Category Archives: dev

Everything dev related!

A Simple Spatial Hashing (HashGrid) for processing-2

download, contribute or fork this project here!

SPatial Hash Grid System
Testing the functionality of the class

Continuing from our last post, We were just ready to create our grid “buckets”!
Buckets are small rectangles forming the grid; objects corresponding to each bucket location will be saved (a reference to them) in that bucket.
To create buckets (and our grid) we need to divide the size of our target canvas (it can be our stage size or a virtual stage) to create smaller rectangles, then we will need just to check each object against other objects only in the same bucket or neighbor buckets which will dramatically reduce the required number of iterations. but it’s important to decide about the bucket sizes according to our needs (number of objects, desired distance to check…) and since variables affecting or decision here aren’t constant, it’s better to make it flexible so we can decide about the bucket size later! we will start with defining a float variable that will dictate desired size of our bucket to the class, if it’s not defined when calling the class it can be created automatically according to number of objects and requested distance check etc. but for now … let’s keep simple!
Also, we would want (I imagine at this point) two methods:
1. obj.set() –> Objects will declare their position to class and get referenced in corresponding buckets.
2. obj.get() –> which will return an array of references in all the neighbors in theย  requested distance.

Here to check the functionality of our Spatial hash grid class I’ll use a simple class I wrote before, which just generates bunch of random point objects on the stage, so we can put our class under some definable load, the Points class is simple (and anyway not the subject of this topic, but let me know if you want know more about it!):

So! here is the structure of our HashGrid class:
Here we just declared the class and bunch of variables and methods we know we’re gonna need.
There is also a displayGrid() function that will just draw our grid for us on the display so it’d be easier to understand and to debug.
But we have defined another class inside the HashGrid class as well (a nested class) near the end of this code snippet, Buckets class. that’s because in Java you should define the array type in declaration time and since our array will keep reference to Objects and there is not such a primitive called “Object” you need to define the object to be able to declare an array of that kine of objects, so we create a nested class called buckets to keep our bucket arrays and an array of our buckets in it!
Also you may notice that I hard coded another object type in my HashGrid class (The Points) which is not the best practice since we want to be able to use this class everywhere with no modifications, but for now and to keep it as simple as possible we are gonna leave it like that, but later on (in another post hopefully if I could) we will make it more abstract by using an interface or some other techniques.

Now we need to create an array of buckets, create an array in each bucket (to keep our object references) and populate our set() and get() functions:
Now our HashGrid class is all functional! awesome! but there is a few things still we need to do, some of them are relatively easy to implement, like adding the functionality to be able to define the desired distance to check (checking neighbors as well as the bucket itself) and also the Interface, we are gonna work on these later-on (hopefully!) in another post. But now to test our class we can create a new processing file (tab) and put this code on it:
Yep! it works! you can download, contribute or fork the whole project here at Github:

A Simple Spatial Hashing (HashGrid) for processing-1

Spatial HashGrid projected on a sphere
Image Source: Wikimedia.

While working on bunch of sketches to create visuals for one of my documents, I was thinking to implement it with a simple Spatial Hash grid, but since performance wasn’t that important in that particular project, I just did it the simple way (checking every node against all the others in each iteration which means —> nยฒ checks / frame (90K check for 300 prticle points for example!)) and it worked just fine! but strangely enaugh it was bothering me that I didn’t do it the right way! and since I’m gonna to reuse the code in another projects for sure and since I’ll need to implement this technique anyway sooner or later in one of my “things”! I tried to give it a try and do it the “right way”.
I started by just thinking and trying to analyze the way I’d imagine it works, I wanted something simple and minimal, so I did bunch of sketches on paper like these one (which probably make sense just to myself!):

Spatial hash first sketches
primitive sketches on paper to define spatial grid I wanted to have to myself!

The concept behind spatial grids is simple: you keep track of each target object by keeping a reference to that object in the grid bucket beneath it (in a 2D scenario (which is expandable to a 3D one respectivly easy)), so each bucket is an array of references to objects located on that bucket’s position (on the grid), of course it can be further developed I think to a more efficient algorithm combining a quad-tree system for scenarios where objects are placed mostly not evenly on the grid ( buckets will have a limit size (let’s say 3) and then (if there is more than 3 objects located there) they’ll divide to 4 buckets…), but we don’t need that here since my objects will be scattered on space by a random perlin noise algorithm (almost evenly placed on enough large spaces). Doing a bit of research I found out some interesting libraries which would do the job just fine, like HashGrid class in giCentre Utiles library:

hashGrid = new HashGrid(width,height,10);

But first of all, I wanted it to be simple and just do a few things that I need it to do and secondly (and more important for me) I wanted to do it myself so I’d understand it and I’d be able to use the technique whenever and wherever (let’s say in my simple JS Canvas game) I wanted to, and all in all it looked like easy to implement! (surly enough, just to do the basic and probably not in the best way possible?!) So anyway I started to write the class:
(Ah btw, unfortunately, their source code is not available to public! (just a broken link on their Google repo site) and I didn’t find any other essay to do this on internet so I was (or am) pretty much on myself to figure it out! wish me luck!)

class HashGrid{
// It is just a simple class declaration so far!
 HashGrid(/*defined vars*/){
// constructor

