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View Poll Results: Which JS Library you prefer to use for creating desktop type web applications?

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  • JQuery

    34 64.15%
  • YUI

    1 1.89%
  • Prototype

    1 1.89%
  • Ext JS

    11 20.75%
  • Moo Tools

    5 9.43%
  • DOJO

    2 3.77%
  • Mochikit

    0 0%
  • Other

    4 7.55%
  • Will create my own library

    8 15.09%
Multiple Choice Poll.
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  1. #26
    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    There's loads of different frameworks you can use for scripting (in relevance to making an application which can run offline) but I think the important thing you need to consider is the method of producing the executable code. I would give the thumbs up to Adobe Air because it's a pretty solid framework but arguably you could even use something like Titanium. For scripting the GUI I would probably go with jQuery, granted it's not really an API style environment but it would do the job.

    PS: Mal isn't that weird? A JavaScript framework called Atlas? Considering Microsoft released an AJAX for ASP.NET framework called... Atlas.

  2. #27
    SitePoint Enthusiast alokjain_lucky's Avatar
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    Overall discussion so far is heavily concentrated on, one should create 2 versions of application or not, i.e. one with JS support and one without.

    Or apart from people have discussed this which library is best to use, or which one they preffer.

    The discussion is very informative and what i get from this so far is:
    1. A Non JS version should be created for a web application.
    2. We can avoid Non JS version only if we have very niche client-base. who are technical enough to understand the difference.
    3. I should not create my own JS Library, until existing libraries are not able to fulfill the requirements.


    Still i did not get the answer to my questions.

    Thanks.

  3. #28
    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    Well to be honest I would say that an offline web application should be the same as an online one, the only difference is the manner in which it's accessed (executable file with everything compressed within) rather than everything being located on a server. I would say make a single version of the application, then copy all of the components to an offline environment (wrapping them up in an executable so they will run natively).

  4. #29
    SitePoint Addict Mal Curtis's Avatar
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    Cappuccino writes code that's happy in either the browser, or runs natively on the desktop. Proof is in the pudding, the Atlas IDE is written in Cappuccino and runs in either the web browser OR as a native app.

  5. #30
    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    Mal, I think you misunderstood me, I was just saying it's weird that someone made a JavaScript library which uses the exact name "brand name" as an AJAX framework Microsoft created. I didn't even know about Atlas (the one you linked to) until you posted it, however I was aware of Microsoft Atlas (the ASP.NET AJAX framework).

  6. #31
    SitePoint Addict telos's Avatar
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    @felgall

    While we're getting off topic a little bit, I'd still like to respond.

    I guess you're only reason for doing so is blind users. I don't want to sound like a jerk, but from a business standpoint it just doesn't make sense. There are est. 40 million blind people worldwide, which is only about .6% of total world population (and est. 70-80% of those can have their sight restored through various methods).

    What you're suggesting is that we double our work for .6% of the viewers for something, that by it's very nature, is visual? I completely understand the point of doing this for general population sites like Google, Wikipedia, Dictionary, which are primarily information sites in which JavaScript can be used to enhance the experience.

    But RIAs are now something which is almost impossible (certainly impractical) without JavaScript. Take for example a "web page building" site using something like TinyMCE. You can't strip that out and use something non-JS and expect it to even work. Even if you did make it work, it would be so user-unfriendly for the blind people, there's no point.

    It's like saying you need to make a paintball arena friendly for blind people. It's completely counter-intuitive to the entire purpose of the interactivity.

    While blindness is a terrible and unfortunately disability, and I would never wish it on anyone, it's inevitable that there are things those people are not going to be able to do. They're not going to be able to play paintball (effectively), or drive a car, or appreciate a painting. Deaf people aren't going to be able to listen to music. It's an unfortunately truth about the world we live in.

    Many times, it's simply cost-prohibitive to build a real RIA in such a way that is conductive to screen readers. It can put you in the hole so far (financially), there's really no point in building it in the first place. Not to mention the cost for bug fixing, upkeep and new features.

    That's my 2c.

  7. #32
    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    telos, I work in accessibility and usability and I would just like to point out that blindness is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to web accessibility and the problems that can face visitors, if you take into account every possible debilitating factor which could cause problems with the browsing experience on the web, it's probably closer to 90%+ of all people who suffer some form of factorial issue which could be seriously damaged by a poorly implemented rich internet application (in terms of accessibility and usability aids). There is a reason why accessibility has become a very important issue (and people are getting sued millions over not being accessible), it's easy to see disability as something as obvious as blindness but your misappropriating the term and ignoring the wider issue at hand. Whether it's "cost effective" or not (in your viewpoint), you can make a site rich in JavaScript accessible, but you need to take the visitors needs into account when you start costing the process (in how much it will require to develop), only a foolish individual would write off making their product accessible out of the sake of trying to reduce expenditure, as the cost to your income or potential legal issues could be much greater, making a web application accessible is not counter-intuitive, it's reasonable.

