16 January 2009

jQuery 1.3.0 and Google AJAX Libraries

I used to use Prototype and script.aculo.us, but once I tried jQuery there was no going back. It makes my Javascript coding so much simpler! Arguably, so do the other libraries out there, but there are a million reasons why I love jQuery. Here's a few:

  • It's fast
  • Fairly well documented
  • Doesn't rely on any other libraries
  • Did I mention fast?
  • and many more...
I found out via Twitter the other day that it had been updated to the next major version: 1.3. This is a phenomenal leap for jQuery. It has improved its speed and efficiency by huge factors. It's also added some new functionality and a cool new API doc.

But that's not all. Something I've been trying to start using is the Google CDN versions of these Javascript libraries. It seems they're staying on top of hot new releases and proving that using their service will provide certain benefits.

It still has potential though. Who knows how far Google will go with hosting these libs and their derivatives? And as all of these libraries start to inter-depend, shouldn't we have some way to cater for the dependencies in a measurable fashion?

What if the choice of library isn't a fixed entity! For instance, you may build a CMS incorporating some jQuery stuff, but what's to say that you don't want some MooTools in there? All available through Google, but you have to trawl to the AJAX APIs pages, check the versions and type the code.

Whilst it's not critical at this stage (as there are only a few libraries), it would be good to organise this in some sort of consumable service. How about a neat XML feed that gives you all available versions of all the libraries they have AND explicitly identifies any dependencies?

I have produced said feed! It is currently residing at http://scrumpy-jack.com/google/jslib-dependencies.xml but I want Google to host and maintain it as part f the AJAX Libraries API project. Vote for that here: http://code.google.com/p/google-ajax-apis/issues/detail?id=90

If you find the feed useful let me know in the comments. I will be keeping it up to date and soon I'll post some sample code for consuming the data in PHP.

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