Web User Interfaces – YUI, DIJIT, JQuery, Ext JS, Scriptaculous

The web technologies have caught up to what my actual skills are – application development.  I’ve loved the web – but up until now it much more of a graphic designer’s world.  Today with Web 2.0 and the tools to create true interactive web applications, I can concentrate more on my true skills – database  driven – interactive applications.

Now for the hard part though – finding the right tools to do the job.  The last couple of weeks I have started to look into many of the tools available – mostly in terms of creating nicely refined user interfaces and forms.  I started out looking at YUI – which then moved onto Dijit.  This led to Scriptaculous and then JQuery and currently Ext JS.

The problem is – I like various aspects of all of these.  As far as UI though, I think YUI is the weakest (it completely redefines what a checkbox is, which I do NOT  understand), but I do like their underlying AJAX/and javascript framework.  I started heavily looking into Dijit, which has a lot of cool easy to use frame effects – although I don’t necessarily like the skinning and some functionality is odd.  For instance, I can have a “Tooltip” on a TextBox, but not on a DateTextBox or a TextArea.  This led me to JQuery which I really like in terms of  the look of it’s  various components – such as the pop-up date and the modal panel.  However, it doesn’t contain any skinning for form elements such as TextBox or checkBoxes .  I’ve tried combining it with Dijit with no success. Finally I have looked at Ext JS – which unlike the others – is NOT free.  It has a lot of cool components though.  I could experiment with the free download for now and see if I want to spend the $329 for the final product or not.

I looked at Scriptaculuos, but I wasn’t that impressed with it.  I’ll look deeper into it, but I was far more impressed with the JQuery and Ext JS.  However, The more tool kits I have under my belt the better off I will be anyway.

As I mentioned, it would be nice to combine the various frameworks and pick and choose what I want to use.  As it stands, it would probably be YUI for the Javascritpt/AJAX framework, Dijit for form elements and JQuery or Ext JS for components such as pop-up calendars, tab controls, modal panels, etc.

We’ll see where I end up.  If anyone else has any suggestions, or experiences with any of these tools or others, let me know.

Posted in Computers/Programming, Javascript, Web Development, Web Frameworks.
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