To keep reference to objects there is ArrayList class/ interface available in JAVA (and Processing) which is very convenient since it resizes dynamically according to the number of objects in it, but is slower than a simple array of objects, so it’d be better if we can have simple arrays but then we should think about a mechanism to add AND remove (There is a confusion for me though since in Java these methods doesn’t exist! but apparently they exist in Processing (as it explain in the reference page: Decreases an array by one element and returns the shortened array. (Also look at this snippet))) (EDIT: I further investigated this issue and found out that (as I guessed) the append and shorten methodes in processing are pretty ineficient and actually just create a new array, with one member more or less and copy the old one to it, and don’t respect Java specs, all in all, seems better to avoid them (after all we can do the same thing if we need and keep the code more reusable in another Java envirenment)) items manually to and from the array (which happens automatically using ArrayList) but due to Java Array limitations the length of Array can not be changed, … since our concern is performance here (that’s why we want to create a hashGrid in the first place!) we should obviously go with standard arrays. (I’ll make this decision later on, be cause although Arrays are faster but: 1.we need to allocate a considerable amount of memory to them either we use that space or not, and 2. it may bring more and in-neccesary complexity to the process when we need to itterate each bucket array to get references to objects… (EDIT: it turned out that it wasn’t that complicated! so I used simple Arrays finally, Although I guess other implementations, including the GiCentre Utiles, are using arrayLists, so I guess my methode should be a lot faster than other ones specially when the number of elements is higher) ), let’s go and start by creating out buckets:

. . .

Auto generated cover page using Processing

An auto generated Cover Page (using processing)
An auto generated Cover Page (using processing)

Here is a gist of the code (Processing sketch) I used to create the auto-generated cover pages for the business plan I was talking about for Paris Incubators , feel free to check it out, use it or modify it if you want to and leave in comments any questions you might have! ๐Ÿ˜‰


The Gist:




PS: I recommend this site/ program to ppl like myself who are interested in Processing and data-visualization both! I may talk about them later on as well! ๐Ÿ˜‰

1and1’s version of version control systemes (like git)!



It is just ridiculous!

1and1 is advertising preinstalled git SCM on their shared servers now for a while, but their version of this version control system is just unbelievably nonsensical (even sometimes stupid!)!

Problems with 1&1:

  • there would be JUST ONE SSH available for your WHOLE Package! that means even if you host 12 websites with them you’ll have 1 and only 1 SSH which have access to EVERYTHING, EVERYWHERE in your server!! which means:
    • you can’t work with anybody else on your git projects except if you give them access to your WHOLE server to just be able to push or even pull to one repository!! Whats funny is that they tell you to do this if you want to work with other developers, on their “git” page!!! (Just UNBELIEVABLE!),
      I have the french version tho (another funny things about 1&1 is that you can’t change your CP Language! supper annoying!)

      1and1 git horrible suggestion!!!
      it is the worst thing a hosting company can say to their customers!
    • even if you want to have “single user” git (!), most certainly you don’t want that user (even if it’s yourself) have root access! which means taking a big, unnecessary risk to accidentally do something everywhere in your server rather than in your repository (I won’t give such an access even to myself, meaning having root access to work on a directory!) this makes it even more scary if you have several domains hosted with them and horrifying if some of those are for your clients!
    • you can’t have a git web interface for your git!
    • having a git with no possibility of contribution (of more than one user) is like having a big bus with no door or windows! then it’d be more like putting yourself in a moving jail in form of a bus!
  • No sudo is availale in 1and1
    • in contrary (to have SSH root access) you don’t have access to your root super user, No sudo in 1and1
    • that means you can’t have a lot of good/useful stuff available normally to a web-master, a good git interface to call one! and no, you can’t enable/install it!
    • this would really limit your options in certain level when you want to have something which is not available by default in their servers
    • using SSH is ridiculously useless then except of using this more ridicule version of single-user git since you can’t do anything more than you can using ftp!!
  • It is just ridiculous! the way they think (if they do by any chance) is really bizarre and incomprehensible, why would you do this? why 1and1?!!! It is just ridiculous, nonsense logic!

Anyway, unfortunately if you happened to caught in their servers too for the moment your one and only option to have a private git on your personal server is to not have it!
but fortunately there is some alternatives still, for example if you work with a small team (up to 5 person) you can have unlimited repos in Bitbucket, or if you can afford it you’ll be able to find lots of paid options (git-hub enterprise namely or Bit-bucket itself again or paid options in

Fair well and watch for 1&1!

Setinterval for Adobe ExtendScript

If you start working on an extension for one of Adobe CS products it can be really annoying or even disappointing once you find out that there is not any of java-script timing events available!
No setInterval, no timeout! no nothing! which means you don’t even have a choice, all the code you write, HAS TO be blocking!
That was (and probably is still kind of!) my situation! in fact, I’m working on my memoir, and both in my university and our lab place I have access to the whole set of Adobe products, (Oh, forgot to say: I’ll use Indesign to publish/design (page-making) my memoir), and since it have never been convenient for me to do things the easy way, I decided to write a plugin for In-Design so it will do for me what I wanted to do! Yeah, pretty much my first essay on creating an extension for an Adobe product…

Let’s make it short for you (I’ll probably talk more about that plugin, once it was ready!), I did a lot of research and read almost 500 pages of (really bad documented) adobe documents! to find out that there is no way to write a non-blocking check-loop; BUT…

But after I gave up, I thought it will bother me if I don’t try the last, and least probable idea! and that was the answer! (kind of) in fact I read almost all the possible event objects in Adobe ID and none of them were useful, but one of them raised my curiosity at-least and I thought give it a try! It is onIdle event and obviously it trigers on software IDLE time but it is more than that! in-fact you can check for system state in really short amounts of time (or long!) and it will return it to you, and that’s called an interval!! I would guess probably it won’t be precise but it would be enough good most certainly to help one to write a non-blocking UI or atleast give the option to user to choose the way s/he prefer (having the entire software freezes for the duration of the process or do it in the backrgund!)

Voila quoi!

Sample code:

Please let me know if you need more info / samples on it! my problem is solved now but I couldn’t find any helpful information online AT ALL, so I though I’d share it, ๐Ÿ˜‰


there is an $.sleep() method available which that too, of course, is blocking!