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Geek Girl Joy

Artificial Intelligence, Simulations & Software

Month

August 2018

Bot Generated Stories

Many of my readers know last year for Halloween I published A Halloween Tale¬†where I used a self built (from scratch & in PHP no less ūüėé ) “writer bot” to write the entire story I published in that article.

To this day¬†I would argue A Halloween Tale is still the best¬†example available online of bot written fiction and I dare you to find a more coherent story! ūüėõ

I trained my bot on Jules Vern’s¬†20000 Leagues Under the Sea, Bram Stoker’s Dracula & Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, in the hopes of generating a sort of Adventure Horror story¬†because I wanted something kinda “spooky” to publish for¬†Halloween… but i’m getting ahead of myself.

I will discuss my “writer bot” more in future posts. Today I’d like to start the discussion with some of my thoughts on generative writer bots in general.

Why Build a Generative Writer Bot?

You see, I believe that generative robots like my “writer bot”, though more advanced will completely change the way people produce & consume media in the not to distant future.

Consider that Amazon.com is a book store (the largest), and it sells digital ebooks in ever growing numbers. Consider too that every Movie / TV Show and Netflix series has a written script.

Millions of magazines and news papers are printed and sold around the world each and every day, not to mention all the blog posts that are published.

Just about every product you can think of has some form of written communication involved with the buying, selling, transporting and or the use of that product.

Estimates say that there is a good chance a bot will write a “best seller” novel within the next 10 – 15 years and it’s important to note that isn’t time to completion, that’s time till it’s so good that the bot will do better than most human writers ever will!

A bot that can write “coherently” is much closer than 10 years!

The so called “best seller” robot is easily worth a trillion dollars to it’s creator due to the capacity of the robot to disrupt the entire writing industry!

 

A Vision of Things to Come

This type of bot offers push button custom content that can be tailor made to the exact preferences of the reader… or company that rents it from you… yeah “rents” because it’s the kind of thing you sell as a service for sure!

Imagine having a long trip home on a train, jet or self driving Uber… and having anything from a short story all the way up to a novel written just for you!

But it doesn’t stop there… as I droned on above, EVERYTHING is written and anything written has a cost associated with it.

For the writer the cost it time, the longer it takes to finish any given work reduces the overall value of the work due to fewer hours to allocate to other paid projects.

This type of bot would also benefit companies who employ people to write for them because their writers will be more efficient which means they can pay fewer writers to handle their content generation needs.

Ultimately, there is the possibility a writer bot could get so good that it might supplant the need for human writers entirely outside of specific areas of expertise.

While that may horrify many authors, if that does happen it promises to usher in the ability for everyone to have content generated that tells the story they want to read, see or hear at the push of a button.

 

Generative Stories Are More Than Just Words

This is all more than just words though.

If a generative writer bot is capable of generating a “best seller” novel then it is not hard to see how the same process of narrative arc generation and management as well as character creation… not to mention the conversations the characters have with (or about) each other as well as the objects they interact with and the environments they exist in… can be applied to other uses such as writing scripts for movies, shows… podcasts? ūüėõ

At the core of this bot is a system that can manage complex environments and interactions verbally and describe consistently and coherently what is occurring.

It’s not hard to imagine¬†combining the narrative generating capacity of this type of bot with an animation system¬†hypothetically allowing you to generate a story and then programmatically illustrate or even animate it leading to on demand TV with shows that are all about your personal interests!

Further, if you can animate it… it can be made interactive so it’s not much of a stretch to extend the system so that you could play a VR Novel (like the Holodeck on Star Trek but with VR goggles) where the story is written on the fly and the world is generated so that you can have any experience you want.

I believe this is coming and I will share more of my thoughts on the subject in upcoming posts.

I hope you enjoyed today’s post, ¬†please like, share & follow!

Read Part 2: Bot Generated Stories II

Your financial support allows me to dedicate the time & effort required to develop all the projects & posts I create and publish here on my blog.

