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.

CloudFront CDN for jQuery

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Here at jQuery we’ve been using Amazon S3 to host the jQuery code and static site files for quite some time. It’s remained dependable and quite responsive.

Yesterday Amazon released their new service, called CloudFront. The major difference between it and S3 (they are both designed to serve files) is all about network performance. Whereas S3 was just about instantaneous control (being able to upload a file and see it live, instantly) – CloudFront tries to serve up a file as quickly as possible.

Yesterday we made the switch to using CloudFront for the jQuery site. The two domains that are affected are:

  • code.jquery.com – Hosts the jQuery source code.
  • static.jquery.com – Hosts all the jQuery site images, CSS, and JavaScript files.

Whereas S3 only had servers in Seattle, CloundFront has servers across the globe – allowing the site to load much-more-quickly no matter where you’re located.

Some initial numbers of come in and they’re quite promising.

Roland Moriz posted about the improvement in latency that he’s seen in Germany – with static.jquery.com coming in at 24ms latency in comparison to jquery.com’s 105ms latency.

I ran a similar test here in Boston and even managed to see a large improvement. I was seeing latency of anywhere from 50-200ms on Amazon S3, but only a latency of 17-19ms with CloudFront.

What does all of this mean? It means that the jQuery site is going to load even faster than it does now. We already receive some excellent hosting from Media Temple but being able to off-load these static files to the fast-loading servers will only make for a better browsing experience.

It also means that the jQuery project can expect to be paying even more in hosting costs. In less than 24 hours we’ve already had almost 2.5 million requests for over 50GB of data.

We pay all of these costs out of our own pocket – so a donation will significantly help us to make sure that we can keep providing a fast jQuery web site.

It should also be noted that CloudFront doesn’t appear to provide any sort of GZip compression on the transferred data. Because of this I still recommend that you use the Google Ajax Libraries API to load your copy of jQuery, done like so:

<script src="http://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/1.2.6/jquery.min.js"></script>

If you’re unfamiliar with the Google Ajax Libraries API I highly recommend that you check in to it – we use it on jquery.com and it’s still the fastest way to serve up jQuery (Hosted by Google, Gzipped, and Minified).

jQuery Pumpkin

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jQuery Halloween Pumpkin

Created by jQuery user Christopher Pickert (of BigFishGames.com), he writes:

"Since Halloween is the perfect time to celebrate the black arts of web development, I carved a special jQuery pumpkin last night. I hope you enjoy it.

Our QA person said that he found a bug in the code, but I explained that it was because of the candle."

He continues:

I did carve that – it’s not photoshop. On an impulse I bought a little $7 battery-operated pumpkin saw at the grocery store, and it’s great because you can do small details more easily. So actually the hard part was drawing the characters first and getting them the right size.

Great work Christopher!

jQuery, Microsoft, and Nokia

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We have two pieces of fantastic, albeit serendipitous, news today: Both Microsoft and Nokia are taking the major step of adopting jQuery as part of their official application development platform. Not only will they be using it for their corporate development but they will be providing it as a core piece of their platform for developers to build with.

Microsoft is looking to make jQuery part of their official development platform. Their JavaScript offering today includes the ASP.NET Ajax Framework and they’re looking to expand it with the use of jQuery. This means that jQuery will be distributed with Visual Studio (which will include jQuery intellisense, snippets, examples, and documentation).

Additionally Microsoft will be developing additional controls, or widgets, to run on top of jQuery that will be easily deployable within your .NET applications. jQuery helpers will also be included in the server-side portion of .NET development (in addition to the existing helpers) providing complementary functions to existing ASP.NET AJAX capabilities.

Nokia is looking to use jQuery to develop applications for their WebKit-based Web Run-Time. The run-time is a stripped-down browser rendering engine that allows for easy, but powerful, application development. This means that jQuery will be distributed on all Nokia phones that include the web run-time.

To start Nokia will be moving a number of their applications to work on the run-time (such as Maps) and building them using jQuery. jQuery will become part of their widget development platform, meaning that any developer will be able to use jQuery in the construction of widgets for Nokia phones.

Microsoft and Nokia aren’t looking to make any modifications to jQuery (both in the form of code or licensing) – they simply wish to promote its use as-is. They’ve recognized its position as the most popular JavaScript library and wish to see its growth and popularity continue to flourish.

