Ext JS – Client-Side, JavaScript Framework to Build Rich Web Apps

For a rich user interface web application we are developing, I happened to check out the latest happenings in the JavaScript/DOM/UI/AJAX based web development. I found the following libraries very useful. Ext JS is the most useful for developing a better User Interface, which I would use for this specific project.

In 2001, one of the client (a famous Apparel company in New Jersey) wanted to develop an Excel-like web based application for their style planning application. At that time, JavaScript libraries were not developed as much we wanted to use it for. But today I feel confident about developing such a great application in short time.

The following are the libraries I considered, and I find the first one, Ext JS, the most useful for developing a better User Interface.

Ext JS is a client-side, JavaScript framework for building web applications. You can build rich web applications that work across all major web browsers including Internet Explorer 6+, FireFox 1.5+ (PC, Mac), Safari 2+ and Opera 9+ (PC, Mac). The Ext components provides rich client functionality with web applications. It provides fast rich gui elements like grid, tree, layout, windows, tabs, combobox, forms, toolbars, menus, etc.. With these elements, developers can build multi-pane web applications without any headache. See examples.

As a client-side framework, Ext can run against any server platform that can process POST requests and return structured data. Common choices include PHP, Java, .NET and many more. There are server-side frameworks available for most popular platforms that will make your life much easier when programming under the AJAX application model that Ext uses. Ext has an open source LGPL license along with a per-developer, royalty-free commercial license.

The following are the other famous JavaScript libraries I would use for simpler user interface designs and funcitonality.

The Yahoo! User Interface (YUI) Library is a set of utilities and controls, written in JavaScript, for building richly interactive web applications using techniques such as DOM scripting, DHTML and AJAX. The YUI Library also includes several core CSS resources. All components in the YUI Library have been released as open source, free for all uses.

jQuery is a fast, concise, JavaScript Library that simplifies how you traverse HTML documents, handle events, perform animations, and add Ajax interactions to your web pages.

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Prototype is a JavaScript Framework that aims to ease development of dynamic web applications. Featuring a unique, easy-to-use toolkit for class-driven development and the nicest Ajax library around, Prototype is quickly becoming the codebase of choice for web application developers everywhere.

script.aculo.us provides you with easy-to-use, cross-browser user interface JavaScript libraries to make your web sites and web applications fly. It provides animation framework, drag and drop, Ajax controls DOM utilities, and unit testing. It’s an add-on to the Prototype framework.

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