PopBox 2.7a Released
July 03, 2009   link

I've release a new version of PopBox today, 2.7a. You can download it here. I would love to be excited about it but there is still one IE8 bug that is so far eluding me. It's probably simple but it's driving me crazy so I thought I would stick the script with the main fixes out there for you all now. Look for a 2.7b version in the future.

Actually - if anyone can figure out why the PopBars aren't positioning correctly for non-floated images in IE8 I'll give you a free copy of PopBox. Any takers?

As always you can get the latest version from the product page and I've updated the documentation page accordingly too.


PopBox IE8 Compatibility
May 01, 2009   link

Time sure flies. I've gotten a lot of email about PopBox's issue with IE8 and I promise I am still working on the script and will have an update soon. For those who don't know what the issue is, it seems that images only pop once under IE8. What? Did you want more than once? :)

I'm rolling in a couple of other fixes too for Chrome/Safari so it should be a good release for stability. New features will come next.

Some have been a bit nasty in their demands for a fix by the way... Don't they know you get better results being nice? I really do try to answer every email, but I do have a backlog of about two months right now so I'm sorry if you haven't gotten a response yet. If your question is on IE8 please accept this posting as your response. If your question is something else I will answer you when I can.

And the donations keep coming in so thank you guys (and gals) so much! I didn't do this for the money, but I will freely admit that a donation puts you right to the top of the email support response list. And that nasty tone? Right to the bottom. Karma.


PopBox in Computer Arts Magazine!
September 25, 2008   link

I think it's today. I hope it's today. I'm pretty sure today is the day that PopBox gets a Computer Arts magazine article!

I'm actually still trying to verify this since I can't view the issue online and can't seem to be able to buy it either, but I'm pretty sure it's in the latest issue, No. 154, under "Image pop-ups: Product zooms for websites."

I was contacted a month ago by one of the designers of the Nora Does website, Laura James, and told that she had been asked to write a tutorial for Computer Arts magazine based on the functionality in the Nora Does website.

I'm flattered. Totally flattered. If you're not familiar with Computer Arts it is the premier digital artist magazine available online and in print. Don't believe me? Read these reviews for yourself.

Yes it's a UK magazine so I'm trying to get a couple of copies shipped to myself across the pond and I probably won't be able to see it myself for a couple of weeks. But if you're in the UK, and probably a lot of Europe, you can pick up your copy at newsstands now.

If you have read the article I would appreciate any feedback on it so please email me and let me know what you think!

And be sure to check out the Nora Does website and Laura's too. Both are worth the clicks!


September 24, 2008   link

I know what you're thinking... didn't John send out a PopBox announcement just last week?

Well yes I did. But that was for PopBox 2.6. This is for PopBox 2.6b!

There's only one small change, thus the "b" suffix. I modified the PopInPlace method to pop the image over the original, but also to move the image so it will fit in the window if necessary. It's a subtle but significant difference that I believe should make it much more useful for your visitors.

As an example you can look at the Links Page and hover over an image that is very close to the edge of your browser window. In the previous version it would expand only to the window edge. Now hover over an image that is only partially in the window with the rest of it beyond the screen. See how it moves to expand? In the previous version the image would actually shrink to fit within the window. Probably not what you intended.

As always you can get the latest version from the product page and I've updated the documentation page accordingly too.


September 12, 2008   link

A couple of new features have gone into this release along with a slew of bug fixes. Overall PopBox has been fairly stable as evidenced by the long interval between releases here.

  1. Added the PopInPlace method to more easily pop the image in place instead of to the center of the screen.
  2. Added the popBoxExpandCaptionsBelow global variable that will allow you to display the captions below the image instead of over the image.
  3. Added the popBoxExpandCaptions global variable that will allow you to display the captions already expanded when the image is popped.
  4. Added the RevertAll method that will cause all popped images to revert to their original size.
  5. Fixed a few functionality issues that occurred when the page used the <base /> element in the header.
  6. Fixed an image size bug where IE would cache the original size of the image. This mostly affected development but it was still a pain.
  7. Fixed a positioning bug in FF & Safari when a <div> parent element used the overflow style.
  8. Fixed a FF bug where the image would pop twice under very rare conditions.

As always you can get the latest version from the product page and I've updated the documentation page accordingly too.