In fact their developers will begin to help contribute back to the jQuery project by proposing patches, submitting test cases, and providing comprehensive testing against their runtimes. As with any contribution that comes in to the jQuery project it’ll be closely analyzed, reviewed, and accepted or rejected, based upon its merits, by the jQuery development team – no free ride will be given.

A significant level of testing will be added to the project in this respect. The jQuery test suite is already integrated into the test suites of Mozilla and Opera and this move will see a significant level of extra testing being done on Internet Explorer and WebKit – above-and-beyond what is already done by the jQuery team.

The whole jQuery team is quite excited by these prospects and wishes to take this opportunity to welcome both companies to the jQuery community. It’s phenomenal to see these two, major, corporations take the large step of using jQuery as a base for their, and their developers, future development. They will join a long list of happy jQuery users, including Google, Intel, IBM, Intuit, Reuters, and many others.

Update: Blogs posts by Scott Guthrie and Scott Hanselman, both at Microsoft, have posts on the subject matter from their perspective.

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 Conference 2008 Agenda

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The sold-out jQuery Conference 2008, being held in Boston at the MIT Stata Center on September 28th, is nearly upon us. With 13 sessions being delivered by the jQuery team as well as prominent industry experts such as Jonathan Snook, Aza Raskin and Cody Lindley, this is sure to be a stellar event.

The conference has been broken out into two tracks, Beginner and Advanced, to allow developers of various jQuery expertise to take full advantage of the sessions that will be suit their needs. Below you will find the agenda for the conference. In the interest of sharing information, we wanted to put up the agenda as soon as possible. We will be releasing another page shortly that will provide topic descriptions as well as bios for each of the speakers.

Featured Presenters:

John Resig

John Resig

John Resig is the creator and lead developer of the jQuery JavaScript library. He’s also a JavaScript Evangelist for the Mozilla Corporation and the author of the book Pro JavaScript Techniques.

Currently, John is located in Boston, MA. He’s hard at work on his second book, Secrets of the JavaScript Ninja, due in bookstores Late 2008.

Joern Zaefferer

Joern Zaefferer

Jörn Zaefferer is a member of the core jQuery team. Along his work on jQuery itself, he wrote and maintains several of the most popular jQuery plugins. Jörn Zaefferer works as a consultant for maxence integration technologies GmbH in Cologne, Germany, where he architects and develops Java-based web applications for maxence’s customers and maxence’s own products.

Jonathan Snook

Jonathan Snook

Web designer and developer, Jonathan Snook moves effortlessly from client-side, front-end work to hardcore server-side challenges, and his fluency in CSS, JavaScript, PHP and MySQL make make him the “turn-to” man for many high-profile clients. Coauthor of Accelerated DOM Scripting and The Art and Science of CSS, he writes regularly at his popular blog snook.ca, and for Digital Web and Sitepoint. Jonathan also works with his partners at Sidebar Creative, makers of world-class websites and innovative applications.

Richard Worth

Richard Worth

Richard D. Worth is a Web developer in the Washington, DC area. He works for Fulcrum IT on web services contracts, primarily for the government. Richard is one of the lead developers of jQuery UI, a component framework built on top of jQuery, designed to make Rich Internet Applications as simple as jQuery has made Ajax. Richard is also a contributing author on dmxzone.com, writing regular beginner and advanced jQuery UI articles, and has been selected as a Technical Reviewer for a book on jQuery UI to be published in the fall.

Paul Bakaus

Paul Bakaus

Paul Bakaus is a UI architect living in Germany. He’s the creator and lead of jQuery UI and works for the open source company Liferay in a full-time sponsored position to jQuery UI. He’s responsible for the overall direction and roadmap of jQuery UI and he enjoys speaking about his user interface work in many places of the world. He’s also a member of the jQuery core team and takes part in the discussion of the overall direction of the jQuery project. In the past, he was largely responsible for creating the jQuery dimensions plugin (which is now part of the jQuery core) and worked together with Stefan Petre on the rich effects and components library Interface.

Yehuda Katz

Yehuda Katz

In addition to being the co-author of jQuery In Action, Yehuda Katz is a contributor to Ruby in Practice and co-author of the upcoming Merb in Action. He is a core contributor to DataMapper and jQuery. Before coming to Engine Yard, he worked for on a construction management tool written in Ruby on Rails and jQuery. Yehuda is a Merb core developer, contributes to Rubinius, and is taking a lead role in the development of Engine Yard’s new Control Panel.

Aza Raskin

Aza Raskin

Aza Raskin is the founder of Humanized (now part of Mozilla), Songza, and Bloxes. The son of Apple software pioneer Jef Raskin, he brings a keen interest in human interface design to everything he does.

