This morning, jQuery has released v1.7 of the jQuery UI Library. From what I have been told, this release has fixed quite literally hundreds of bugs from the last release. But, it's not just about bug fixes - this release also has a much better architecture and better theming. The architecture is not really something you can see (it affects performance and ease of use / integration); but, the theming is really something wild! If you have not played around with it yet, check out any of the UI demos - the theming allows you to instantly re-skin an entire set of UI components. It's pretty amazing stuff.
The jQuery UI Library is definitely something that I am going to be looking at as far as production-grade widgets for our online software products. I love jQuery and I expect the same top quality engineering and ease of use from the UI that the rest of the library provides. They totally revamped all of the demos and documentation on the UI site and I'm getting totally jazzed up just looking at them.
If you are interested, read more on the jQuery blog!
I guess between Flex and EXT I'm just spoiled, but even this latest version of jQuery UI looks terribly primitive compared to those other libraries. jQuery rocks for DOM manipulation. For UI components...not so much.
Of course, it's free! Though even a commercial license for EXT is only $289, which is a steal compared to the work you'd have to do to get jQuery UI up to that level.
I will say the theme support is a good step, and overall this looks much better than the previous versions, but it still has a long way to go too.
Ext looks pretty awesome. Call me crazy, but sometimes I think it looks too much like desktop widgets. I know that is going to sound odd.
But, I am looking for a good, extendable widget library that I can expand on for our own software. Do you use EXT for your stuff?
Thanks for the heads up. I too am currently working on widgety stuff, so I'm curious what your goals are. Is the "good, extendable widget library" you're looking for just the generic UI widgets, or more custom application widgets (or maybe a combo?)?
The widget I'm currently working on is one that would allow other sites to quickly "add this widget" to their site. I could do a lot w/jQuery AJAX to this end, but I don't want to require much integration at all for the end user, and if they're already using a different version of jQuery, then we have problems. Have you thought about this use case much?
I may just have to go with an iframe or fancy CSS/div to pull a URL from the main site. It seems the possibilities are endless! I'm just looking for the cleanest one :)
When I talk about extendable widgets, I mean that I want to be able to easily change them. One thing that I really don't want is to pick a library and then be locked into how it looks and feels.
I am not sure what exactly that entails, but bottom line, I never want to have to limit my vision to fit into what "my library" can do.
@Brian Kotek If you're looking to build desktop apps using a predefined look and field, then Ext is a great choice. The layout manager in Ext is amazing and let's you immediately build a windows-like app in a short amount of time.
If you're looking at building a customized web app that is not tied to a layout manager and want highly themeable controls, stellar effects, & easy integration into existing HTML-based apps without being tied to a specific way of doing things, jQuery UI is the better choice.
So you know, I worked for Ext and know where it is best positioned. My comments definitely are not a knock at Ext in any way. The two libs don't compete because Ext is explicitly positioned at building desktop-like apps and all of their controls are tightly coupled explicitly for that purpose. You rarely see Ext used for general purpose websites because it's not designed for that. It's meant to compete with Flex, Flash, SilverLight, BackBase and the such.
So I don't see that jQuery UI has a long way to go. It's just positioned differently than what you're looking for and doesn't compete with Ext.
I have a very unique perspective on both having worked for Ext and being a member of the jQuery project team.
@Rey - being a CF afficionado and reading your explanation on the differences between Ext and jQuery, I find it weird then that CF8's AJAX capabilities were tied into Ext 1.0 and not into jQuery. CF is a real RIA app server for the Web - in my opinion wouldn't it then have been better to tie into jQuery or Mojo or any other JS-framework and NOT Ext?