If you would also like to financially support my work and add your name on my Sponsors page then visit my Patreon page and pledge $1 or more a month.

As always, feel free to suggest a project you would like to see built or a topic you would like to hear me discuss in the comments and if it sounds interesting it might just get featured here on my blog for everyone to enjoy.

 

 

Much Love,

~Joy

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My Supporters

Today I would like to thank you all for reading my blog.

Your time is valuable to me and knowing that everyone out there enjoys my work is very gratifying but also quite motivating to me to constantly try to bring you something new and interesting with each post I publish.

As a result I have seen my daily & weekly readership numbers continue to increase and I would like to take this opportunity welcome everyone new.

Obviously I can’t do this without you guys and¬†I would also like to take this opportunity to thank a few very special readers of mine who not only enjoy my work but also have pledged to financially support my content over on Patreon.

PATREON SPONSORS

Gabriel Kunkel   &   Shanon Garcia

Your financial support allows me to dedicate the time & effort required to develop all the projects & posts I create and publish here on my blog. Your patronage allows people all around the world to learn about technology and computer science.

If you would also like to financially support my work and add your name on my Sponsors page then visit my Patreon page and pledge $1 or more a month.

As always, feel free to suggest a project you would like to see built in the comments and if it sounds interesting it might just get built and featured here on my blog for everyone to enjoy.

 

 

Much Love,

~Joy

SVG Platformer

Can you go from art to program in one or two steps? Well, that’s what today’s post is about.

One of the cool things I remember about web development from years ago was Adobe Flash.

Before you boo me, hear me out!

I’m not saying Flash is a better technologically than HTML5, The Name of Your Favorite JavaScript Framework, CSS, Web Assembly etc… However one place Flash excelled was visual design & layout… an important part of the web!

The problem with many modern tools isn’t that they can’t convey design, it’s that they decouple the design and the development processes!

In practice this means writing code to describe the elements of your software like HTML and later writing more code to style the elements (like CSS, SASS or LESS), none of which is actually visual, though you definitely can get some great results!

Flash Builder (or whatever it was called) was half art studio and half IDE¬†(Integrated Development Environment) where you could draw anything and it was an “object” and you could write code (ActionScript) to control it’s behavior. It wasn’t a mockup or illustration, it was the actual program!

As I recall, once the switch to ActionScript 3 was made the ability to store your code on the objects themselves was depreciated in favor of using references and listeners stored in the main keyframe timeline…¬†I preferred keeping my code on the objects themselves but I digress.

Even with the change to where you stored your code you could still accomplish anything you wanted with the centralized keyframe code and some developers even found this easier to maintain than storing the code on the components.

You would setup your scripts on layered keyframe’s that extended to the last keyframe used in the project, or the last frame that needed that code and by using a sort of “goto keyframe name or id” method you could actually build complex applications quite easily, and more importantly… visually!

That’s why all the games used to be made with Flash, you could basically draw a picture and then turn it into an animation or even a full program in a couple of hours. This meant you were free to experiment & push boundaries.

Now, yes of course there are visual workflows you can use today.There are WYSIWYG editors and CMS App Platforms like WordPress, Drupal & Joomla not to mention the full featured layout capabilities of site builder tools like Wix.

Fundamentally though these tools facilitate laying out HTML elements and applying CSS and maybe some JavaScript via a drag and drop interface. Which is significantly faster than doing visual development via code in my opinion, though I am not arguing it is inherently “better”.

Unlike the aforementioned tools which specialize in “page based” HTML applications, Flash was an element or object that you embed into your page that used Vector Graphics¬†to create lossless re-sizable images, animations and applications.

Inside the Flash movie/app you could draw anything and you were not constrained to HTML elements but you were also not required to code the visual elements.

This made for a wonderfully rapid prototyping experience that I was unable to reproduce until I tried working with Unity 3D¬†which describes itself as “the ultimate game development platform” though I’d go so far as to describe it as¬†“the ultimate app development platform”.