Karl Swedberg

Karl Swedberg

After having taught high school English, edited copy for an advertising agency, and owned a coffee house, Karl Swedberg began his career as a web developer three years ago. He now works for Fusionary Media in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he specializes in client-side scripting and interaction design. Karl is an “Evangelist” for the jQuery JavaScript Library and the co-author of two books, Learning jQuery and jQuery Reference Guide.

Scott Jehl

Scott Jehl

Scott Jehl is a designer at Filament Group, a Boston, MA studio specializing in web application design and development. At Filament, Scott and his colleagues frequently contribute design and code to the jQuery community, and recently built ThemeRoller, a theme design application for jQuery UI. Scott leads the design team at jQuery, and runs WriteMaps, an ajax web application for building visual website sitemaps. He enjoys wake/skate/snowboarding, being outdoors, and spending time with his wife Stephanie and their two cats.

Jonathan Sharp

Jonathan Sharp

Jonathan Sharp is a standards driven freelance web designer and developer. With experience in both frontend and backend technolgoies he brings value in integration delivering a seamless user experience. Jonathan has also developed a number of jQuery plugins such as jdMenu, jdNewsScroll and positionBy. Prior to freelancing, Jonathan worked for Union Pacific Railroad, CSC and Motorola, Inc. in Chicago after helping found Imprev, Inc. in Bellevue, WA in early 2000. He lives in Nebraska with his wife, Erin, and their daughter Noel. When not working he enjoys spending time with his family, playing with their dogs, and riding off into the sunset on Micah, his draft horse.

Kevin Hoyt

Kevin Hoyt

Kevin Hoyt is a Platform Evangelist with Adobe Systems, Inc. Passionate about engaging user experiences, you’ll most often find him meeting with customers, speaking at conferences, presenting online seminars, or just enjoying the chance to share ideas and brainstorm with other developers. When not on the road, Kevin enjoys spending time with his family, photography and general aviation.

Cody Lindley

Cody Lindley

Cody Lindley is a Christian, husband, son, brother, professional web developer, and outdoor enthusiast. He spends the majority of his time sleeping and working, but who doesn’t? In between the daily routines of the average American, he desires an existence that entails a relationship with God, family, and nature. He considers himself a bookworm and a novice theologian, but truth be told, he simply enjoys watching movies and playing Xbox way too much. He is thankful for the luxury of pursuing his profession as a personal passion. More details can be found about cody on his site codylindley.com.

Mike Alsup

Mike Alsup

Mike Alsup is a Senior Developer at Click Commerce in Rochester, NY. He has been developing software solutions for 15 years with a current focus on Java, Swing, J2EE and web applictions. Involved with the jQuery project since near its inception in early 2006, Mike has authored many popular plugins including the Form Plugin, BlockUI, Taconite and Cycle.

Agenda:

Beginner Advanced
9:00 – 9:30
Registration, Breakfast
9:30 – 9:55
State of jQuery – John Resig
10:00 – 10:50 Learning jQuery – Karl Swedberg Optimizing jQuery Core – John Resig
11:00 – 11:50 jQuery Case Studies – Cody Lindley
and Jonathan Snook
Writing Scalable jQuery Applications – Yehuda Katz
12:00 – 1:00
Lunch
1:00 – 1:50 Rich Interactivity, Simplified with jQuery UI – Richard Worth An In-Depth Look at jQuery UI – Paul Bakaus
2:00 – 2:50 Designing Reusable jQuery Components – Scott Jehl Desktop Applications with jQuery and Adobe AIR – Kevin Hoyt
3:00 – 3:50 Making the Case for jQuery – Jonathan Sharp Using jQuery in Firefox Extensions – Aza Raskin
4:00 – 4:50 Your First jQuery Plugin – Mike Alsup Building Robust jQuery Plugins – Joern Zaefferer
5:00 – 6:00
Dinner
Later
Cambridge Brewing Company for drinks and socializing

Full details of the individual sessions, biographies of the speakers, and additional conference information is forthcoming.

Death to JavaScript Rock Stars!

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We’ve been listening to your feedback today, about the new jQuery site redesign and one thing has become clear:


Death to JavaScript Rock Stars!

Poor dude didn’t even last 24 hours. We wanted to have some fun with the home page, but this bordered on a little too “extreme” for most tastes.

