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.