  8. #33
    SitePoint Addict telos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexDawson View Post
    it's probably closer to 90%+ of all people who suffer some form of factorial issue which could be seriously damaged by a poorly implemented rich internet application (in terms of accessibility and usability aids).
    90%! I must be really fortunate then, to have all 10,000 paid monthly subscribers to my RIA be completely disability free! Either that, or they've never mentioned it.

    I guess I group people into two different categories. Basic, plain old visitors and users. My public-facing website, for all to see, is certainly accessible to everyone. However, my RIA, which people must register and pay for, requires JavaScript.

    Since inception (4 years ago and $4 mil later), we haven't had a SINGLE visitor or subscriber ask if it was accessible or complain that it wasn't.

    While you're statement might well be true about the % of people with disabilities, I've certainly never encountered it. If it IS true, than it would be more cost effective to just eliminate JS (or name your technology or method here) altogether, since we'd actually being doing all that work for only 10% of the population.

  9. #34
    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    Actually it's just about being sensible, most people don't even factor in basic things as potential accessibility issues. For example small clickable areas or reduced size text, it's not just blind people who may have issues, people who are partially sighted (the elderly population for example) or people with color blindness may suffer ill effects (in that case it might be color contrasts). Think of any kind of disability which might impair vision, hearing, motor skill, cognitive or psychological states, you are looking at something which can be problematic on many levels and most people won't even consider it (it's only the most serious disabilities you really hear about because their the most drastically affected), most other people just struggle along thinking it's normal. Trust me the people are there, they just don't tend to come forward as most people are embarrassed about talking on such matters or feel people won't listen (or discriminate against them).

  10. #35
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by telos View Post
    I guess you're only reason for doing so is blind users.
    No - blind users are just one fairly obvious example. They are also a group known to take legal action and win when web sites do not cater to their needs so not catering to them can be very costly.

    Extensive studies have shown that about 70% of all web users have some form of disability that has some sort of effect on how they use the web. In many cases those disabilities will not impact on their being able to use your proposed web application but it is reasonable to suppose that a significant fraction of the 5-10% of people who have JavaScript disabled have done so (even if unknowingly) as a result of their disability (which they themselves may not be aware of).

    Alex has mentioned a few more of the sorts of disabilities that you need to take into account.

    To get the expert view on web accessibility you should read a few of Jakob Neilsen's books on the subject. His book "Prioriitizing Web Usability" (published by New Riders) is a must read for anyone looking to create web applications as it goes into great detail on the sort of usability testing that such applications require.
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  11. #36
    I'm a splitzer's Avatar
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    There are "many" big web applications require you to have javascript enabled. Let me name few: gmail, adsense, hotmail, yahoo mail, blackboard etc. List goes on. What i'm saying that javascript is not the thing we can avoid to build a great app.

    My current project requires javascript, and it does check if user has it enabled or it will not let them go through.

    Quote Originally Posted by felgall View Post
    No - blind users are just one fairly obvious example. They are also a group known to take legal action and win when web sites do not cater to their needs so not catering to them can be very costly.

    Extensive studies have shown that about 70% of all web users have some form of disability that has some sort of effect on how they use the web. In many cases those disabilities will not impact on their being able to use your proposed web application but it is reasonable to suppose that a significant fraction of the 5-10% of people who have JavaScript disabled have done so (even if unknowingly) as a result of their disability (which they themselves may not be aware of).

    Alex has mentioned a few more of the sorts of disabilities that you need to take into account.

    To get the expert view on web accessibility you should read a few of Jakob Neilsen's books on the subject. His book "Prioriitizing Web Usability" (published by New Riders) is a must read for anyone looking to create web applications as it goes into great detail on the sort of usability testing that such applications require.

  12. #37
    SitePoint Addict telos's Avatar
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    Don't get me wrong, I'm not against usability. Sites, and more importantly RIAs, need to have a no-nonsense, keep-it-simple approach, which is exactly what I do. But accessibility and usability should not be confused, though they are similar. However, I don't think doubling your efforts to make your site work without JS is a reasonable or productive way to do this.

    People that are colorblind, dyslexic, newbs or just have no idea what they are doing are going to have the same problems without JS as with. The MAIN group of people who have problems with JS are blind users using a screen reader.

    But, if you are requiring the user to pay for a subscription for your service or RIA, I don't believe it is unreasonable to require them to use JavaScript. As I've said before, things like Wiki, Google, Target, Yahoo, to name a few, which are made for the general population, without registration, should probably cater to the folks with disabilities.

