jQuery UI 1.6rc4: It’s getting really close

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Attention: We found a regression in the rc3 release that breaks datepicker in Internet Explorer. The issue has now been resolved with the rc4 release – please do not download the rc3 release anymore. We apologize for the inconvenience.

I’m absolutely thrilled to announce the latest release candidate for the long awaited jQuery UI version 1.6. It has been a busy couple of months, and not only our team but also our processes, specifications, and codebase has been updated. This means that rc4 isn’t simply a bugfix release on top of rc2, but really a whole different level of code. Using a our new interaction design processes, we build up the foundation of many widgets from the ground up, and refactored widgets multiple times until we finally reached the look and feel we were confident with. So, let me show you quickly what has changed especially in this release!

Datepicker and slider refresh

In order to make room for the new theming, we needed to unclutter the datepicker a bit. A couple of options have been removed, changeMonth and changeYear have been changed to be disabled by default and showButtonPanel was introduced as new method. More on that soon, detailed information can also be found in the related ticket.

The slider also went through a refactor. The ‘axis’ option was changed to ‘orientation’, the ‘handle’ and ‘handles’ options were removed, ‘steps’ and ‘stepping’ were removed in favor of ‘step’, ‘startValue’ and ‘moveTo’ have been removed in favor of ‘value’ (option and method), and much more. For more detail, see the slider specification page.

We will provide detailed compatibility information and upgrade solutions with the final release, so stay tuned.

Drag & Drop logic overhaul

The positioning and intersection logic of drag and drop and sortables has been completely redone, along with more than 200 automated tests to test all different environments, i.e. scroll offsets and position values. As positive effect, at least 30 conditions where the positioning was failing (i.e. scroll not included, helper stick at top) had been fixed.

New widget designs

jQuery UI 1.6rc4 features an entirely new look and feel, designed by our new Interaction Design team and powered by the new jQuery UI CSS Framework. Each widget’s markup and CSS has been re-approached to provide our cleanest and most flexible solution yet.

CSS Framework

jQuery UI 1.6rc4 is built upon a brand new powerful CSS framework. The new jQuery UI CSS framework is built to support not only jQuery UI’s own plugins, but also custom plugin development. It is a special kind of CSS framework that is aimed specifically at user interface development as opposed to overall page layout. The framework provides classes for commonly used UI utilities, states, containers and icons and is manipulated by jQuery UI ThemeRoller. Read more about the
framework API here: http://jqueryui.pbwiki.com/jQuery-UI-CSS-Framework

Refreshed demos

Themeroller v2
The website is currently going through some major updates, and in the first block of changes we’re happy to announce that the demos section has been completely redone from scratch. We removed the demo carousel (which was nice but not really usable), and introduced a page that both includes real world and functional demos for all widgets and interactions. The demos are directly pulled from the actual demos/ directory in our code repository, and then ajaxified. They are bookmarkable, and if you download the development bundle, you’ll see they even come as standalone!
This is only the first step of where we want to go for the final 1.6 release. If you’re interested in how it might look in the end, have a peek at our design wiki!

Themeroller v2!

Themeroller v2

ThemeRoller has been completely redesigned to compliment the new CSS framework and widget designs. ThemeRoller now resides in a vertical sidebar and has loads of new features added, such as:

Toggle-able panels with previews

ThemeRoller’s levers are now grouped into collapsible panes for ease of use. Each pane shows a preview of that state’s current styles so you can still view its settings while collapsed.

New Levers! Round corners! Drop shadows!

We’ve added new levers to the application for highlight, error, corner radius, overlays, and overlay shadows. Try em out!

Themeroller v2 - Shadows

Icon sprites

The jQuery UI CSS Framework comes with loads of icons for custom widget development. Icons are now packed into sprites and classes for each icon can be found in the docs.

Themeroller v2 - Icons

New themes

We’ve added a bunch of cool new themes to the new gallery which can beviewed and customized in the gallery tab of ThemeRoller.

Themeroller v2 - Gallery

History/back button support

Every action you take in TR is now undoable/redoable through your browser’s history.

Legacy theme support

Themes designed using the older version of ThemeRoller will load just fine in ThemeRoller v2, but keep in mind that there are a number of new settings that your old theme will not have yet. This version of ThemeRoller allows you to still download any ThemeRoller theme for jQuery UI 1.5.

