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jQuery Gaining Traction With 1.2 and jQuery UI

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jQuery is quickly becoming the Ajax library of choice for many. Its API is deceptively simple, it is consistent across browsers, well documented, it supports many features developers have come to expect of a library, it has a compelling plugin architecture making jQuery extensible in a future-proof manner, and it has an active development cycle and community.

That last point was really highlighted today when they announced the jQuery 1.2 release less than 3 weeks after its predecessor 1.1.4. The team has been quite visible in their development and many of the features described in the jQuery 1.2 roadmap made it into the target release. The new features include:

  • Partial Load - "Partial .load() allows you to load chunks of HTML documents into your page, filtered by a jQuery selector. This works just like a normal Ajax .load(), but you just specify a selector immediately following the URL that you're retrieving."
  • Remote Scripts - "You can now use getScript to dynamically load, and execute, remote scripts. This could be used to load in jQuery plugins or other code modules."
  • Disable Caching - "In an $.ajax call you can now prevent requests from being cached by the browser by providing an extra cache: false flag. This will ensure that any GET requests that you might be performing will absolutely be retrieving the latest version of the page."
  • Percentage based animations - "Animations can now be done using em values or percentages as well as pixel values. They can even be mixed within the same animate() call."
  • Color Animations - "A new official jQuery plugin that supports animating CSS colors of elements by using the new jQuery.fx.step. Supported CSS properties include: 'backgroundColor', 'borderBottomColor', 'borderLeftColor', 'borderRightColor', 'borderTopColor', 'color', 'outlineColor'."
  • Offset - " _fcksavedurl="">Offset - "Brought over from the Dimensions plugin, the .offset() method allows you to find the offset of the element (as 'top' and 'left') from the top-left corner of the document."

True to their goal of keeping the library concise (the new version weighs in at an impressive 14kb minified and gzip'ed), some functionality has been removed in this release.  For this release, they have provided an Upgrade Path that includes a compatibility plugin (leveraging their own plugin architecture) for the removed bits.

Another big announcement was a preview of jQuery User Interface:

This Sunday, September 16th, the brand new jQuery UI is coming to your town. Draggables, droppables, resizables, shadows, sliders, sortables, tabs, accordions, selectables, trees, and modals. All completely documented, demoed, themed, and 100% Free Open Source Software.
jQuery 1.2 release has many new features as well as support for removed features.  This shows a level of dedication to the users that will be appreciated by those that use jQuery and attractive to those that do not.

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