Think about it, at the time of writing this Unity supports 25 Platforms¬†including Desktops (Win/Mac/Linux), the mobile OS’s, and all the major gaming consoles, not to mention the Smart TV’s, Watches etc…. Any platform you want your app on, including the web, well… Unity pretty much supports it right out of the box. Oh, and it’s free until you make $100K a year with it, not too shabby!

The catch? Well, its highly optimized but leans in the 3D gaming direction (though I’ve built 2D apps with Unity) so the applications it produces tend to have a larger size (as far as my tests go) than if you used PhoneGap/Cordova or went native. My guess is this is due to the embedded physics engine and graphics rendering code that gets packaged with the app but i’m only guessing, and there are a few options that let you exclude unnecessary things from the compiled app.

Then again, you may be able to make use of those features in your app so it need not be a negative either.

In any case, the problem as I see it with Unity is that the builder isn’t readily available on Linux, but it will build for Linux ‚Ěď Maybe they should build Unity with Unity so that it can Unity being Unity… ūüėõ

I am aware they kinda released a limited version for Linux… but I could never seem to make it work right and the truth is that it takes some decent (but not outrageous) resources to run the Unity builder application so most micro computers are out and sadly it won’t run on the ARMf architecture so using a Raspberry Pi to do Unity development is just not happening.

Is there another way?

Well, there is a modern Vector Graphic format available for the web called SVG that is basically XML code that can be written in a text editor or it can be drawn using a program like Inkscape (free and what I use) or Adobe Illustrator if you prefer a commercial paid tool.

Since SVG is code, if you place the code inside your HTML (sadly not link to or embed) you don’t just get a static vector image but instead you get elements that are accessible via the DOM (Document Object Model) that you can manipulate using CSS and JavaScript.

That last part should really interest you if you enjoy rapid application prototyping!

Which is the origin of this project, I wanted to know… could I rapid prototype an application by just drawing a picture and writing some code?

Understand that I am not talking about drawing a picture, slicing it then building an app from sliced components or using the sliced images as placeholders or writing code to draw the slices onto a canvas context.

I challenged myself to see if I could only write code that was part of the core functionality and not basic graphic asset creation and certainly not the code to display it, just manipulate it.

I set about creating a very simple “proof of concept” a while back that is basically a “Die Rolling App” that you can view a live example of here: SVG Roller¬†though I never wrote about it. Roller is half image and half app but very basic.

Roller consists mainly of showing and hiding elements in the SVG based on a button click and a random number… good but not all that flashy!

Recently I have been wanting a better SVG application that would be more visual and expand on what I have already done but retain the simplicity of “Draw It then Code it”.

So, I opened up Inkscape and drew this image:


I grouped all the associated assets and gave them id’s like “cloud1”, “player”, “coin2” etc… then saved the image as demo.svg and closed Inkscape.

Why a game? Well, it’s more visual than my SVG Roller and I think it illustrates more of what is possible with an SVG app.

After that I opened demo.svg with a text editor and copied the SVG code into the body tag of my HTML file (remember you can’t link to it you have to include the code in the HTML).

I then wrote a little CSS that helps position the SVG on the page, applied a background color, disabled text highlighting and changed the cursor to the hand icon when the mouse is over a button, minimal CSS.

After that I wrote the JavaScript that turns the image into a playable application.

