An Event Apart: Integrating JavaScript Effectively

by December 9, 2009

At An Event Apart San Francisco, Jonathan Snook discussed Integrating JavaScript Effectively and demonstrated several examples of developing rich interactions for the Web

  • HTML gave us links, inputs, and content markup. Not rich interactions.
  • CSS gave us limited functionality through focus, hover, and active states. Now more things are being integrated through transitions and animations.
  • But Javascript provides everything else: enhanced user experiences by improving perceived application speed and rich interactions.
  • In order to build on a solid foundation, start with HTML first. You need a usable based of links and form elements. Implement your accessibility requirements before integrating Javascript.
  • What kind of HTML should you use? It doesn’t really matter but you can code HTML5 like HTML 4.01. HTML5 has better (more simple) doctype, script, and style elements.
  • Should you create your own Javascript? It depends on what the interaction needs to be and how much of it there will be. 5 lines of code vs. a 38k library file.
  • JQuery (a Javascript library) makes your life easier by solving cross-browser issues, simplifying how you work with the DOM, providing built-in animations, plug-in repositories, and the ability to roll your own.
  • Full libraries for user interfaces: JQuery UI, JQuery Tools, YUI, ExtJS, and Dojo.
  • Don’t apply styles at the Javascriot level, do it at the CSS level.
  • People that are building plug-ins for JQuery care about the underlying HTML and the interactions. So the details are often thought through.