Austin jQuery Development

What is jQuery?

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jQuery is a fast and concise JavaScript Library that simplifies HTML document traversing, event handling, animating, and Ajax interactions for rapid web development. jQuery is designed to change the way that you write JavaScript. Beginning jQuery design may seem daunting at first, but understanding what jQuery is and what it can do will make it less confusing for new coders.

Looking at code can give a headache to almost anyone who is new to web design and coding. However, new coding languages pop up every day, making it much easier to develop web effects in less time and with fewer code lines. In essence this is what jQuery does, but what is it exactly?

jQuery is nothing more than a coding language derived from JavaScript. In fact, jQuery works just like JavaScript, as it adds more interaction and effects within the jQuery development code. However, jQuery is a free library that anyone can use to simplify the process of creating web applications. jQuery debuted in 2006, and it is quickly catching on with coders and web developers to help make the internet more interactive and enjoyable for all users.

Why use jQuery?

If jQuery is just another JavaScript library, then why not just use JavaScript? The reason for this is simple: jQuery accomplishes web effects using far less code than JavaScript. Even JavaScript developers code websites using the far simpler jQuery language, and the result is simple yet powerful in its execution.

jQuery is useful for creating interactive web effects including:

  • Drag and drop elements – Create web pages with elements that are repositioned by dragging and dropping.
  • Drop down menus – Easily create multi-level dropdown menus with fancy animations.
  • Form validation – Build advanced client-side form validations and auto-complete Ajax text fields.
  • Animations – Add effects to elements such as expand/contract, fade in/out and slide in/out.
  • Image slideshows – Build eye-catching animated lightboxes and slideshows with ease.
  • XML requests – Request additional data from the server without reloading the page.

In addition, JavaScript developers can combine other coding languages such as PHP, CGI and ASP to achieve highly advanced web pages. Because jQuery is a fairly new coding language, it is still under development but continuing to evolve into a powerful component in the JavaScript developer’s arsenal.

Using jQuery is best when the coder needs more power and control over the Document Object Model. In addition, jQuery decreases the amount of work that the coder needs to input on the page. It gives coders quicker access to Ajax, which stands for Asynchronous JavaScript and XML, and jQuery even includes basic animation effects from the start.

Furthermore, professional companies such as ESPN, Twitter and Microsoft use jQuery on their websites. This coding language is quickly becoming the most popular JavaScript library to use on the net, and it has support for every major web browser.

How does jQuery work?

Since jQuery is written in JavaScript, it is available in the form of a .js file that the developer links to from the web page. Afterward, the JavaScript code accesses the library by calling specific jQuery functions.

The jQuery library is available in two forms:

  1. The uncompressed .js file, which is easy to read, use and modify. However, it is between 150kb and 160kb in size.
  2. The minified .js file is much smaller, because it removes all of the unnecessary comments, characters and whitespace. This form is best for websites that require speed and quick access for its visitors; however, the code is harder to read.

In order to use the jQuery script, it needs to be located on the website in a document library. When a specific functionality is required, the developer can embed the call to the jQuery library, which implements that function automatically. Moreover, developers can achieve simple animations using jQuery with very little code. This is an example of show() and hide() effects using jQuery:

$(document).ready(function(){

$("a").toggle(function(){

$(".stuff").hide('slow');

},function(){

$(".stuff").show('fast');

});

});

To the beginner, this code may seem confusing; however, tutorials are available that explain the coding in great detail and guide the beginning developer in creating his or her own applications in no time.

The jQuery script was created to simplify things for the developer, and it creates more space by hiding elements when not in use. An example of this is the FAQ page on a website. Developers can create a FAQ on a single page by hiding the answers until the user clicks on the question. The ability to hide certain elements creates a clean and organized web page.

Some benefits of using jQuery for web design and web application development include:

  • Small file size
  • Works with other coding languages such as CSS
  • Works with popular internet browsers such as Firefox, Chrome and Safari
  • Supports events and other utilities
  • Combines with Prototype and works with Ajax
  • Free to download and use

jQuery development continues to expand daily, and developers have taken the coding to create beautiful web applications such as gallery viewers, magnifiers, color pickers, date pickers, calendars and more. Moreover, jQuery works with HTML5, so learning the jQuery language is beneficial as the net moves into the next phase of HTML coding. A web developer with a solid understanding of JavaScript can pick up jQuery with ease.

What is jQuery UI?

Thankfully, the same people who introduced jQuery offer a functional widget and interaction library conveniently built on top of the jQuery JavaScript library. This library is called the jQuery UI, and it helps developers build interactive web applications quickly and easily.

jQuery UI works with a variety of popular browsers including Firefox 3+, Safari 3.1+, Opera 9.6 and Chrome. It gives the developer a strategic advantage over jQuery because of its flexibility, comprehensive documentation and ease of use. jQuery UI features low-level effects such as fade, show, color animation and hide.

In addition, it features interaction APIs that handle complex behaviors such as drag and drop, resize, select and sort. jQuery UI also provides full-featured UI controls such as accordion, auto-complete, button, datepicker, dialog, progressbar, slider and tabs. In essence, jQuery UI contains a set of core interaction plugins all in one user-friendly design.

For web applications, jQuery UI provides a powerful theme network that lets developers create custom styles for their applications quickly and easily. With ThemeRoller, developers can design custom jQuery UI themes that integrate into their projects. Furthermore, developers can tweak the settings, build a custom theme in real-time and download it whenever they want.

Plugin developers can also take advantage of jQuery UI because of its custom CSS framework. Developers can use the framework to work with jQuery UI components as well as their own custom UI widget and application development. The benefits of using jQuery for web design and web application development are numerous, and newcomers to jQuery have access to valuable resources that help them build interactive widgets and applications in less time.

Summary

With jQuery design, developers can use a powerful coding language that simplifies the process of creating interactive web applications and animations. Beginner and advanced developers can appreciate the fewer lines of code needed to write powerful apps using JavaScript. In addition, jQuery is useful for image effects, DOM manipulation and user-interface elements. With jQuery, developers can write code that works across multiple browsers, giving the user a more interactive experience while surfing the web or using specific applications.