The Caffeine Machine: My entry for Thumbtack's programming challenge #1
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README.md

The Caffeine Machine

The Caffeine Machine is my entry for Thumbtack's Espresso Bar Slot Machine programming challenge.

Browser compatibility

  • Chrome 12+
  • Safari 5+
  • Mobile Safari on iOS 3.2+

Firefox is not yet completely supported. I've been experimenting with support for it on the firefox branch. You can find a list of Firefox issues in the Bugs section below.

About

I chose to depend heavily on CSS3 keyframe animation to create the spinning effect. There are a few reasons for this. The most important of these is sheer performance—CSS3 3D animations are significantly smoother than JS/jQuery. It also allowed me to take advantage of built-in timing functions (ease-in, etc.) that would normally require a lot of extra JS. The CSS3 transition property was another option, but I found its behavior inconsistent. For example, reels would often skip all of those extra spins, which makes for a pretty lame slot machine. CSS3 transitions also made it a bit more difficult to create the "overbounce" effect at the end of the main spin.

That said, this approach does have its drawbacks. For one, @keyframe rules are not "attached" to any specific element in a stylesheet, so I had to inject them into a style element with some slightly awkward JS. (Check out the keyframe_rule() function in script.js to see what I mean.) I'm working on a more elegant approach using the CSSOM (instead of just removing and replacing text), based on these two StackOverflow posts. Another minor issue is that images on the reel appear slightly blurry, even when the source image is larger than the rendered result. This appears to be the case for all elements "pushed" toward the viewer via CSS—WebKit doesn't resample them for their new position in 3D space, presumably for performance reasons.

Bugs

  • Firefox: The spin button only works once. After the first spin, reels do not animate, and no results are displayed
  • Firefox: Spinning animation is jerky, inconsistent
  • Firefox: Slots flicker intermittently

Todo

  • Responsive, mobile version for smartphones and tablets
  • Create a 2D fallback for browsers that don't support 3D tranforms (IE and Opera in particular)