MonthMarch 2006

cssQuery

cssQuery is a javascript library that provides an easy way to access DOM elements, without the need for focusing too much on transversing the document’s elements. More developers are more adept in CSS than in Javascript, making this a useful tool for those fairly proficient in CSS. cssQuery may be considered similar to jQuery and Behaviour, which somehow change the way we approach browser scripting.

Using cssQuery, you can now use common CSS selectors like body > p instead of getElementsById() or getElementsByTagName(). The downside would be the library’s size, though that is slowly becoming less of a consideration as broadband rapidly becomes widespread.

Zeldman uses WordPress

Zeldman: Why WordPress?

After almost eleven years of hand–coding his used–to–be–daily thoughts on web design and standards, Jeffrey Zeldman finally succumbs to using a content management system for his weblog, “the daily report.” WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg proudly writes on his weblog about this milestone, a significant one for the blogging platform.

The famous designer was quick to state that choosing WordPress was not based philosophical/political or technical merit, but rather simply says: “I use WordPress because I like it and it works for me.”

Ten javascript functions

Last November, Dustin Diaz listed his personal ten best custom javascript functions for use in web development. Expectedly, the well–used toggle() is there, along getElementByClass() and the notable triplets getCookie(), setCookie(), deleteCookie(). Most of these functions are quite small and straightforward, except for cssQuery, and they surely deserve a place in everyone’s “scripts.js” or “common.js”.

After being dugg and making it to the frontpage, he looks back at his now famous weblog entry, and additionally lists alternative ways of writing toggle(), just for fun!

jQuery

I just came across jQuery, dubbed as “New Wave Javascript.” Going through their documentation and tutuorials, it appears that jQuery attempts to change the way people write javascript, an abstraction layer of sorts. This can be helpful for rapid development, enabling various client–side scripting capabilities with just a few lines of code. Unfortunately, I think the effort made in learning jQuery can be devoted to learning Javascript, a skill you’re supposed to learn anyway if you’re into web development. But then again, learning a new library for your scripting arsenal will increase your stock.

A few good libraries

AJAX libraries.

I’ve been looking at several AJAX libraries these past few days for use with iPAP and several other planned projects. Going through AJAX Matters’s list leads us to many projects and options, and finding the right one for a specific need can be a cumbersome task. I’m providing some insights for the ones I find good enough.

  1. XAJAX is PHP–based and generates the Javascript programatically. You need to designate the action executed like replacing or appending content, but there is minimal need for tinkering with Javascript at all. Unfortunately, modifying or altering the generated client–side code is not as straightforward as other libraries. Another plus is that the PHP functions and custom functions you need can be in the same page you’re displaying to the user, so all you need to do is include() the xajax class file. XAJAX is good for PHP developers seeking to add some AJAX functionality to their applications, but those with a healthier Javascript/DOM acumen would find the next two libraries friendlier.
  2. advAJAX recently made the digg frontpage and proves to be simple yet easy to customise. If you’re comfortable coding Javascript, you can mix and match advAJAX with other presentational libraries and you’d have your very own toolset for your application.
  3. SACK is last on this list, but definitely not on functionality. In fact, it is good enough that an earlier version is used in WordPress 2.0 for all its AJAXy goodness. Just like advAJAX, you can customize your Javascript to perfection. The difference is in the syntax for setting parameters and calling functions, and boils down to personal preference.

To summarize my observations, XAJAX is best for those familiar with PHP who’d rather not deal with too much Javascript. advAJAX and SACK are better options for Javascript hackers who need the customization possibilities.

Javascript in Ten Minutes

Javascript in Ten Minutes

Every web 2.0 developer understands how AJAX and other interactive methods work. Unfortunately, many of us have learned this through toolkits or code libraries that are mostly “plug and play” by nature, failing to impart the basic lessons in client side scripting. “Javascript in Ten Minutes” should help you learn the topic allowing you to fully understand and enhance the scripting libraries you currently use.

moo.fx

If you’re looking for an easy to use effects library for your web application, moo.fx could be what you’re looking for.

moo.fx is a superlightweight, ultratiny, megasmall javascript effects library, written with prototype.js.

It’s easy to use, fast, cross-browser, standards compliant, provides controls to modify Height, Width, and Opacity with builtin checks that won’t let a user break the effect with multiple crazy clicks. It’s also optimized to make you write the lesser code possible.

Using this library is a simple task, and can take your web application interaction to higher levels.

AJAX Classes

AJAX is one of the primary ingredients for almost all Web 2.0 applications. This allows better interaction and feedback between the application and the user, allowing for an enhanced usability and user experience.

These AJAX PHP classes over at PHP Classes will surely help in providing the functionality for your web applications.

Welcome to Builder2!

Builder is a new weblog I will be writing on, with a focus on web technologies relevant to the “web 2.0” developer. This will be a news aggregator of sorts, as well as a repository for relevant reading and thinking. If you’re into AJAX, CSS, RoR, PHP, and all the other acronyms and buzzwords, you just might find this weblog useful. Be sure to be back!

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