I also finally created the Popbox Links page where you can see a gallery of web sites that are using PopBox. With over 10,000 downloads this is a very small sampling, but not many have sent in their url either. If you'd like to be included on this page let me know and I'll add you.

I continue to get donation requests so I'm finally giving in. Frankly, now that I only have a part-time job I could use the donations! You may do so on the PopBox Donation page.


FastSpring Updated On The E-Commerce Calculator
September 12, 2008   link

FastSpring has added a new pricing scheme so I've added a second entry for them on the E-Commerce Calculator.

They are absolutely loaded with features by the way and seem to be able to do most anything to help your business.

I had previously mentioned that EC Suite was at the top of my list, but now I'm not sure. I think EC Suite might cost less, but they actually might not have as many features as FastSpring. Check them both out and see if you need what they have to offer.


Safari Gets Their Act Together
June 26, 2008   link

I've been very nervous about the way the Safari 3.0 version handled DHTML interaction with image styles, but it looks like everything is going to be okay. The latest version, 3.1.2, seems to have corrected the matter.

When PopBox expands an image it doesn't actually expand the original thumbnail - it expands a small version of the large image and hides the thumbnail. This transition is pretty seamless and the effect is to look like the original image is popping instead of a completely different image. (This is assuming you're using a separate image for the thumbnail and the large image.)

The hiding of the original image is achieved in script by setting the 'visibility' style of the image to 'hidden', which works like a charm because it doesn't affect the layout or shift the original objects around but just neatly makes the image invisible. All browsers completely ignore all events that occur on an element whose visibility is set to 'hidden'.

Until Safari.

For some unknown reason Safari 3.0 decided that click events on these hidden objects are still valid events. So what do you think happened when someone clicked on the original hidden image in PopBox? Chaos my friend. Chaos.

There were a couple of ways to fix it in the code, but none of them were pretty and all were complicated just to support a browser that has a low percentage usage (2.4% as of this writing).

Now I don't have to fix it because Apple did it for me. Safari now behaves much like the other browsers and correctly ignores the hidden object events. Thank you.

On a related note I received a few vague bug reports for FireFox 3 beta, but I've not been able to duplicate any of them in the release version. Since I have a new version of PopBox coming out in the next week or so I would appreciate receiving any bug reports as soon as possible so I can roll them into the next version.


New Beginnings
June 19, 2008   link

Today is day 2 of my new job. Yes - new job. With who you might ask? C6 Software. I know you've heard of them - you're reading the blog right now.

For years I've been planning to take the plunge and convert my fledgling consulting practice into a true software company and this is the first major step. Sure I've been working on it when I could - a couple of hours in the morning here and there, a late night once in a while, but this is different. It's major because I cut my consulting in half, working only 20 hours a week for my employer. This has freed up 20+ hours a week to focus on my business.

Ok, so it's only part time, but now my income depends on it. And that's a heck of a motivating factor.

I have a lot planned for the coming months and I'm happy to report that the work began well yesterday. I'm a proponent of Getting Things Done so I spent quite a bit of time yesterday clearing out my inbox and organizing my workspace. There was quite a bit to do but I'm more productive already.

A few changes were made to the E-Commerce Calculator in regards to table formatting and Paypal prices. And I finally had a chance to put iPortis on the grid. Many thanks to Charles out there for being so patient. If you're in the market for an e-commerce provider check them out!

PopBox is rapidly approaching 10,000 downloads which is pretty exciting. There is a major update coming very soon that will fix a few nagging issues, and believe it or not a customer wrote in an excellent solution to make PopBox 100% XHTML compliant and still be 100% backward compatible. I didn't not want to be compliant, I just didn't want to suffer a 'simplicity' penalty.

There are also a few issues with FireFox 3 and Safari that I'm trying to resolve. I can't make any promises with Safari though because they've really screwed up DHTML and script interaction. In every browser except Safari you can't click on an object whose 'style:display' is set to 'none'. Because Safari allows this it royally screws up Popbox. I hope they've fixed it in the final release.

And of course design is progressing on my commercial application. I've switched tacks here and am designing an application that I can reasonably write in a couple of months. Although my savings account will keep my family afloat for a good while I'd rather not tap into it any more than I have to, so if I can get something in the marketplace in early Fall I'll be much happier.

I might even have time for a longer article or two. Exciting times ahead!


EC Suite Joins The E-Commerce Calculator
December 21, 2007   link

I got an email this week from E-Commerce Suite (EC Suite) introducing themselves and asking for a spot on the E-Commerce Calculator. After a quick look at their site I was glad to oblige!

