Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Making iPlayboy

Playboy has just released iPlayboy, a web-based collection of every issue from December 1953 to June 2011 (and beyond). For a fee, you can flip through the very first issue to see where it all began, you can marvel at the advertisements and hairstyles of bygone eras, and if you're a SIGGRAPH nerd you can get in touch with your favorite test image.

I, along with my compatriot Aseem Kishore and the folks at Applied Information Sciences, made the iPad version of this web app feel as smooth and interactive as a native app, using touch events, hardware accelerated CSS transforms, and plenty of custom JavaScript. It's certainly not perfect (yet!) but I'm quite pleased with how well you can swipe, pan, and zoom through hundreds of high-resolution pages per issue. As a way to get around 130,000 pages of content, it's pretty good.

The buzz for the site has been phenomenal, and the quantity of subscriptions already has well surpassed expectations. Most of the reviews have focused on the web app approach as a way to get around Apple's nudity restrictions, which of course is a valid concern, but there are a number of other advantages as well. For one, going through the web, Playboy doesn't have to give Apple 30% of their subscription revenue. It's also easier to support a wider variety of devices, and it integrates better with people's existing modes of sharing, allowing the word to spread faster.

Of course, all business concerns aside, I just enjoy working with JavaScript, so I'm pleased to see its potential continuing to come to light. Hopefully this will be the first of many magazines to make the leap into the world of native-feeling web apps. If Bondi Digital (the folks behind iPlayboy) have anything to say about it, there certainly will be more.

I figure it actually makes sense that Playboy would be leading the way. It shouldn't surprise us that Hugh Hefner, a man who's fought plenty for the First Amendment is now joining in the Open Web fray, in his own way.


Why is this on planet.mozilla.org? Please take it off this feed.

Heather, I'm an active member of the Mozilla community. I also work on other web technology projects, such as iPlayboy, which, being one of the first large-scale magazine viewer projects created entirely with web technologies, is, I would say, of interest to the mozilla community.
Ian, I understand that you want to post about your other projects. The picture of a naked girl staring coyly at the camera on the Mozilla community blog really just makes my heart drop.

I've worked really hard to be taken seriously as a woman programmer, and I don't think this helps.

This makes me want to read planet less, and I can't speak for everyone, but I'm sure the same goes for some other people.
Heather, good point about the photo; I didn't think about how it would look when replicated to Planet Mozilla. I meant no disrespect; a number of my good friends, not to mention my wife, are female developers. My apologies.

I don't know what can be done about the post now that it's on Planet Mozilla, but I'll certainly be more careful in the future.
If you choose to make any edits to your post, Planet Mozilla should pick them up the next time it checks your feed.
Thanks, Matt, good to know! I think I'll let this one be; it's miles down the page on Planet by this point.
Really Heather? You feel less respected because of this photograph? You have other issues, I believe, that may not be related to this photo at all. I don't find it offensive in ANY way. Asking Mr. Gilman to remove it was ridiculous.

Playboy is an established name in high quality nude photography. I sort of have an idea what Apple wants to filter out and I don't think there would be a problem with iPlayboy given the right disclaimers.
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