[Baypiggies] What's a web developer?

K. Richard Pixley rich at noir.com
Mon Nov 2 20:35:40 CET 2009

Rami Chowdhury wrote:
> Did you have a look at YUI, Scriptaculous, or Moo.fx? I'd be 
> interested to hear your thoughts...
I did.

Note that the object/classing model in javascript is sorely lacking and 
nearly all frameworks offer some level of object and inheritance 
abstraction.  This is typically leveraged as the mechanism behind their 
widget classes, (which is what leads reading about them to seem so 
reminiscent of Xtk and Xw which created object abstractions in C for X11 
and then a set of widgets which used that object abstraction.)

Scriptaculous isn't really a framework so much as it is an addition to 
Prototype for doing certain kinds of animations.  In the same way that 
many of the frameworks support or supplant Prototype, they also support 
or supplant the functionality from scriptaculous.  It's not really a 
framework alternative.

Mootools has a small, zealous community of support and many add on 
pieces.  However, the sum of those pieces is a complex, set of widgets 
without much in the way of coherence or overall design.  They lack many 
of the abilities of most of the other frameworks.  And they are fairly 
well known for being less efficient, ie, slower and more space costly 
than other frameworks.  The sole claim to fame of the moo folks is a 
superior model for object abstraction and even that seems to be arguable.

YUI seems to be a very strong base framework, with very little in the 
way of evolved widgets.  If they exist, they are not part of the 
standard package nor easy to find.  As I was looking for existing 
widgets, YUI did not seem to be the right choice for me in my recent 

Depending on what you want to do, you probably want a "framework" which 
replaces the javascript object model, simplifies much of the DOM model, 
and perhaps abstracts at least one AJAX model and perhaps several.  You 
may also want a set of pre-built widgets for constructing your own 
interfaces and perhaps your own widgets.  If you intend to create all of 
your own widgets, then any of the libraries already mentioned, (except 
scriptaculous), will do.

Prototype has no widgets to speak of, nor does scriptaculous.

YUI looks to me like an excellent base for creating your own widgets, 
but a weak base for using already developed widgets.

Moo has a debatable object abstraction paradigm and a moderate library 
of widgets, although with little or no overall design to the widget 
collection.  Essentially, the widget library has evolved organically 
from the free software community around it without much structure.

Dojo seems similar in this regard, only with a much better attempt to 
catalog and simplify the official widget set.  Dojo also has a pretty 
rich widget set which rivals jquery and ext-js.

Jquery and ext-js both have rich widget sets, good documentation, and 
good demos available.  Ext-js seems to me to have the superior grid widget.

My research wasn't exhaustive so I'm sure I've missed gaping pieces of 
each of these systems and communities.  Personally, I was specifically 
looking for an all-in-one framework with a good degree of consistency, a 
strong grid widget, at least a modest but well integrated widget set, 
with easily accessible demos, good documentation, and an open source 
license so that's my bias.  For a different project, I may well have 
selected a different framework.


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