Well ladies and gents, it is finally here! Mark June 9th, 2008 as the day the web got better, jQuery’s long awaited release of it’s UI library update is here. Flushed with many bug fixes, a bunch of really good examples, many new features and a theme builder.
When jQuery UI first came out it was huge, but with as huge as it was the list of issues with it were also pretty big. The months since it’s initial release the UI developers have been working tirelessly to squash these bugs and add better cross browser support for IE 6.0+, FF 2+, Safari 3.1+, Opera 9.0+.
The problem I have had in the past is envisioning just what a library can do and now with the new release you can see some really good examples of what jQuery UI can do. You need the initial structure to build an image cropper? How about an image manager with drag and drop capabilities? You like the Apple slider gallery and you want it for yourself? All these and more are now available for your consumption.
At the same time they were able to merge in the jQuery Enchant library which was a library to compete with Scriptaculous. Scriptaculous has always provided great effects to Prototype users; something jQuery was lacking and consistently was one of the issues brought up about jQuery. With having Enchant merged into jQuery UI the proverbial playing field is now level.
But since jQuery is not one to sit on its hands, they took it a bit further – with the help of Filament Group in Boston – and developed a theme builder. If you are like me this is huge; trying to got thru the code to make changes to a component to get it to look like the design I am working on can be a pain. With the theme build you simple select the colors and style you want, click the “Download This Theme” link and you are on your way.
All in all the jQuery UI team have been very very busy and have really done a great job with this release. I want to send out a personal thank you to the jQuery and jQuery UI developments teams for the hard work they put in to the jQuery and jQuery UI libraries. I also want to put a thank you out there for the Filament Group in Boston and LIFERAY for their support and contributions to the jQuery community. It is really great that they stepped up and helped make something good great!
Full release notes can be found at the jQuery blog.