[Catalyst] Which JS framework to use?

Peter Edwards peter at dragonstaff.co.uk
Sun Mar 13 10:01:01 GMT 2011

On 13 March 2011 08:15, Alex Povolotsky <tarkhil at over.ru> wrote:

> I'm QUITE new to JS, and tried my best to evade it, but now I have to face
> that thing.
> First of all, I'd need autocompletion and form extension ("Add one more
> field" button, to clone selectbox+text fields)
> I understand that it can be done using ANY nowadays framework, but I'd al=
> like to easily integrate cloning into HTML::FormFu or maybe
> HTML::FormHandler.
Good comparison here:

JQuery is the most popular and the easiest to get started with to add a few
features to your app like the ones you mention above. I wrote a small
statistical reporting app with JQuery a year or two back and it was really
easy to generate combo boxes, date/time selectors and present reports with
stacked bar charts, pie charts etc. with interactive display filters.
However, I've noticed that JS code using it can become unstructured and
hacky if the developers are not sufficiently careful and you can get a mix
of widgets and effects that don't give a uniform UX. Try digging through the
vast number of add-ins and extensions to find the best one to use and you'll
see what I mean. It's a bit like CPAN :-D.  That said, the BBC now uses
JQuery for public facing websites as a successor to its Glow library.

Kits like Dojo and Mootools encourage a more architectural design and for my
$day_job at BBC WS we're using Dojo for a large internal-facing RIA and it's
pretty good.
I used to use ExtJS for form handling, which was great, and this Catalyst
article I wrote http://www.catalystframework.org/calendar/2007/1 dates from
then. But after I wrote and shipped several commercial systems on it they
changed the licence and I had to stop using it. This behaviour is why ExtJS
tailed off as I (and many others) moved to JQuery and is why JQuery has so
many more widgets.

If you have a Java background there's a couple more to consider: Google's
http://code.google.com/closure/ library and tool chain. And if a non-free
licence isn't such a worry you could look at
http://www.sencha.com/products/extgwt/ which is Google GWT + ExtJS with a
commercial design tool available.

Regards, Peter
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