Using jQuery and jQuery UI to Enhance Web Apps

As I work more and more often with Web apps (applications), rather than Windows-specific applications, I have become aware of the tremendous amount of developer support that’s available for anyone on any platform when creating this application type. It’s possible for someone who works predominantly on the Mac to write code that works just fine for someone who works most of the time on a Windows system. In fact, the entire idea of platform becomes meaningless when working with Web apps. jQuery and jQuery UI are a huge part of the third party support available to anyone writing Web apps. In fact, it’s hard to find Web apps of any size that don’t rely on these two libraries (many examples of smaller applications do exist).

Third party libraries are an exciting part of working with Web apps because they make it possible to create apps that look similar (possibly precisely the same) on a number of platforms without the work usually required to pull this feat off. jQuery and jQuery UI are used quite often in this capacity. In fact, they’re used often enough that I wrote an article about them entitled, “Using jQuery UI to Your Advantage.” Instructions and examples on using these libraries also appear in HTML5 Programming with JavaScript For Dummies. I like these libraries so much that customization instructions for them will appear in an upcoming book, CSS3 for Dummies (work on this book will begin in May—be sure to keep your eyes peeled for further details).

Of course, you might wonder why jQuery and jQuery UI are so successful. My experience is that these libraries are incredibly well written, work with a wide variety of browsers, are well supported, and provide great documentation. Most importantly, the two libraries provide developers with needed functionality and flexibility. It’s possible to create a unique application using just these libraries with well-documented tweaks and event handlers. In short, these two libraries have everything needed to create a successful library—one that everyone will enjoy using.

There are many other libraries available to Web developers and I plan to explore many more of them as time permits. I find it interesting that even if I were to devote myself entirely to working through all of the available libraries, there probably wouldn’t be time to explore them all. That’s why I’d like to know about your favorite library and why you find this particular library so useful. I’m not interested in hearing about something mundane—the library needs to do something special, such as providing functionality not found in other libraries currently available. I’m looking for libraries that are well documented and are used by a wide variety of developers to create great looking Web apps. Let me know about the library of your dreams at John@JohnMuellerBooks.com.