then collected into larger groupings like "editable" or "commentable"; abstract labels that approximate the kinds of interfaces that are common on our site. Tags are also very useful while refactoring code. Often, because of the flexibility of Javascript, you won't be sure of the best way to split your code across files. Which portions will be used together most often, and should thus be grouped together to reduce HTTP requests? With JSLoad, you can tag the variant groupings, then organize your code as you wish. Your web pages will just call JSLoad the tags as they need them. Over time, you may find that one tag is used much more often than the others. Using JSLoad, you can refactor your code into a more efficient file structure, without changing any of the script calls in the pages that use the code. How is JSLoad used? Here is an example of how to instantiate a new instance of JSLoad: var jsLoader = new JSLoad(tags); JSLoad instances are intended to be singletons. JSLoad was designed to track state (which files have already been loaded, for example) in one central location. The "tags" variable passed to the JSLoad instance is a list of tag dependencies. Here is an example: var tags = [ { name : "baselib" }, { name : "widget", requires : ["baselib"] } ]; As you can see, "tags" is an array of objects, each defining a tag and its dependencies. In the above example, the "widget" tag depends on "baselib." An implicit part of the tags definition is that, by default (and for conciseness), tags refer to files. So, in the above example, the "baselib" refers to "baselib.js" and "widget" refers to "widget.js". If a tag doesn't actually refer to a file, but is an arbitrary grouping of your own design, you can set the "tagOnly" property of the tag to "true": var tags = [ { name : "baselib" }, { name : "widget", requires : ["baselib"] }, { name : "gadget", requires : ["baselib"] }, { name : "dostuff", requires : ["widget", "gadget"], tagOnly: true } ]; In this case, I've created a tagOnly tag called "dostuff." There isn't any actual file named "dostuff.js." Rather, the tag just indicates that it needs both "widget" and "gadget" (and, by implication, "baselib") to be loaded. All three will thus be loaded in the correct order if I ask for "dostuff." How do I ask for "dostuff"? Well, somewhere on my page, I might want to do stuff, and thus inline the following Javascript code: jsLoader.load(["dostuff"], function () { var widgie = new Widget(); var gadgie = new Gadget(); }); This tells my JSLoad singleton to run the anonymous function that is the second argument, and to do so as soon as the "dostuff" tag has all of its dependencies taken care of. I can make my load() calls at any point on the page, requiring any combination of tags, and I can repeat them; JSLoad will take care of creating HTTP requests to get the necessary files only once, only when necessary, and in the right order. You can download the code at the bottom of this blog post, or check out the test file to see it in action. The archive at the bottom of this blog post includes the test file, too. Limitations JSLoad has some limitations, due to its implementation. First of all, JSLoad runs asynchronously, to speed up load time on a page and to allow for nested iframes to load script into the top level context. As a result, if you inline dependent script in your page, JSLoad will need to wrap that script to ensure that it isn't executed before the necessary files are loaded. See "How JSLoad is used" above for details. Second, the list of dependencies you provide to JSLoad needs to be ordered. That means that no file or tag may depend on a file or tag that appears after it. This allows JSLoad to run faster, as it can calculate the dependency tree in one pass, and protects it (and you) from circular dependencies. We may remove these limitations in future versions, or at least parameterize them so you can decide which side of a trade-off you'd like to take advantage of. In the meantime, enjoy! And, if you have any comments or questions, please use the comment section below.

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