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jQuery and other JavaScript libraries

Roel De Nijs
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Joined: Jul 19, 2004
Posts: 5233
    
  12

I have no experience with jQuery, but have some experience with other (free) JS libraries like Scriptaculous, Prototype, DoJo Toolkit,... and a decent knowledge of JavaScript itself.

How would you compare jQuery with these JS libraries?


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David Newton
Author
Rancher

Joined: Sep 29, 2008
Posts: 12617

Scriptaculous is *just* effects and UI stuff, not a "framework" (and it built on Prototype). It'd be analogous to the jQuery UI stuff.

Prototype is the most similar in scope.

Dojo has the same functionality, but is more of a full-fledged "application framework" with a lot more widgets, layout containers, etc.

So you'd have to compare jQuery/jQuery UI with Prototype/Scriptaculous and Dojo, really, although Dojo has more official widgets than the first two.

(Actually, one of my biggest beefs about jQuery isn't about jQuery, but about the overwhelming number of plugins, of *wildly* varying quality and functionality, and the difficulty in finding "best of breed" plugins--I've spent a lot of time doing that, and have considered things like GWT, Dojo, YUI, and commercial offerings because of it.)
Bear Bibeault
Author and ninkuma
Marshal

Joined: Jan 10, 2002
Posts: 61106
    
  66

The ease with which jQuery can be extended is indeed a double-edged sword. It means that there's a rich ecosystem of plugins to choose from -- it also means that anyone and his brother can write plugins with varying degrees of quality. You need to pick and choose carefully.

In many ways, it's a lot like Java 3rd-party libraries. There are many to choose from, and while that's not a bad thing, it means you have to do a little research before diving into choosing one.

I don't think it's a bad thing -- competition is good. If you only have one to choose from, and it sucks, you're stuck with it. I like having a choice, even if it means having to do some due diligence up front.


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Roel De Nijs
Bartender

Joined: Jul 19, 2004
Posts: 5233
    
  12

I agree: having a choice is certainly not a bad thing. I even think it's one of the benefits (strengths) of the open-source world, and if popularity of some technology, framework, library,... grows, the community grows and the number of additions, plugins, ... will grow too (see drupal modules, iphone apps, jQuery plugins,...).

Only a bit disappointed with the limited set of widgets available with jQuery UI.
David Newton
Author
Rancher

Joined: Sep 29, 2008
Posts: 12617

How do you choose between a hundred implementations of a UI plugin? Due diligence is great, but having more options is *not* always a good thing, particularly when each option has to be evaluated, its code examined for quality and extensibility, and so on. There's no way to determine best-of-breed without taking a substantial amount of time, and most of the time, I need to focus on other things.

Do not underestimate the tyranny of choice, it can be just as paralyzing/time-consuming as too few choices.
Hussein Baghdadi
clojure forum advocate
Bartender

Joined: Nov 08, 2003
Posts: 3479

This is why I didn't like Eclipse in the past, hundreds of plugins varying in quality.
Roel De Nijs
Bartender

Joined: Jul 19, 2004
Posts: 5233
    
  12

If you have to choose between 100 implementations, it's almost mission impossible. And you will spend maybe even more time than writing this UI plugin yourself. But I was more referring to a limited set of alternatives. But maybe you can limit these 100 implementations thanks to some popularity (number of downloads) or a rating (4.5 stars is better than just 1), and choose one from top-5.
And of course it could become very annoying if you don't get the time to do such investigation, because you havea tight schedule to meet the deadline .
Gian Franco
blacksmith
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 16, 2003
Posts: 977
Bear Bibeault wrote:
In many ways, it's a lot like Java 3rd-party libraries. There are many to choose from, and while that's not a bad thing, it means you have to do a little research before diving into choosing one.


...would you suggest any authoritative sources to have an
idea of which plug-in are more preferable than others?

Gian


"Eppur si muove!"
Roel De Nijs
Bartender

Joined: Jul 19, 2004
Posts: 5233
    
  12

John Todd wrote:This is why I didn't like Eclipse in the past, hundreds of plugins varying in quality.

I used MyEclipse for a while (2004-2007): eclipse + a set of plugins, great support and very little price (50 dollars I believe for the professional version). You had the benefit of using eclipse with a set of nice (good quality) plugins (without having to do all the research), but you got the freedom of adding another plugin if you were not completely satisfied with the one presented (if any). But now just using the Eclipse package that's best suited to do the job
Gian Franco
blacksmith
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 16, 2003
Posts: 977
Roel De Nijs wrote:And of course it could become very annoying if you don't get the time to do such investigation, because you havea tight schedule to meet the deadline .


...I agree, you would be gaining time from one side, because
jQuery promotes clean coding, but losing time on the other
Bear Bibeault
Author and ninkuma
Marshal

Joined: Jan 10, 2002
Posts: 61106
    
  66

The list of plugins on the jQuery site has a rating system. I've found it spotty, but at least it gives you some indication of what other people think of a plugin.

There are also quite a few very popular plugins that you can certainly rely upon: Forms, validation, easing and so on.

It's when you pluck some random plugin from Joe Unknown's blog that you really need to be a bit circumspect.
 
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