Coming soon…

  • PNG 8 Support in ThemeRoller
  • New ThemeRoller developer tool: Pull ThemeRoller into any page on the web and design themes for custom components built using the jQuery UI CSS Framework.
  • New ThemeSwitcher bookmarklet: A quick script that will allow you to bring a miniaturized Theme Gallery into your web pages to allow visitors to quickly change themes for custom components built using the jQuery UI CSS Framework.

Download and test!

Now go ahead and download from our download page, then help us test and report anything odd that looks like a bug in our bugtracker. Also note: jQuery UI 1.6 final will ship with and require jQuery 1.3, so please let us know if you find any issues when combining this release with jQuery 1.3b1.

Cheers!

What’s Up With jQuery UI?

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The jQuery UI team has had a busy and productive fall and wanted to give everyone an update on what we’ve been up to.  First off, we’re happy to announce that our team of contributors has grown significantly in the past few months and want to thank everyone for their support. To round out the great group of developers on the core team, new sub teams and team roles have been created, to focus on areas such as evangelism, design, builds, testing, website, and documentation. Most noticeable is the recent activity of the Interaction Design sub team focusing on UI design, widget planning, and theming. To learn more about who’s on the team and what we all like to do, check out the jQuery UI team page. Also, we are pleased to announce that Filament Group is now an official sponsor of jQuery UI, making up most of our Interaction Design team. Thank you.

When’s 1.6 coming?

The 1.6rc3 release is being wrapped up and will be out within a week. Our goal is to have 1.6 final out still in December. We’ve decided to cut back the number of new additions in order to re-factor the existing plugins for improved accessibility, performance, and theming. In this release, the only new plugin will be the determinate progress bar. The autocomplete, colorpicker, and spinner plugins have been moved into a future release (to allow time for further refactoring, not delaying 1.6 any further), while magnifier has been moved into experimental again, soon to be released as external plugin at Paul Bakaus’ homepage (more on that in the next final release announcement). With a better planning process in place now (see below), we’re confident removing plugins from a release candidate won’t happen in the future, and we apologize for any trouble it might have introduced for you.

What’s 1.6 all about?

One of the most exciting changes arriving with the final version of 1.6 is a complete re-factor of the CSS class framework used across all the jQuery UI widgets. This will build on the ideas of the original ThemeRoller tool, but extend the system to be a rich UI class framework that can be used across all plugins, both internal and external. Here is just a partial list of what’s in the works:

  • New classes for error, highlight and disabled states
  • Extended, sprite-based ThemeRoller icon set
  • Class system for adding rounded corners via CSS (Firefox and Webkit, gracefully degrades)
  • New ThemeRoller tool with inspector style view
  • Theme gallery with voting and user-generated themes
  • Improved documentation for generating custom themes and using the class framework

You can learn more about the new ThemeRoller app and class framework on our new wiki.

What are y’all working on?

To keep us organized and make the planning process more transparent to the community, we’ve created a new design and planning wiki at http://jqueryui.pbwiki.com/. On the wiki, we’ve been refining and detailing our processes for growing the team and the project, accepting and reviewing contributions, and prioritizing new plugins into a roadmap. By channeling ideas and decisions made on the jQuery UI Dev google group conversations into the wiki, we hope to provide a single, unified view of our current thinking, so we’re all in sync. To see what we’re up to, a summary of the current development status can always be found at the top of the wiki homepage. (Note: http://docs.jquery.com/UI will continue as the end-user documentation/production wiki for jQuery UI)

How can I help?

One big part of the wiki is collecting a long list of ideas for future plugins that we might want to include in the jQuery UI library. So far, we’ve created a sortable table on the wiki homepage with over 50 plugins with planning information for the highest priority items. Each plugin has a detail page where we can collect best practices, visual designs, sample markup and style, accessibility considerations and track the status of the development. We hope to have a vibrant conversation with the community and engage as many designers and developers in the process, so please feel free to add comments, edit pages, and link to examples on the wiki. We’ve just started the plugin design and specification process so this is a great time to get involved and help us shape the future of jQuery UI.

jQuery UI 1.6rc2

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Hey everyone,

I’m glad to announce that finally, we decided to kick out a release candidate of jQuery UI 1.6. It’s called rc2, because we pushed out a rc1 too early on Monday, and to everyone who downloaded that one or another early version of 1.6, a upgrade to 1.6rc2 is highly recommended. This is also the final version before the real deal, which can be expected to follow in the next days.

