A Javascript framework is set of pre-written Javascript functions aimed at simplifying development. They take care of the most common and time-consuming tasks, like AJAX-related techniques. But why should we use them? Well, keep in mind that a Javascript framework:

  • Saves you time. Even if you really love programming in Javascript, you will save a bunch of time doing your work with one these frameworks.
  • Has much of your work already done. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Don’t waste time in doing something it has already been done and tested and re-tested by thousands of users.
  • Makes you use less code. With less code you get a smaller file size, better maintenance and less development time.
  • Makes your code more readable. Which also aids in better maintenance and less development time.
  • Makes your web application execute faster. These frameworks are really fast in performing their tasks and most of them have been optimized for really fast execution.
  • Makes your web application run in most modern browsers. If you dealt with Javascript a bit, you’ll have realized how different browsers have different ways of the doing the same exact stuff. Handcrafted cross-browser development can get annoying and irritating. These frameworks have already taken care of that and will just work in most browsers.

There’s plenty of Javascript frameworks out there. The most popular ones are:

There’s a much better list at wikipedia, if you want to check it out. I didn’t list them here in any particular order, although I would say that I personally like jQuery and ExtJS.

JQuery is the one I’m using right now, and it has become the standard Javascript library for Microsoft’s Visual Studio.  While the jQuery library takes care of the basic Javascript stuff, jQuery UI (an extension for the original jQuery) provides some fancy widgets and controls you can use to improve the look and feel of your web app.

ExtJS looks really nice, and I want to give it a try as soon as I have some free time (scare resource these days). As far as I can tell, seems to have one of the nicest interface a Javascript library can provide.

If you’re still trying to decide which framework to use, there’s a comprehensive overview of the most common ones at Ajaxline. You should carefully read that article, and try some of them to see which ones adapt better to your needs.

Related posts:

  1. JavaScript best practices II
  2. JavaScript best practices I
  3. AJAX call using an ASP.NET web page