Game.js

Here is all the code that makes the SVG Platformer game demo work:

var keyEvents = {}; // keyboard state object

// Listen to keyboard outside of game loop to be less "blocky"
var onkeydown = onkeyup = function(key){
  key = key || event; // IE Fix ūüė¶

  if(key.type == 'keydown'){
    keyEvents[key.keyCode] = true;
  }
  else{
    keyEvents[key.keyCode] = false; 
  }
  //console.log(keyEvents);
}


var game = document.getElementById('game'); // A reference to the SVG
if(game){
    game.addEventListener("load",function(){
    ///////////
    // Functions
        
    // Clear Instructions    
    // removes the instructions element
    function ClearInstructions() {
      instructions.remove();
    }

    // Get Position
    // This function gets the current (x,y) cordinates of GetPosition(object)     
    function GetPosition(object){
      var transformlist = object.transform.baseVal;
      var group = transformlist.getItem(0);
      var X = 0;
      var Y = 0;
      if (group.type == SVGTransform.SVG_TRANSFORM_TRANSLATE){
        X = group.matrix.e;
        Y = group.matrix.f;
      }
      return [X, Y];
    }
    
    // Collide
    // A basic box collision detector
    function Collide(element1, element2) {
      var collisionBox1 = element1.getBoundingClientRect();
      var collisionBox2 = element2.getBoundingClientRect();

      return !(collisionBox1.top > collisionBox2.bottom ||
        collisionBox1.right < collisionBox2.left ||
        collisionBox1.bottom < collisionBox2.top ||
        collisionBox1.left > collisionBox2.right);
    }

    // Inside
    // A basic inside box collision detector
    function Inside(element1, element2) {
      var collisionBox1 = element1.getBoundingClientRect();
      var collisionBox2 = element2.getBoundingClientRect();

      return (collisionBox1.top <= collisionBox2.bottom && 
        collisionBox1.bottom >= collisionBox2.top && 
        collisionBox1.left <= collisionBox2.right && 
        collisionBox1.right >= collisionBox2.left);
    }
      
    // Get Bank Total
    // Get the number of diamond or coins the player has
    function GetBankTotal(element){
      var currentValue = element.textContent;
      return parseInt(currentValue);
    }
    
    // Collect 
    // Increment the Coin or a Diamond "player bank"
    function Collect(element){
      element.textContent = GetBankTotal(element) + 1;
    }
      
    
            
    ///////////
    // Game play
    
    // Set the "constants"
    var step = 1;
    var jump = 20;
    var gravity = 1.5;

    // Setup references to the "named" SVG XML elements
    var gameOver = game.getElementById("gameover"); // A hidden "eater/detector" element below the play area to detect player death
    var instructions = game.getElementById('instructions');  // Instructions element
    var gameOverMenu = game.getElementById("gameovermenu");  // Game over screen element
    var player = game.getElementById("player");              // The player element
    var playerCoins = game.getElementById("playercoins");    // The "bank" element showing how many coins the player has collected
    var playerDiamonds = game.getElementById("playerdiamonds");// The "bank" element showing how many diamond the player has collected

    //  Setup references to the "named" SVG XML coin elements
    var coinPieces = ['coin1', 'coin2'];
    var coins = [];
    coinPieces.forEach(element => {
      coins.push(document.getElementById(element));
    });
        
    // Setup references to the "named" SVG XML diamond elements
    var diamondPieces = ['diamond1'];
    var diamond = [];
    diamondPieces.forEach(element => {
      diamond.push(document.getElementById(element));
    });

    // Setup references to the "named" SVG XML ground elements
    var terrainPieces = ['ground1', 'ground2', 'ground3', 'ground4'];
    var terrain = [];
    terrainPieces.forEach(element => {
      terrain.push(document.getElementById(element));
    });

    var winningBankTotal = diamondPieces.length + coinPieces.length;


    // Clear the instructions after 3 seconds
    setTimeout(ClearInstructions, 3000);


    // Redraw Game Loop
    var redrawRate = 30; // microseconds
    var gameLoop = setInterval(function(){
      fall = true; // always try to fall
      allowedToJump = false;// disallow jumping because player might be falling
      allowedToMove = true; // allow moving until the player is dead

      // Check for collisions with ground elements
      terrain.forEach(ground => {
        // If there is a collision with the ground
        if(Collide(player, ground)){
          fall = false; // Stop falling
          allowedToJump = true; // Allow jumping
        }
      });

