However, not all is perfect in the jQuery world. Despite having a great plugin system, how do you locate a plugin for your needs? The original repository at jquery.com was clunky at best; search results were poor, code was out of date and documentation was sparse. Googling was a better option but finding suitable code was a hit-and-miss affair. Ultimately, it was often easier to develop your own jQuery plugin.
Fortunately, the jQuery team are aware of the issue and have launched a new jQuery Plugin Repository. Their aim is to reduce the fragmentation and distribution problems that can be obstacles for plugin developers and consumers.
How to Download jQuery Plugins
You can search, browse or click tags to locate plugins in the jQuery Plugin Repository. Each plugin page provides a brief description, compatibility information and links to the home page, documentation, demonstrations, issues and downloads.
How to Register New jQuery Plugins
If you’d like to share your amazing jQuery plugin, there are several steps required to publish code on the jQuery Plugin Repository:
- Choose a unique name. Keep it short, descriptive and don’t use a name which has already been taken. It’s first come, first served.
- Create a package manifest. This is a JSON file describing the plugin, version, dependencies, developer, license, links etc.
- Publish your plugin on GitHub. You’ll need to sign-up for an account, create a post-receive hook with the URL
http://plugins.jquery.com/postreceive-hook, and push using your preferred Git tool.
The jQuery Plugin Repository is new and has a limited selection of plugins available. The search isn’t the best, plugin descriptions are terse and you need to link out to various information pages which slows down browsing. For me, the most fundamental omission is an absence of user ratings and reviews.
That said, the aim must be to create a repository which is as useful as the WordPress Plugin Directory; a definitive and easy-to-use resource with a thriving developer community. Let’s hope the jQuery team succeed.
Will you publish your code to jQuery Plugin Repository? If you need a plugin, would you head there first?
Craig is a freelance UK web consultant who built his first page for IE2.0 in 1995. Since that time he's been advocating standards, accessibility, and best-practice HTML5 techniques. He's created enterprise specifications, websites and online applications for companies and organisations including the UK Parliament, the European Parliament, the Department of Energy & Climate Change, Microsoft, and more. He's written more than 1,000 articles for SitePoint and you can find him @craigbuckler.