jQuery UI and beyond: The jQuery-Liferay partnership

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jQuery UI is growing, and I’m already seeing quite a few sites using it exclusively to support their interface. As a matter of fact, it’s growing so well, that a LA-based open-source company decided to hire a person to exclusively work on jQuery UI full-time.

I’m very happy to announce that I, Paul Bakaus, lead of jQuery UI, was hired by Liferay Inc., the company behind the world’s most popular open source java portal, to focus solely on bringing jQuery UI to a next level. This has an enormous effect to the whole project – I can now invest almost three times the amount of time and power, and I’m helping to deploy jQuery and jQuery UI in mission critical projects, which makes a huge difference.

Liferay’s plans are to standardize all their products to use jQuery and its plugins for the future (you’ll still be able to use other libraries at the same time) – it’s therefore in their very interest to see jQuery UI enjoying a long life, growing to meet expectations of all kinds of clients and beyond. To reach this goal, hiring me was the most logical decision: I now have no excuse not-to-focus on jQuery UI for a while – after all, it’s my day job!

But the cooperation with Liferay is even more than that: Liferay will be the first company starting from today to offer business critical support services for both jQuery and jQuery UI. Not only we’ll have a open source company backing us, but it’s the best publicity a project can have: jQuery UI will run in huge intranets, on every copy of Liferay. This will have a strong effect on both the distribution of the project and the level of quality that is being provided.

I myself am extremely excited about the change – there are countless positive side effects and products coming up – new products featuring jQuery, sponsored themes for UI, a new website, and of course – a new version of jQuery UI (the release date of the new, polished version with all the long-awaited bugfixes will be announced in the next couple of days).

69 thoughts on “jQuery UI and beyond: The jQuery-Liferay partnership

  1. Pingback: Javascript News » Blog Archive » Workin’ Hard

  2. Great news :)
    jQuery UI is a much needed plugin and it still need many features and fixes to compete with other library’s UI components.

    Good luck !!

  3. Hi all,
    I see a few comments above that I’d like to address, both about jQuery (UI) and Liferay itself, as well as the intended focus and direction of jQuery UI and how that meshes with Liferay’s goals and intentions.

    First, just a little background: I come from a PHP background. I’ve been a senior PHP developer for different companies, and that is where my heart is. I am enamored of other langauges, such as Ruby and Python, but PHP is still, to me, an exciting and dynamic language that is an amazing amount of fun to code in.

    With that being said, I have a lot of respect for what’s been going on in the Java/J2EE world. The amount of libraries and frameworks that exist to handle numerous tasks and things that the PHP and RoR world has yet to address is awe-inspiring.

    I also have been a front end developer for many years, and for many organizations in that role, and have a very strong background in design.

    So what does this have to do with jQuery, jQuery UI and Liferay?

    We believe that “enterprise” has become a bit of a dirty word, and it doesn’t have to be. We also believe that most of the people who are doing “enterprise”-level software aren’t trying to appeal to or cater to the user space.

    But Liferay is different, and that’s not just a marketing bullet point I would insert into a presentation. The culture, the company, the employees from the top down are different from anything I’ve ever seen in any organization. Liferay is definitely enterprise, but it’s anything but corporate.

    In our current space, we own a very large percentage of the market, and we believe that the tools that we’re developing have a benefit to others outside of our space.

    We also believe that the tools being developed outside of our space can benefit those inside of our space.

    We wish to create the best of both worlds. Something that just works, something that’s easy to use, easy to develop for, but that is stable, rock solid, fast, and can be relied upon to work consistently.

    In October, I went to The AJAX Experience in Boston, and met with Paul and John to talk about this partnership. I made it clear to them that we have no intention of hijacking jQuery, nor of changing it’s core focus.
    We brought Paul on to help make our product better, and to help make jQuery better.

    Yes, we will be focusing on components that we need, and some of them might be components that not every single person will want. But many of those same components will be used by many people.

    Overall, we’re going to be improving jQuery UI.

