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Do You Use Javascript Libraries?

As:

1) The focus of web development is shifting more and more to the front end

2) Users are more and more demanding that their web apps look like their desktop apps

3) Users are more and more expecting to be wowed

4) Not many are good at flash but many are good at Javascript and writing code that mimics its flash counterpart

5) Most browsers may not readily have the latest flash but will always have the latest Javascript engine

How many of us are taking advantage of the various libraries out there (YUI, JQuery, Scriptaculous, Prototype, Dojo, etc)? For those who are, what has been your experience? What difficulties have you encountered while implementing your solutions? Which would you recommend?

Let's talk. Let's drop the "site reviews" and "language A is better than language B" talks. Let's actually start LEARNing something.

Let's discuss.

For me:

I have used all that I have mentioned above, mostly in combination as opposed to independently. I have used them for various animations and eye candy features.

Main difficulty is that, other than YUI, documentation is rare, usually bordering on non-existent which leads you to spend a lot of time trying to decipher and being tempted to dump it altogether. I have found google to be my friend, in terms of examples from fellow developers. Also, trying to implement more than one library (for example, I once tried to implement openrico/prototype and jquery/prototype on the same page and I had so many javascript errors that if the browser could talk, I would have been cursed back to the stone ages) on the same page could prove problematic. Bottomline Patience is key.

I would personally recommend the YUI, main reason being its better documentation and ready examples. In particular, I like its sample layout project which provides you with pluggable page layouts you can use on your various projects. The site even comes with a page builder which, after supplying it with info like number of columns, will build the basic structure that you copy and paste into your web projects.

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7 answers

@mambenanje

I don't believe I have promoted one library over the other. All I am saying is what I prefer. I am a slow learner and so I need as much documentation as I can get, hence my preference for the YUI. Having said that, I have used pretty much all others, via programs that others have written (in other words, copy, paste, plug and play). As you have pretty much said, at the end of the day, you use what you are most comfortable with.

@webmonk

First and foremost, nice redesign of the webmasters of africa website. Are you sure that in other life you weren't a private investigator? Oh well. Yeah, I am not saying we shouldn't review our sites. All I am saying is that it shouldn't be the bulk of our posts. Before joining, I went through at least 30 site review posts and at the end of the day, they all pretty much said the same thing. One would expect us to go back and look at what has been said in the past and learn from them.

As for AJAX and slow response times in Nigeria, I have been a witness to this and it is frustrating. That is why I say that one should code for the lowest common denominator of their locale. Obviously when yahoo and google came up with their AJAX mail, they didn't have my cyber cafe at Ijebu Ode in mind.

@all

How do you provide a link to a word as opposed to a url? For example, how would I do, "<link>webmasters of africa</link> as opposed to www.whateversite.com?

Thanks,

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@webguru

I don't know my2cents but I would certainly love to. I don't work for him either. The links are there and so it doesn't count as spamming. Read my comments above. Visit the link and search for "online resources". You will see them (dojo, etc).

@mambenanje

The libraries might be heavy but look at the bright side - those libraries handle all the cross-browser stuff for you, among other reasons.

@kehers

If you use DW, it adds as much fluff as the libraries. Again, as I have told mambe, the advantages lie with the cool stuff that comes with it. Besides, take the YUI for instance - its codebase comes with 3 flavors: full-blown (heaviest), file with a "-min" extension (smaller size) and file with "-debug" extension for use with the logger. I tend to use the "-min" version because all white space is removed and variable names are obfuscated.

@all

Please keep the conversations rolling. I much prefer this to "site review" posts. I am definitely LEARNing something.

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I've omced or more reviewed all the listed libraries including others like Google's GWT, mooTools and extJs. While it may be well argued that YUI has a good documentation, I think there is more to libraries than that. I will actually rate scriptaculous higher coz of its simplicity, mooTools for effects and then extJs for its capabilites. Some of their drawbacks however include GWT's dependency on external non-web based standards, mooTools for its incomatibility wit prototypeJs and YUI/ExtJs for size.

Liking my things simple, I use prototypeJs (jQuery in rare instance). prototypeJs has a good documentation and everything is kept simple in the one page script. However it is not a whole library on its own like the YUI and co that has effect, autocomplete, etc modules. It is simply a cross browser prototype (as name implies) for javascript programmers to build on - meaning it only helps making your scrtipting easier than doing things from scratch. It's not like Im a coding freak but the my issue with most of these libs are the extra junk of unneeded codes they add up. And for another, I like toying with things my own way so if the challenge is one I can tackle easily, I'd simply get my butt down and do the coding myself (on prototypeJs)

On a last note, ajaxian is a great resource for js prototypes, libraries, scripts and co,

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I work with Actionscript 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0 but I use flash sparingly regarding our bandwidth in Africa and the browsers mostly lacking the flash plugin here in Africa.

I worked with prototype and scriptaculous, way back in 2006 and it was too heavy for my liking,

I later on went with raw javascript ( objects, and XMLHTTPRequest) the bugs could kill me but I was getting smaller file size. With soo much headache I decided to work with Google WEb Toolkit, which got released when I was actively following Google events. I loved the fact that I will code in java and it will do the javascripting for me, very easy with good debuger. So the bugs detecting headache was gone. But when one problem get solved is like another one gets created, GWT was creating too many javascript files which were too heavy for the african audience. So I didnt use it to build any business application, finally I had to swtich to jquery.com which is my favourite, I have used it on www.ubstudents.com www.webyfolio.com, on www.theinvestor.in and also on www.studentnetworks.in

but I use it sparingly on some projects because it ads 22kb just for the framework.

jquery is easy to learn and use if you are good to go with java or C# and I think it doesnt need much documentation.

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well poster,

those libraries are there to help you do your job, and no matter what you use to do the job, if your comfortable with it and your client and users are also comfortable. then I dont see any reason why you should switch. To me jquery is working and its my best, but you can prefer YUI. almost all you can do with YUI I can do with jquery and the file size is not much of a difference. Kehers prefers prototype good, if he did his mobile site with prototype, then he doesnt need any other thing. So to me the best library can never be declared

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@webguru

i wanted to google all of them but as it turns out, they are all here, I just found out: http://webmastersofafrica.com/webmasters-of-africa-resources/ - search for "online resources".

That webmasters site has potential. It's content is rich and with the new design, I bet it will attract more members.

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i've only been to openrico to test the new beta google search on ajax

you didn't provide links

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