We plan on bringing some further revisions to the homepage in the future, but in the meantime here’s a quick overhaul, put together by the always-excellent Scott Jehl, that’ll help tide everyone over:

jQuery Homepage

As a token of our appreciation for sticking with the “JavaScript Rock Star” for a day we’ve included a little Easter Egg in the new site. It would be useful if you knew the Konami Code.

Naturally, the whole redesign still has many tweaks that’ll be made over the next couple weeks, especially to individual page fonts, font sizes, and colors.

I want to, once again, thank Scott Jehl for all the hard work that he’s been putting in to the site design – and the excellent Varick Rosete (of nGenWorks and Happy Webbies) for the great illustration that he drew for us.

Here’s to many happy days of rockin’ out with jQuery!

jQuery Site Redesign – The Community Speaks

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As many of you have seen by now, the jQuery Project’s site has been redesigned. It had been a long overdue task and it was important to put a fresh new spin on the main hub, and the face, of jQuery. One of the things about the jQuery Project is that we’ve never run with the crowd or accepted the norm. By pushing boundaries and sometimes being “in your face” we’ve not only grown tremendously in popularity but we’ve pushed most of the other JS library projects to rethink their own principles and make changes to improve their products. That’s a good thing for everyone as competition is always good.

So, it should come as no surprise by the drastic change in the jQuery website. So far, the single biggest complaint has been associated with the new banner (ie: rockstar caricature & slogan). Again, we wanted to push the boundaries and come up with something that would generate a lot of buzz. Overall, we’ve succeeded in that goal with plenty of positive feedback but unfortunately, with some very negative comments as well. We actually value both types of feedback and want more as it’s the only way to determine if we’re on the right track. As with any site redesign, you can’t please everyone and we understand that. But we also want everyone to realize that this is a first cut and it doesn’t mean that it can’t be tweaked.

We’re actively reviewing all of the feedback and will certainly be looking at how to best handle some of the concerns of the community. After all, the community is what makes the jQuery Project so special and so different from other projects. In addition, the jQuery team has always listened to the needs of the community and this time is no exception. Again, I think the team is unique in that we *DO LISTEN* to the community and we’re going to work on making the site an invaluable tool for everyone. So just give us some time to go through the messages and keep an eye on this blog for updates.
Thanks for your patience and we truly appreciate your feedback.

jQuery.com Site Redesign

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We’ve just pushed out a brand new site redesign (for jQuery.com and all its sub-sites). This has been a long time coming and it feels great to get it out the door.

New Homepage

jQuery.com

Easily the most contentious part of the redesign – but absolutely the most eye-catching.

jQuery has long been driven by rock, even looking back to its original release which was heavily inspired by the always-excellent Devo. We shot for a catchy design that helped to bring JavaScript out of the cold doldrums that it frequently inhabits – giving it a serious jolt of fun.

New Site Layout

jQuery Docs

The entirety of the site has a new layout. With drastically improved multi-layer navigation and a standardized sidebar it should become much easier to navigate the individual portions of the site.

You should probably wear a hard hat while exploring the interior pages – font sizes, spacing, and colors are all in need of tweaking, which will be handled over the upcoming week (it’s fun working against Trac, WordPress, Drupal, and Mediawiki simultaneously).

New Logo

jQuery Logo

The original jQuery logo was a variation of the Devo hat – we’ve taken that concept, turned it on its ear, and made it something that we can call our own – while still being inspired by the original contours of the Devo Energy Dome.

Thanks

Site and Logo Design: Scott Jehl – he put a fantastic amount of work into this redesign, bringing it all the way from conception to final implementation.

Rockin’ Illustration: Varick Rosete from nGenWorks also of Happy Webbies fame.

Initial Logo Prototyping: Bradley Sepos.

Also want to thank Media Temple for our hosting. They’ve been helping us a lot this past week migrating our sites to some new servers – expect some speed improvements for the sub-domains very soon.

Registration Open for jQuery Conference 2008

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Registration for jQuery Conference 2008 is officially open. Register now to ensure your spot!
As announced, this one-day conference will be held in Boston on Sunday, September 28, and will feature two tracks of presentations (beginner and advanced) from jQuery project members and a few special guest speakers. A registration fee of $50 will help cover the cost of the venue, as well as food, beverages, and T-shirts for all attendees.

We’re finalizing a convenient venue, especially for those who will be attending The Ajax Experience conference the following Monday through Wednesday. We’re still firming up the agenda as well, but you can expect this to be a blow-out event.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at events [at] learningjquery.com