    Now, why jQuery, and why invest in it? Because the core underlying paradigm of jQuery just works. It’s easy to understand for both those with and without previous javascript experience.

    It helps people build stuff quickly.
    We want to expand that toolset, and in way that has the benefits of the user space and the enterprise space.

    As for Liferay taking jQuery UI in a Java/J2EE direction, we will not be taking development of jQuery UI in that direction. jQuery UI will remain, like jQuery itself, language agnostic and framework agnostic. There may be some paradigms from Java we may borrow, but they will be things that enhance jQuery’s simplicity and ease of use, not things that get in the way of the developer.

    I also saw a comment above about someone using Liferay 4.3.1. I will say that things have dramatically improved since then, such as Javascript file size. It’s now around 88k, including jQuery, jQuery plugins, all of Liferay’s code, and other third party plugins and modules we’ve included.
    We’ve gone through extensive profiling and have sped things up dramatically. We’ve reduced the number of HTTP requests drastically, we’ve sped up Javascript execution time quite a bit, and we’ve fixed a ton of bugs.
    The 4.3 branch is currently on 4.3.6, and in that time a lot of improvements we’re made.
    We also just released version 4.4, and we’re slated to release 5.0 very soon.

    So yeah, 4.3.0 was a pretty rough release for us, because we changed things quite a bit, but the branch underwent extensive improvements in a very short time after it first came out.

    As for a comment above about keeping developers in the dark on the release cycle, I have to apologize for that. The delay over the past week or so has been because of some good reasons, but I won’t make excuses.
    In any open source project, transparency and frequent communication are the keys to developing passion amongst its users, and we do get that.

    Paul is currently in Boston, and we hope to have the roadmap, and projected release cycle out soon.

    For anyone who is curious, we’re hoping for a release of jQuery 1.1 somewhere between Feb. 8-11th. We also hope to have jQuery FX, the sister library to jQuery UI, by around March 9th.

    These dates are a bit flexible, but we’re doing everything in our power to meet them on time, and with quality work when we release.

    As for what’s coming up? We plan to have such things like an official color picker, spinner, progress indicator, a sortable grid, panes, toolbars, buttons, tooltips, AJAX history manager, etc.
    We are planning to have these all by late July.

    So, all this to say, guys, I really appreciate your frustration with things, which is the same frustration I’ve personally felt, and I am telling you, this will work, and we’re in it to not just do the same components other libraries have, but to innovate and continue to solve existing and new problems that inevitably come up.

    Thanks for letting me have my spiel :)

  4. Raymond on said:

    Can’t wait to see the new jQuery UI. And thanks to you Liferay for taking an interest in this project.

    Here’s to a happy beginning

  5. in that light, it does sound more exciting. My concerns were more that jquery will remain language agnostic and platform impartial.

    I guess time will tell. All that I am saying is, please don’t take the jquery that we have come to use and love away from us. By that, I mean, that I hope it will be the same familiar face that we have always known (albeit grown).

    again, time will tell…

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  7. John Smith on said:

    @Nate Cavanaugh

    It has been three months since the jQuery-Liferay partnership announcement and, althought there has been a jQuery UI 1.5b release in mid February, it is still too buggy to be considered for production. As a result, we are still in a position in which there is no UI library we can use with jQuery (Interface’s latest version is a year and a half old and only works with jQuery versions that are more than a year old).

    I have been following the jQuery UI Google group to see if there were any news, but haven’t seen any official news (Paul seems to imply that jQuery UI 1.5 final will be ready in a couple of days or weeks, but I have learned to take these news with a pinch of salt).

    Although I love the way jQuery works, I cannot help feeling envy of the progress other libraries like Dojo or Ext are making. I was hoping that Liferay’s involvement with the jQuery UI project would result in a more fast and transparent development, but after two more months without any news, I am starting to consider shifting my projects to another library. I know I am just a drop in the ocean, but I’m sure other developers feel similarly after a year and a half of so little progress in the jQuery user interface front.

    Regards,

    John.

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