Nanobots Producing Megastructures

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    1.2.1 • Public • Published

    Ola npm install ola test badge gzip size dependencies

    Smooth animation library for inbetweening / interpolating numbers in realtime:

    // Start tracking the value
    const pos = Ola({ y: 0 });
    // Set the value to update async
    pos.set({ y: 100 });
    // Read the evolution over time
    setInterval(() => graph(pos.y), 5);

    It works with multiple values/dimensions:

    const pos = Ola({ x: 0, y: 0 });
    window.addEventListener('click', e => {
      pos.set({ x: e.pageX, y: e.pageY });
    setInterval(() => { = `${pos.x}px`; = `${pos.y}px`;
    }, 10);

    Also works great with many instances since they are independent:

    // Generates 1000 instances seamlessly
    const dots = Ola(Array(1000).fill(0));
    // Everything updates every 600ms
    setInterval(() => dots.forEach((dot, i) => {
      dots[i] = Math.random();
    }), 600);
    // ... read + paint screen here

    Tip: click on the GIFs for a live demo with the code :)

    Getting started

    Install it with npm:

    npm install ola

    Then import it and use it:

    import Ola from "ola";
    const pos = Ola({ x: 0 });
    console.log(pos.x); // 0

    If you prefer to use a CDN:

    <script src=""></script>
    <script type="text/javascript">
      const pos = Ola({ x: 0 });
      console.log(pos.x); // 0


    There are three distinct operations that can be run: creating an instance, setting it to update and reading it.

    Create an instance

    Ola(initial, time = 300);

    The first parameter is the initial value. It can be either a single number, or an object of key:numbers or an array of numbers:

    const heater = Ola(20); // Alias of `{ value: 20 }`
    const motor = Ola({ angle: 180 }); // A named parameter for clarity
    const position = Ola({ x: 0, y: 0 }); // Any number of properties
    const heights = Ola([0, 0, 0, 0]); // A group of heights

    The second parameter is how long the transition will last. It should be a number that represents the time in milliseconds:

    const heater = Ola(20); // Default = 300 ms
    const motor = Ola({ angle: 180 }, 1000); // Turn the motor slowly
    const position = Ola({ x: 0, y: 0 }, 100); // Quick movements for the position
    const heights = Ola([0, 0, 0, 0], 300); // 300, same as the default

    Passing a single number as a parameter is the same as passing { value: num }, we are just helping by setting a shortname. It is offered for convenience, but recommend not mixing both styles in the same project.

    It works with Javascript numbers, but please keep things reasonable (under Number.MAX_VALUE / 10):

    console.log(Ola(1 / 100));

    The time it takes to update can also be updated while setting the value, which will update it for any subsequent transition:

    // All `pos.set()` will take 1 full second
    const pos = Ola({ x: 0 }, 1000);
    pos.set({ x: 100 }, 3000);

    Update the value

    heater.value = 25; // Since the constructor used a number, use `.value`
    motor.angle = 90; // Turn -90 degrees from before
    position.set({ x: 100, y: 100 }); // Move 0,0 => 100,100
    heights[1] = 120; // Move the second (0-index) item to 120

    When we update a property it is not updated instantaneously (that's the whole point of this library), but instead it's set to update asynchronously:

    const pos = Ola({ x: 0 });
    pos.set({ x: 100 });
    // 0 - still hasn't updated
    // 100 - after 300ms it's fully updated
    setTimeout(() => console.log(pos.x), 1000);

    Remember that if you set the value as Ola(10), this is really an alias for Ola({ value: 10 }), so use the property .value to update it:

    heater.value = 25;
    heater.set({ value: 25 });

    You can see in this graph, the blue line is the value that is set though .set(), while the red line is the value that reading it returns:

    Read the value

    log(heater.value); // Since the constructor used a number, use `.value`
    log(motor.angle); // Read as an object property
    log(position.get("x")); // Find the X value
    log(heights[1]); // Move the first item to 120

    You can read the value at any time, and the value will be calculated at that moment in time:

    const pos = Ola({ x: 0 });
    pos.set({ x: 100 });
    setInterval(() => {
      // It will update every time it's read
    }, 10);

    In contrast to other libraries, there's no need to tick/update the function every N ms or before reading the value, since Ola() uses math functions you should just read it when needed.

    Advanced usage

    If you need to access more advanced features, you can read these two properties:

    // All the details about the current transition, please see the source for more info
    log(heater._value);  // { to: 25, from: 20, ... }
    log(motor._angle);  // { to: 90, from: 180, ... }
    // The value that will be set when the transition is finished
    log(heater.$value);  // 25
    log(motor.$angle);  // 90


    While there are some other great libraries like Tween, this one has some improvements:

    Smooth in realtime

    Other libraries don't move smoothly when there's an update while the previous transition is still ongoing. Ola makes sure there are no harsh corners:

    Smooth interpolation with Ola() Harsh interpolation with Tweenmax

    Status of libraries updating animation mid-way:

    Lazy loading

    Since this is driven by mathematical equations, the library doesn't calculate any value until it needs to be read/updated. It will also only change the one we need instead of all of the values:

    const position = Ola({ x: 0, y: 0 });
    position.x = 10; // Only updates X
    console.log(position.x); // Calculates only X position, not y

    Not only this is great for performance, but it also makes for a clean self-contained API where each instance is independent and portable.

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