      // if player fell below the ground
      if(Inside(player, gameOver)){
        fall = false; // stop falling
        allowedToJump = false; // dont allow jumping
        allowedToMove = false; // player is dead stop player movment
        ClearInstructions(); // just in case
        gameOverMenu.style.display = "inline"; // show game over menu
      }


      // if there was no collision between a ground element and
      // the player
      if(fall === true){
        position = GetPosition(player); // get updated player position
        allowedToJump = false; // dont allow jumping
        player.transform.baseVal.getItem(0).setTranslate(position[0], position[1] + gravity); // player falls
      }


      if(allowedToMove === true){
        position = GetPosition(player); // get updated player position
        // keyboard movment
        // left || a
        if (keyEvents[37] === true || keyEvents[65] === true) {
          if(position[0] > -10){
            player.transform.baseVal.getItem(0).setTranslate(position[0] - step, position[1]);
          }
        }
        // right || d
        if (keyEvents[39] === true || keyEvents[68] === true) {
          if(position[0] < 140){
            player.transform.baseVal.getItem(0).setTranslate(position[0] + step, position[1]);
          }
        }
        // up || w || space
        if ((keyEvents[38] === true || keyEvents[87] === true || keyEvents[32] === true) && allowedToJump === true) {
          player.transform.baseVal.getItem(0).setTranslate(position[0], position[1] - jump);    
        }
        // down || s
        if (keyEvents[40] === true || keyEvents[83] === true) {
          //console.log("Down");
        }
      }


      // Item Collection        
      // Collect coins
      coins.forEach(coin => {
        if(Inside(player, coin)){
          coin.remove();
          Collect(playerCoins);
        }
      });

      // Collect diamond
      diamond.forEach(diamond => {
        if(Inside(player, diamond)){
          diamond.remove();
          Collect(playerDiamonds);
        }
      }); 

      // Check for Win
      if((GetBankTotal(playerDiamonds) + GetBankTotal(playerCoins)) == winningBankTotal){
        clearInterval(gameLoop); // stop the game
        fall = false; // stop falling
        allowedToJump = false; // dont allow jumping
        allowedToMove = false; // player won stop player movment
        gameOverMenu.style.display = "inline"; // show game over menu
        // Change Game Over text to You Win
        game.getElementById("gameovermessage").textContent = '  You Win!';
      }

    }, redrawRate); // Game Loop - redraw every 30 microseconds
  }); // game load event listener
} // if game

 

As you can see from the code it supports WASD as well as the arrow keys and spacebar for movment. There is a win condition if you collect the two coins and the single diamond. You lose if you fall into one of the two spike pits.

Overall I am pleased with what I accomplished however the collision detection could be improved and there is quite a bit of room for improving how items are collected and enemies would be nice in addition to a larger/longer level, and maybe even a parallax scrolling  effect on some background elements as the player moves would also be nice, though again, I am happy with how it turned out.

You can Play a Live Demo: Here

You can Get the Code: Here

You can find a list of all my other posts on my Topics and Posts page.

I hope you enjoyed reading about and playing this SVG game prototype.

Your financial support allows me to dedicate time to developing projects like this and while I am publishing them without cost, that isn’t to say they are free. It takes me a lot of time and effort to build and publish projects like this for your enjoyment.

So I ask that if you like my content, please support me on Patreon for as little as $1 or more a month.

Feel free to suggest a project you would like to see built in the comments and if it sounds interesting it might just get built and featured here on my blog for you to enjoy.

 

 

Much Love,

~Joy

Button CSS Generator

Today we’re going to talk about a limited “generative system” that “writes” CSS code though I wouldn’t call this a ‘bot’.

What this generator does is “explore” the existing possibilities of a predefined problem space using known ranges and random selection. ūüėČ

I wrote some of my thoughts regarding “generative systems” in relation to programmers and software developers in my article The Death of the Programmer¬†and I also implemented a generative “writer bot” that I trained and used to write my article A Halloween Tale.