1.6rc2 is mainly a bugfix and stability release, and we made sure again you can read what has changed in our changelog for 1.6, which shows the current state.

Download multiple versions, public dev group

In addition to all the bugfixes, we also have a couple of new hot things to check out:

  • You can now decide wether you want to download the stable or unstable version in the download builder. This is a big one, because for the first time, users have the possibility to decide what to download using the convienient interface.
  • The jquery-ui-dev list has been opened to the public. This is also a big change, because it means you can now actively participate in the development of jQuery UI, by simply participating in the discussions, and we highly encourage you to do so!

New servers

Finally, we’re currently doing a transition to a new, dedicated server for jQuery UI, and all the other jQuery subdomains also receive new servers. This will give the UI homepage and the documentation major performance boosts in the next days.

Now go to http://ui.jquery.com/download and grab jQuery UI 1.6rc2!

See you,
Paul Bakaus & the jQuery UI Team

jQuery UI v1.5 Released, Focus on Consistent API and Effects

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We recently discovered an issue with the download builder which caused it to serve cached 1.5rc1 files instead of the final package. We sincerely apologize for the inconvienience caused by this and strongly suggest to download jQuery UI 1.5 again if you downloaded it as a configured package.

Additionally, an issue has been found in ThemeRoller that causes the downloaded images to be default images in most cases. The issue was fixed now, and we also suggest you to try out downloading your theme again.

jQuery UI 1.5: Rethinking Our Approach to UI

ws_Path_of_Light_1024x768.jpg

When we first started with the UI project, we set out to build a generic, basic, and simple way of adding and extending core interaction to DOM elements. However, we soon found that our approach wasn’t working for UI. Using the “simple” approach, we were only able to serve simple interaction modules, but not full featured UI widgets. The second problem was that some plugins came from external sources making the UI suite seem disjointed and inconsistent.

All of this occurred right after we released 1.0 and we immediately realized it was time to reconsider our path. We had to find a approach that kept the simplicity of jQuery while making it possible to add full featured widgets to UI. We also already knew that something very simple to use is very challenging to develop. The first task was to build a generic API that allowed for maximum flexibility while being amazingly simple. The next task was making it similarly simple to develop plugins for that API.

One API to Rule Them All

What we came up with, was an API that removed 95% of our exposed methods, and kept only one single overloaded method per plugin. For example:

  • $(“div”).draggable() creates a draggable
  • $(“div”).draggable(“destroy”) destroys it
  • $(“div”).draggable(“method”) calls another method on the plugin.

The new API also makes all callbacks behave similarly, exposes the default options for each plugin and intelligently cleans up plugins using remove(). We also made it possible to update plugin options on the fly, and added smaller updates that make UI feel like one suite.

In order to make this happen, we removed the jquery.dimensions.js (which can now be found in jQuery core), the ui.mouse.js and the *.ext.js dependancies, introduced a ui.core.js (which includes many useful helpers) and created the jQuery UI widget factory which makes creating a new plugin for UI amazingly simple while making it very difficult to break the API.

Stability, Debugging, Testing and jquery.simulate

It was extremely important that jQuery UI v1.5 was not only feature-rich but also stable. We took several steps to greatly improve our debugging and testing including the setup of our own dedicated bugtracker with jQuery UI specific version and milestone targeting. We also invested a lot of time into new unit tests that make use of the jQuery test suite Qunit. Finally, we created jquery.simulate.js, a plugin specifically designed to fire true browser events. This means, you can actually tell the plugin to pick up your draggable, move it to a certain position and release it again, just if you’d be talking to a real testing person.

The Need for Effects: Enter Enchant

One of the great things in being able to take a step back is that it offers a totally different perspective on what a full-featured UI solution should offer. While jQuery UI v1.0 was currently offering a nice suite of UI controls, users were in need of solid effects like those offered in libraries such as script.aculo.us and jQuery UI’s former inspiration, Interface. Unfortunately, Interface was no longer being updated which left a bit of a hole in terms of effects; hence a new project called “Enchant” was born. Originally planned to be released as a complementary library to jQuery and jQuery UI, we realized that it made perfect sense to merge Enchant with jQuery UI allowing users easy access to advanced effects and UI controls from one solution.

