Monday, November 12, 2007

Which Javascript library ?

Update: Simon Willison's Javascript library slides, which where embedded at this place, are not accessible any more, so I took out the embedded slide show.

If it is just about pepping up a webpage with some AJAX and some flash-imitating eye-candy, any of the popular Javascript will serve similarly well. But when it comes to full fledged web applications, the dojo toolkit is leading the pack. Vance Dubberly shares the same vision and today he has provided a detailed answer on the dojo mailing list, why he is choosing dojo:
Because it's an application development framework. Most of the
javascript libraries out there serve some special purpose, Ext is a
gui toolkit, Prototype is a util library, and everything else is
pretty much the same. Dojo holds a special place in the community in
that it provides a unified framework for developing applications in
javascript. What I mean by this is that it provides everything from
simple utility classes to full implementations of design patterns.
Dojo helps me organize my application layout, debug it's output, and
prepare it for distribution.

Drawbacks? The most glaring one is the horrible documentation. It's
gotten a lot better but it's still neither consistent, clear, nor
complete. The documenters are working mostly API style docs. The dojo
book reads like a brick wall. The project is badly in need of some
"Here is how to accomplish (X) style docs" Despite this the pay off is
high for those who invest the time and suffer through the exponetial
increase in 4 letter words coming from between their lips.

The widgets are a nice bonus but I gotta tell you I used it before .9
and wouldn't touch the widget system because it was heavy, slow, and
well, annoying. ( no longer an issue ) It has much to offer beyond
widgets. Take a look through the dojox directory ...

Large file sizes aren't really an issue anymore, and what's better is
that you can if you choose, optimize your builds to include only what
you want in the dojo.js file.

Oh and one last thing, a thing which I think is often overlooked. The
Dojo foundation isn't simply building a javascript library. They spur
and drive innovation in the community often developing or incubating
break through technology. This kind of behavior deserves to be

1 comment:

rolphin said...

I don't find that using some special attributes in any html tags is a nice feature. This exactly why I didn't choose this framework in favour to Jquery which is completely unobtrusive...

But, I know that's not your point, but for me every framework needs to be mastered before being heavily used and the way dojo works makes it difficult...