However in those cases I was mainly referring to semi-intelligent (in regard to the problem space) systems (“bots”) that are able to make choices on their own their own, and or are capable of learning, evolving or growing in some capacity based on input or state but that is not what we are doing today.

This is a simple generative tool (the Button CSS generator I provide below) is useful but it has no knowledge of what looks good (or bad) and no way to learn them either!

It can only provide you with options but it is far from replacing you.

You can view a Live Preview: Here 

Though in case you wanted it, here’s a screenshot:

There are only 3 files used to create the Button CSS generator: style.css, functions.js & index.html

Style.css

This is the CSS styles used by the index.html file. You will notice that there is a base button CSS template that all the buttons share when the page is first loaded.

The “hardcoded” styles are: text-align, ¬†text-decoration,¬†display, padding,¬†font-size.

Once the page is loaded however I use JavaScript to generate and apply additional CSS attributes which are responsible for the variations in each button that you see.

The style.css file is an external style sheet and is linked to using <link rel=”stylesheet” type=”text/css” href=”style.css”> in the HTML file.

 

h1{
    width:100%;
    text-align: center;
}
    
button {
    /* hardcoded styles*/
    text-align: center;
    text-decoration: none;
    display: inline-block;
    padding: 15px 32px;
    font-size: 1.5em;
}

table{
    text-align: center;
    width:100%;
}

caption{
    font-size:2em;
}

#randomize{
    background-color: rgb(62, 176, 239); 
    color: rgb(138, 219, 215);
    border-color: rgb(28, 65, 39);
    border-width: 11px;
    border-style: dotted;
}

#show-css-wrapper{
    width: 100%;
    text-align: center;
    margin-left: auto;
    margin-right: auto;
}

#show-css-title{
    width: 100%;
    text-align: center;
    margin-left: auto;
    margin-right: auto;
    background-color: #999999;
}

#show-css{
    width: 40%;
    min-width: 420px;
    text-align: left;
    margin-left: auto;
    margin-right: auto;
    background-color: #eeeeee;
}

textarea{
    width: 100%;
    height: 200px
}

 

Functions.js

This file contains all the functions that the generator will use to make new button CSS styles.

There is some inline JavaScript in the HTML file that makes use of these functions and I will discuss that in the Index.html section below.

There is a lot of similarity between most of the functions and although much of their functionality can be wrapped up into one function I intentionally implemented the prototype generator this way.

I could say the reason is that I wanted to avoid early optimization but the real reason is that this way is just easier to read for someone who didn’t write the software and or is just learning to code.

Though in truth SetBackgroundColor(element) or SetBorderWidth(element) is not significantly more readable than a more optimized generic function like SetCSS(element, cssProperty,  optional [ value ])  and if I was going to spend more time developing this system I would probably end up going that route because the generic function would be far easier to maintain in the long run simply because it would be one function to maintain instead of many.

The functions.js file is an external script and is linked to the HTML file using the “src” (source) attribute on a script tag.

////////////////////////////////////
// Random Button CSS Generator Functions

// Will return 0 or 1
function CoinFlip(){
    return Math.floor(Math.random() * 2); //0/1
}
    

// Return a random string of RGB values e.g. "255, 255, 255"
function RandomRGBColor(){
    var r, g, b;
    
    r = Math.floor(Math.random() * 256);
    g = Math.floor(Math.random() * 256);
    b = Math.floor(Math.random() * 256);
    
    color = r.toString() + ', ' + g.toString() + ', ' + b.toString();

    return color;
}

// Set SetBackgroundColor()
function SetBackgroundColor(element, color = null){
    // No color given so set to random
    if(color === null){
        element.style.backgroundColor = 'rgb(' + RandomRGBColor() + ')';
    }else{ // Set to provided color
        element.style.backgroundColor = 'rgb(' + color + ')';
    }
}