    It is neither productive, beneficial or profitable for me to build my RIA twice (or close to it), for a small fraction of users who can't use JS. It IS productive, beneficial and profitable for me to build it in a way that makes sense, is clear and understandable, and is easy to use. It just so happens, that JS allows me to do things that make the RIA 10-times easier to use.

    It's like that old saying, "if you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen." If you're not willing or able to use JavaScript, than my site is not for you.

    It's an approach that has worked very, very well for me for several years, and - as long as it is profitable - I'll continue to use it.

  13. #38
    From space with love silver trophy
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    My own view (and it's how I'm doing my site) is for a site to be coded with just HTML and CSS (with whatever server-side language and database server as appropriate) with any javascript added as an optional extra but not necessary for a site to be usable and accessible.

    Javascript should not be added just for the sake of it but used where it could improve a user's browsing experience where appropriate, for example the use of AJAX to only reload/refresh parts that have updated something, like a received PM notification.
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  14. #39
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by splitzer View Post
    There are "many" big web applications require you to have javascript enabled. Let me name few: gmail, adsense, hotmail, yahoo mail, blackboard etc. List goes on. What i'm saying that javascript is not the thing we can avoid to build a great app.
    AdSense does require JavaScript and anyone without JavaScript just sees the web pages without the ads so pages using AdSense still work without JavaScript.

    GMail also works without JavaScript - in fact since the JavaScript used contains garbage GMail actually works better without JavaScript and is a good reason for turning JavaScript OFF.
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  15. #40
    SitePoint Wizard Stomme poes's Avatar
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    I can attest that Gmail totally doesn't need JS. I doesn't has it on.

    Felgall is talking about web pages. Telos, what you've made are not web pages. They are web applications. Web applications do go against everything that was good and great about the internets (that they were available to everyone regardless of software, hardware, platform, etc... that was the original point and why stuff like .mobi was discouraged... one web to rule us all) but as people want them, I guess they'll happen. The web will continue to fragment and once again there will be parts only accessible to the privileged few and then the web pages for the rest of us.
    As a front-ender I struggle against this change in ideas of what the web is. People want the internet to be their television and their desktop.

    I'm thinking the rules for the Regular Web (where things need to work with pure sever and HTML) will not be able to hold for Application Web (with all the 3rd party non-free software, hardware requirements, etc). The analogy with the gaming thing is fine. A game is not a web site, it's an application.

    Alokjain:
    Overall discussion so far is heavily concentrated on, one should create 2 versions of application or not, i.e. one with JS support and one without.
    If it's really an application then you may never be able to make it work with pure HTML. HTML was created for marking up documents, not for making desktops. I'm just saying, if this really really really is an application and not a web document, you may end up doing this is some specialised programming language and not with pure HTML. There's a reason why desktop applications are written in C or C++.

    Browsers are starting to come out with some JS compiling but it's not here yet, certainly not cross browser. The reason JS is slow is it's run as it's read. That's slow.

    What library you should use, and whether you can even do this without JS (or have any sort of non-js version) depends completely on what exactly you want to do. You haven't been really specific. Are you really going to build and entire desktop online with all the junk a desktop environment can do?? Man, you ever see the size of just Gnome?? Huge. How's anyone supposed to load that? So I assume you mean something smaller and not quite as able, right?

  16. #41
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    Thanks, to felgall, Alex and others, for the clear reminder about how many people are effected by these important issues.
    I agree with the idea that "deaf people can't hear music, this is an unfortunate part of the world we live in", mentioned earlier.

    1) Some things can not be done without Javascript / Ajax.
    2) So people without disabilities should be denied the option of certain RIA's in order to make certain (almost) every single person can use the site?

    Is this how far the "accessibility requirements" movement has evolved?

  17. #42
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gemini181 View Post
    1) Some things can not be done without Javascript / Ajax.
    That statement is completely false with respect to web applications.

    Anything that can be done with JavaScript/Ajax can also be done using HTML forms and submit buttons. It may require a few extra steps and reloading the page for each step but if it can be done with JavaScript it can be done without JavaScript - at least as far as web applications are concerned (animations and similar within web pages can't be done without JavaScript but they shouldn't be essential to the page anyway).

    In so far as web applications are concerned - if it can't be done using forms without JavaScript then it can't be done with JavaScript either since all the JavaScript can do is to remove the need for submit buttons and page reloads.
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  18. #43
    SitePoint Addict telos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by felgall View Post
    That statement is completely false with respect to web applications.
    Actually, it's not. Ever used TinyMCE, FCKEditor or any other on-the-fly WYSIWYG editor? There's no point in even attempting such functionality without it. What about a stylesheet editor with dynamic preview?

    If I thought about it for a few seconds, I'm sure I could come up with several more.