While not the cheapest option for a mISV they definitely have the most features - and all at the same low price. You can host your web site with a shopping cart, sell your products with your credit card of choice, include DRM and license keys and they'll even pay you weekly!

Here's what I wrote on the calculator page about them:

The newest addition to the calculator list is EC Suite. I must say that although they aren't the least expensive of the group they are competitive if all you need is a payment processor, but when you need more than that they simply blow the competition away. So many perks and bonus features are included in the same low rate that they are a true one-stop-shop for a micro ISV. I think you'll be amazed at all they offer.

If my list weren't alphabetical I'd put them at the top.

If you're looking for, well... everything in one package then check them out!


December 18, 2007   link

A lot of testing and feature requests have gone into this release and I think everyone will be happy with the results. There are a few bug fixes and a couple of new features that will probably make my non-English customers happy too. Yes - PopBox has been localized for your language!

Okay - so it was only two text fields, but it needed to be done.

If you use the pbSrcNL attribute then I would definitely get this upgrade as it fixes a major bug that somehow went unnoticed for months. If you use the roll-over feature you also want to get this upgrade. If you use landscape pictures you want to get this release. If you use PopBox at all you want to get this upgrade.

You'll like it. It's better than Cats. You'll want to use it again and again.

  1. Added the capability to pop images in a landscape format where the image is automatically scaled to the height of the browser but will extend beyond the width if necessary to support wide images (ditto for tall images).
    For most customers this is 100% backward compatible, but if you are using the PopEx method instead of the Pop method you should take a look at the parameters as they now have extra functionality. See the function definition for details.
  2. Fixed a bug that occurred when the pnSrcNL property was set to a relative path url. If you use the pbSrcNL instead of pbSrc then you need to get this upgrade.
  3. Added a work-around for a browser bug where the image would sometimes not revert on roll-overs when the mouse left the image. This fix requires a few more resources but is only enabled for the page when you use the onmouseover feature. There is a global variable, popBoxMouseMoveRevert, that you can set to false to use the old method instead if you prefer.
  4. Fixed a bug where the size of the image is incorrectly rendered during a revert if the command to revert the image is initiated prior to the image popping completely. This most often showed up on mouseover effects.
  5. Set the minimum value for the top left corner of the popped image to 0,0 if the image is dynamically positioned (you pass in null for the left and top). Most browsers tested had difficulty scrolling to the left and this will solve that problem.
  6. The "more" and "less" textual links in the caption are now contained in global variables to support other languages. Now you can set popBoxCaptionMoreText and popBoxCaptionLessText to "mehr" and "kleiner" or to whatever you desire - just keep it short or the length calculations will be off.

As always you can get the latest version from the product page and I've updated the documentation page accordingly too. In the following weeks I'll try to get it to print out correctly for those who don't like to view docs on screen.

I'm also touched by the number of you who have written in wanting to know how to send me money. Thanks, really. I've placed my official position on that subject in the FAQ page.

I have a good five days over the Christmas holiday to work on my next project so I hope to complete enough about it to blog about it here. Stay tuned...


PopBox Supports Links And Scripts In The Caption
November 06, 2007   link

Did you know you can place textual links in the pbCaption? This allows you to support things like "Buy Now!" links and "Add To Cart" links directly in the caption of the image.

It's a bit tricky but works wonderfully. I've written up a sample and added it to the FAQ.


E-Commerce Fee Calculator Update
November 05, 2007   link

I thought it was about time for an E-Commerce Calculator update since the last check was July 25. Only a few things have changed in the last 3 months.

We saw the demise of two vendors: Digital Candle and Virtually Free. I'm not sure if they just went out of business or were swallowed up by the Digital River juggernaut, but either way they're not around anymore.

I don't think anyone will miss Digital Candle, as they didn't really stand out as good or bad and there are plenty of others to choose, and I'm practically positive that no one will miss Virtually Free as they were easily the most expensive of the group. Sayonara.

Other than that I did notice this sentence on the Plimus fees page:

If you can find an advertised rate better than ours we will match it or beat it!

I've heard good things about their service, so you might want to call them up and see if they'll match Google's advertised rates (free). Tell them I sent you and I promise to publish the hate mail.

Frankly, I'd even be impressed if they'll match Google's advertised rates for 2008.


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