// Set SetFontColor()
function SetFontColor(element, color = null){
    // No color given so set to random
    if(color === null){
        element.style.color = 'rgb(' + RandomRGBColor() + ')';
    }else{ // Set to provided color
        element.style.color = 'rgb(' + color + ')';
    }
}

// Set SetBorderColor()
function SetBorderColor(element, color = null){
    // No color given so set to random
    if(color === null){
        element.style.borderColor = 'rgb(' + RandomRGBColor() + ')';
    }else{ // Set to provided color
        element.style.borderColor = 'rgb(' + color + ')';
    }
}

// Set SetBorderWidth()
function SetBorderWidth(element, width = null){
    // No width given so set to random
    if(width === null){
        element.style.borderWidth = Math.floor(Math.random() * 14).toString() +'px';
    }else{ // Set to provided color
        element.style.borderWidth = width.toString() + 'px';
    }
}

// Set SetBorderStyle()
function SetBorderStyle(element, style = null){
    // No width given so set to random
    if(style === null){
        
        var styles = ['none', 'hidden', 'dotted', 'dashed', 'solid', 'double', 'groove', 'ridge', 'inset', 'outset', 'initial', 'inherit'];
        
        element.style.borderStyle = styles[Math.floor(Math.random()*styles.length)];
            
    }else{ // Set to provided color
        element.style.borderStyle = style;
    }
}

// Get the CSS for the button that was clicked and show it on the page
function ShowCSS(element){
    var style = window.getComputedStyle(element);
    var backgroundColor = style.getPropertyValue('background-color');
    var color = style.getPropertyValue('color');
    var borderColor = style.getPropertyValue('border-color');
    var borderWidth = style.getPropertyValue('border-width');
    var borderStyle = style.getPropertyValue('border-style');
    var padding = style.getPropertyValue('padding');
    var textDecoration = style.getPropertyValue('text-decoration');
    var display = style.getPropertyValue('display');
    var fontSize = style.getPropertyValue('font-size');
    var css = '';
    css += 'button{\n';
    css += '    background-color: ' + backgroundColor.toString() + ';\n';
    css += '    color: ' + color.toString() + ';\n';
    css += '    border-color: ' + borderColor.toString() + ';\n';
    css += '    border-width: ' + borderWidth.toString() + ';\n';
    css += '    border-style: ' + borderStyle.toString() + ';\n';
    css += '    padding: ' + padding.toString() + ';\n';
    css += '    text-decoration: ' + textDecoration.toString() + ';\n';
    css += '    display: ' + display.toString() + ';\n';
    css += '    font-size: ' + fontSize.toString() + ';\n';
    css += '}\n';

    document.getElementById('css-styles').innerHTML = css;
}

Index.html

Index.html is the core that brings all the pieces of this software together!

You will notice that I used divisional elements (div tags) and a textarea to create the section at the top of the page where the CSS code is shown when you click one of the buttons.

Beneath that is the randomize button hyperlinked to nothing, followed by a table. Why a table and not a responsive grid? Eh… it was faster for the prototype mainly.

Inside each cell of the the table is a button that has an onclick attrabute that passes the element’s ID reference ‘this’ to the function ShowCSS().

Beyond this the only thing of consequence in the HTML file is the inline JavaScript that uses the code from the functions.js script to make everything work.

When the page loads I use an array of strings of element id’s (the buttons) to locate & establish references to the DOM objects for each button and store those references in the buttons array.

Then, for each of the element references in the buttons array I set a background color as well as a font color randomly. After that I “flip a coin” to decide if a boarder should be applied to the button. If yes, I apply a random boarder color, width and style.

Once the code is done running all the buttons will be randomly styled and are ready for you to click them to get the CSS if you like them or click Randomize to get a new set of random buttons.

