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John Resig Speaks on Future Directions for jQuery and Javascript

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jQuery creator and Mozilla Javascript Evangelist John Resig recently posted a video presentation outlining future release plans for the jQuery project and highlighting some exciting new Javascript features that will be coming soon to browsers. Here are some of the highlights of his presentation:

jQuery Core

jQuery 1.2.4 is scheduled for release in mid-May. It will include the Dimensions plugin as part of jQuery Core. This popular plugin provides cross-browser compatible methods of dealing with the dimensions of page elements. jQuery 1.2.4 will also include speed optimizations for event handling methods. John Resig reports that drag-and-drop operations are now 3x faster in the new version. jQuery 1.3 is the next planned for this summer and will include speed improvements to the Selector Engine and DOM Manipulation. The jQuery project is also planning a live conference for this fall.

jQuery UI 1.5

jQuery UI 1.5 will be a complete overhaul from jQuery UI 1.0 both in features and API. It will be accompanied by new documentation, demos, and a brand new website. A new sub-library called Enchant is in the works which will be a full set of animations and effects that integrates seamlessly with jQuery.

Upcoming Javascript Features

Resig then outlined a number of interesting Javascript features in the works at Mozilla and other browser manufacturers:

  • Speed improvements are coming in two commonly used methods: getElementsByClassName() in Firefox 3 and Safari and querySelectorAll() in Safari, Opera, and IE 8 and Firefox.
  • ARIA Accessible Ajax is a coming standard which will allow Javascript developers to directly command the user's screen reader. A lack of screen reader accessibility is a common criticism of AJAX enabled applications.
  • CSS 3 is coming to fruition and browsers are finally getting solid implementations of its feature set.
  • postMessage() from HTML 5 specification will allow users to communicate across domains to allow for secure cross domain communications.
  • Native JSON support is coming in Firefox 3, Javascript 1.9. This will allow faster serialization and de-serialization of JSON objects.
  • Function.prototype.bind() will provide built in language support for binding functions with objects.
  • ISO Date() parsing will provide a cleaner way to deal with dates that works on both the browser and the server.
Appeal to Standards Bodies

Resig caps off his presentation with an appeal to standards bodies. He says that they need to take more of a cue from the Javascript libraries and formalize proven features from the library space, while maintaining usability. He also makes an appeal for browser makers to come together around a standard codex for the <audio> and <video> tags.

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