JavaScript Page Enhancements

Javascript can be a great way to add interactivity and interest to a page. These days it’s not common for people to write JavaScript entirely on their own. Sever libraries have emerged that handle a lot of the code with you. You can write your own code on top of these libraries and also find code on the internet that other people have written.

Here are some of the more popular libraries:

Name URL
jQuery http://jquery.com/
Prototype http://www.prototypejs.org/
mooTools http://mootools.net/
Dojo http://dojotoolkit.org/
ext JS http://extjs.com/

A more comprehensive list of libraries is found here: http://javascriptlibraries.com/

Because all of these libraries can do so much it doesn’t usually make sense to add more than one to your site. Also each library adds more code to download for your user, which is another reason to stick to one. There are a number of factors to take into consideration when choosing a library, size, ease of use and other developers are probably the big three. You want the size to be relatively small, you want it to be easy to use and you want other people using it so you will be able to find tutorials and extensions that people have written to make your job easier. The library that is leading the pack right now is jQuery. Here are some examples of adding functionality to your pages using one of the libraries.

Name What it does Libraries Required URL View Tutorial
Lightbox2 Pops up a gallery of images over the current page. Prototype and Scriptaculous Lightbox 2
prettyPhoto Pops up a gallery of images over the current page. You can also add content like YouTube and Vimeo videos and Flash movies. jQuery prettyPhoto view
accordion effect Show and hide whole divs with an interface that looks like an accordion. There are thousands of tutorials on this for al of the libraries. This is just one. jQuery Accordion

And some more resources:

http://jqueryfordesigners.com/

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