<html>
<head>
  <title>Random Button</title>
  <link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="style.css"> 
</head>
<body>
  <!-- Title -->
  <h1>Random Button CSS Generator</h1>
     
    <!-- Show CSS -->
    <div id="#show-css-wrapper">
        <div id="show-css">
            <h2 id="show-css-title">Button CSS</h2>
            <p>Select a button to view it's CSS styles</p>
            <textarea id="css-styles">CSS will show here</textarea>        
        </div>
    </div>

    <!-- Table -->
    <table> 
      <tr>
          <td></td>
          <td>
              <h3>
                  <a href="">
                      <button id="randomize">
                          Randomize
                      </button>
                  </a>
              </h3>
          </td>
          <td></td>
      </tr>
         <tr>
          <td>&nbsp;</td>
          <td>&nbsp;</td>
          <td>&nbsp;</td>
      </tr>
      <tr>
        <td><button id="button-1" onclick="ShowCSS(this)">Button 1</button></td>
        <td><button id="button-2" onclick="ShowCSS(this)">Button 2</button></td>
        <td><button id="button-3" onclick="ShowCSS(this)">Button 3</button></td>
      </tr>
      <tr>
        <td><button id="button-4" onclick="ShowCSS(this)">Button 4</button></td>...
        <td><button id="button-5" onclick="ShowCSS(this)">Button 5</button></td>
        <td><button id="button-6" onclick="ShowCSS(this)">Button 6</button></td>
      </tr>
        <tr>
        <td><button id="button-7" onclick="ShowCSS(this)">Button 7</button></td>
        <td><button id="button-8" onclick="ShowCSS(this)">Button 8</button></td>
        <td><button id="button-9" onclick="ShowCSS(this)">Button 9</button></td>
      </tr>
    </table>

 
    <!-- Include the Functions -->
    <script src="functions.js"></script>    
    <script>
    // Button Element ID's
    var elementsIDs = ['button-1', 'button-2', 'button-3', 'button-4', 'button-5', 'button-6', 'button-7', 'button-8', 'button-9'];

    var buttons = []; // Array to Store Button References

    // Setup Element References to the Buttons
    elementsIDs.forEach(element => {
      buttons.push(document.getElementById(element));
    });

    // Apply Random CSS to each Button
    buttons.forEach(element => {
      SetBackgroundColor(element); // Set Initial Background Colors
      SetFontColor(element);       // Set Initial Font Colors

      if(CoinFlip() == 1){ // Has border?
        SetBorderColor(element);
        SetBorderWidth(element);
        SetBorderStyle(element);
      }
       
    });

    </script>
</body>
</html>

 

Where to go from here

As a proof of concept I think I accomplished my goal of creating a functional Button CSS Generator however a more complete¬†prototype would want to include features like allowing you to edit the CSS of the selected button and have the changes reflect on the button in real time or via an “update” button.

Also, perhaps the ability to “favorite” or save a button’s CSS style so that you can reload it again later or some kind of “history” feature would be nice so that you can keep the button styles you like.

Additionally, the CSS attributes the generator uses are hard coded and the property or attribute “min/max” ranges are set as well… A nice feature would be be to have the option to edit/add or remove the CSS fields included in the generator and modify the ranges as well.

It would also be nice for the prototype to allow for the generation of vertical and horizontal menus using the button CSS and include the ability to edit the links or “onclick” actions and the text of the buttons.

The “ultimate” implementation of a generator like this would allow you to generate styles for all or some subset of the HTML elements not just buttons.

I will leave all these features for you to add to your own implementations at this time however if you like this project I may just add some or all of these features in the future.

You can view a Live Preview: Here

You can get the code on GitHub: Here

You can find a list of all my other posts on my Topics and Posts page.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article.

Your financial support allows me to dedicate time to developing projects like this and while I am publishing them without cost, that isn’t to say they are free. I am doing this all by myself and it takes me a lot of time and effort to build and publish these projects for your enjoyment.

So I ask that if you like my content, please support me on Patreon for as little as $1 or more a month.

Feel free to suggest a project you would like to see built in the comments and if it sounds interesting it might just get built and featured here on my blog for you to enjoy.

 

 

Much Love,

~Joy

 

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