  19. #44
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by telos View Post
    Actually, it's not. Ever used TinyMCE, FCKEditor or any other on-the-fly WYSIWYG editor? There's no point in even attempting such functionality without it. What about a stylesheet editor with dynamic preview?

    If I thought about it for a few seconds, I'm sure I could come up with several more.
    Of course JavaScript is what makes those things dynamic BUT the functionality can still be provided without being dynamic without needing the JavaScript.

    So your WYSIWYG editor requires a page reload for each change for the result to show as does the stylesheet editor. The page reload is the price that those without JavaScript pay for not having JavaScript available to make it dynamic. They shouldn't have to pay the price of not being able to use it at all just because they turn off the dynamic part.

    Anyway with the way Google search is now using JavaScript I would expect the percentage of people with JavaScript disabled to grow rapidly. That search engine is now unusable with JavaScript enabled so turning off JavaScript is the only way to get search to work properly.Who cares if that loses a few dynamic functions elsewhere.

    Your comparison is like my saying that you can get from here to there using a car, a train, or a plane and your reply being that you can't get there if the plane's wings are cut off.
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  20. #45
    From space with love silver trophy
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    Quote Originally Posted by felgall View Post
    Anyway with the way Google search is now using JavaScript I would expect the percentage of people with JavaScript disabled to grow rapidly. That search engine is now unusable with JavaScript enabled so turning off JavaScript is the only way to get search to work properly.Who cares if that loses a few dynamic functions elsewhere.
    Not necessarily, they might well just turn to another search engine, it could lead to Google loosing some market share of those who browse the Internet on the cell phones, and those who use Add-ons like No Script to block all scripts.
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  21. #46
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpacePhoenix View Post
    Not necessarily, they might well just turn to another search engine, it could lead to Google loosing some market share of those who browse the Internet on the cell phones, and those who use Add-ons like No Script to block all scripts.
    How is Google's doing something to encourage the use of NoScript going to result in their losing market share amongst those already using it? It just means that more people will use NoScript in order to use Google.

    The other search engines would need to double the pages in their results in order to even start to compete with Google. While the other search engines only list half as many pages (about 10%) as Google does (about 20%) there are lots of good reasons for using Google to perform searches even if it is necessary to turn off JavaScript to get the search engine to behave itself.
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  22. #47
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    I just tested Google with Javascript disabled (via the web developer toolbar) it is prefectly usable and so there won't be any affect at all on the number of people not blocking javascript.
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  23. #48
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpacePhoenix View Post
    I just tested Google with Javascript disabled (via the web developer toolbar) it is prefectly usable and so there won't be any affect at all on the number of people not blocking javascript.
    Since the problem with Google is some recently implemented JavaScript that prevents your being able to return to the search results if the first link you chose wasn't what you are looking for and the simplest fix is to turn JavaScript off so that you can get back to the search results of course it is usable with JavaScript off. It is only unusable with JavaScript on.

    So more and more people will now be blocking JavaScript in order to fix Google.
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  24. #49
    From space with love silver trophy
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    Quote Originally Posted by felgall View Post
    Since the problem with Google is some recently implemented JavaScript that prevents your being able to return to the search results if the first link you chose wasn't what you are looking for and the simplest fix is to turn JavaScript off so that you can get back to the search results of course it is usable with JavaScript off. It is only unusable with JavaScript on.

    So more and more people will now be blocking JavaScript in order to fix Google.
    No problems for me trying hitting back with both javascript enabled and disabled, perhaps you have a problem with your local setup
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  25. #50
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpacePhoenix View Post
    No problems for me trying hitting back with both javascript enabled and disabled, perhaps you have a problem with your local setup
    I haven't changed anything but this wouldn't be the first time Google have implemented JavaScript that doesn't work properly in all browsers. Anyway I worked out a userscript fix that just strips all the JavaScript out of specific web sites and tested that it corrects the issue with Google.

    Code:
    // ==UserScript==
    // @namespace     http://javascript.about.com
    // @author        Stephen Chapman
    // @name          Kill JavaScript
    // @description   Strips all JavaScript from the web page
    // @include       http://www.google.com/*
    // ==/UserScript==
    
    d=document;
    while((el=d.getElementsByTagName('script')).length){
    el[0].parentNode.removeChild(el[0]);
    };
    onerror=function(){};
    d.close();
    By installing the above as a userscript in Opera, Firefox (with Greasemonkey extension), or Internet Explorer 6+ (with IE7pro plugin) and replacing the @include with whatever web site you want (or repeating it for multiple sites) anyone using any one of those three browsers will be able to selectively strip all the JavaScript from specific web sites while still being able to have it enabled and running on all other sites.

    Note that as with all userscripts this can't affect any JavaScript that runs while the page is loading but this code will prevent any JavaScript running after the page finishes loading on whichever sites you list in the @include statements.
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