Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The Yahoo! User Interface Library Updated.

Yahoo has released an update to their excellent javascript library with several new components and a lot of bug fixes. The YUI Library covers the gamut of javascript from ajax support to widgets like calendars and datagrids. My usual tool of choice is jQuery, the leanest, fastest javascript library but when I need a deep feature set I look to Yahoo's kit.

The Calendar component is the one I've used the most often but I'm looking forward to checking out the new RTE. This is one of the few that works in Safari plus it has a slicker UI for things like image details. Many RTEs use pop-ups for those kind of features but this one uses more in-context panels. Other new features include a Color Picker Control, an ImageLoader Utility and a javascript unit-testing framework.

There were also advances on their CSS foundation. This is something I think is unique to the YUI Library, it's a set of css files that reset all the browsers down to very similar rendering of all elements so you can build everything out the same. There is also a grid css to act as a starting point for best-practice css layouts. I've been experimenting with those but haven't used the on a real project yet. It's a different way of looking at layouts for me so I haven't mastered it enough to use it for our more marketing or design oriented work.

I think the YUI is really well suited to app style development over something like jQuery or Prototype that I would use for adding a few features to a site. One area I can really see a great fit is with Adobe AIR, since you can build full apps in Javascript. Adobe's own javascript toolkit, Spry, isn't bad either and also has some component support which is also directly supported by Dreamweaver. But I see the YUI toolkit as more advanced and even better supported by Aptana for development.


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