We’re proud to announce that Enchant is now a part of jQuery UI and jQuery users now have a unified solution for their effects and UI needs. The jQuery UI effects can be used standalone or together with UI and have a separate core which extends the jQuery core to introduce advanced easing, class transitions (morphing) and color animations. All effects are tightly integrated into the main API and can be used as standalone ( $(..).effect() ) or directly from within jQuery methods you already know ( hide()/show() ).

Overall, we already have more than 15 ready-to-use effects for you to use in your projects, not only those provided by script.aculo.us (blind,bounce,drop,fold,slide …), but also fresh, new effects (transfer, explode. clip, scale) that make jQuery UI a great library enhancing your applications!

As promised in one of the last blog posts, it comes with a complete documentation and a combined demo page to let you see them in action.
themeRoller_ui_full.png

Roll Your Own Themes: ThemeRoller!

One of the first things that a user typically wants to do when using new UI controls is “skin” them to match their site’s color schemes. Obviously, when you have UI controls from varying sources, the ability to provide a consistent “theme” across all controls becomes much more difficult since most component authors have their own method of skinning their controls. We took a serious look at this and made it a priority to have a consistent default theme that users could use as a template for customizing jQuery UI’s set of widgets.
We reached out to Boston-based Filament Group for some help in this and they were all for it. Being very invested in jQuery, they saw this as a great opportunity to further help the project. Well, what went from an discussion outlining a single default theme quickly blossomed into jQuery UI’s killer app; ThemeRoller.

ThemeRoller offers a unique approach to theming UI components specifically built for jQuery UI. With ThemeRoller, you can create your very own theme for your project within minutes. It’s completely intuitive, comes wich rich controls to change the color and design of each state, and then previews your theme with the actual UI components as you work!

You now have literally millions of combinations to chose from. Any theme you create can be reached by copying the URL at any point in your progress; and after you’ve played with it enough, you can click the download button and a ZIP package is generated with the css file, the images and a demo page.

In addition, ThemeRoller also includes a theme gallery to browse for downloads and inspiration. Creating a theme for your application doesn’t get any easier than this; it’s simply that amazing.
We really want to extend our deepest gratitude to the amazingly talented folks at the Filament Group for creating this amazing application.

Oh and by the way, you can also reach ThemeRoller by direct URL at: ThemeRoller.com. If you want to know more about this great app and how it’s done, visit the excellent blog writeup by Filament Group!

Plugin Stabilization and Enhancements

The biggest improvements and changes were done on individual plugin code. Almost every plugin has been completely rewritten from scratch to optimize stability and performance and every plugin now comes with a bug changelog. We also focused heavily on enhancing options and increasing flexibility (e.g. connecting sortables to draggables) to allow our plugins to be used in almost every environment.

The best way to get a full feel for every enhancement to jQuery UI’s components is to review the changelog. It’s fairly extensive and gives an indication of the incredible effort put in by the UI team. In the near future, we’ll be creating postings and articles which outline the newest features of UI’s components. In the meantime, we suggest you read our blog post about jQuery UI 1.5b, which explains many of the mouse interaction changes (sortables, draggables, slider), and dig through the documentation and the changelog yourself.

Downloading

jQuery UI v1.5:

Final Release: http://ui.jquery.com/download

You can also checkout the full release of jQuery UI v1.5 from the Subversion repository.

There’s more to come!

coverflow.png

This has truly been an amazing effort and we’re very proud to be able to offer a comprehensive UI solution to the jQuery community.

We’re already planning the next release and have a huge roadmap that contains plugins like grid, tooltips, menus, colorpickers, autocompletes and much more. Many of them are already done and commited code-wise. We’ve also planned plugins using new technologies like Webkit’s css transforms (see the recent coverflow plugin), so stay tuned.

None of this would’ve been possible if not for the amazing efforts and dedication the jQuery UI team. They’ve dedicated so much of their personal and professional time to create this amazing library and they deserve so much credit for their hard work. We also want to thank the jQuery core team, with whom we worked closely together to integrate many needed features into the jQuery core itself.

Last but certainly not least, we want to give a VERY special thanks the Liferay staff, who invested countless hours into the development of the new UI website, and with whom we worked closely together to stabilize jQuery UI for all kinds of enterprise situations.

Thank you for all of your support,

Paul Bakaus & the jQuery UI Team