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Top jQuery Plugins for 2012


In the past, we have delivered articles detailing some of the top jQuery plugins across such areas as images, forms, menus, and more. While those lists certainly offered some helpful plugins to help you maximize your siteís potential, more plugins have become available over time. With 2012 upon us, thereís much to look forward to in technological advances, and some members of the jQuery community have done their part by releasing fresh, new plugins. Here are some of the top jQuery plugins for 2012 that can improve your site and make life a bit easier at the same time.

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By: wubayou
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February 23, 2012

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In the past, we have delivered articles detailing some of the top jQuery plugins across such areas as images, forms, menus, and more. While those lists certainly offered some helpful plugins to help you maximize your siteís potential, more plugins have become available over time. With 2012 upon us, thereís much to look forward to in technological advances, and some members of the jQuery community have done their part by releasing fresh, new plugins. Here are some of the top jQuery plugins for 2012 that can improve your site and make life a bit easier at the same time.

Minimit Gallery Plugin

Minimit Gallery is a plugin that is intended for more advanced JavaScript programmers.  The reason for this is that the animations involved and the galleryís CSS must be coded.  With that being said, you can use the plugin to create slideshows, galleries, carousels, and more.  There are plenty of customization options that you can tweak to fit your siteís needs, and all of the functionality is achieved with less than 10KB. 

The possibilities offered by Minimit Gallery are extensive.  Besides typical slideshows, you can also leverage the pluginís power to create eye-catching menus, lists, and drop-downs.  The animations are impressive as well and make this a plugin thatís perfect for an advanced user looking to really spruce up the look of his or her site.

Link: http://www.minimit.com/works/minimit-gallery-plugin

jQuery File Upload

Integrating file upload functionality into your site allows your visitors to share content and helps to build conversation.  Of course, enabling file uploading serves many other purposes as well, but you get the picture.  The jQuery File Upload plugin is a nifty little addition to any site and offers a nice set of features.  It works with various server-side platforms such as PHP, Java, Python, Ruby on Rails, and the like.  Visitors can drag and drop files for quick and easy use, and thereís multiple file selection to help save time.  Progress bars show how far along the upload is just in case visitors get anxious.  By default, there is no restriction to the file type that can be uploaded and the same holds true for the file size.

Link: http://blueimp.github.com/jQuery-File-Upload/

Cloud Zoom

A plugin that allows visitors to zoom in on photos can come in handy on sites that are image-centric.  They also work well on sites where you are selling products and want potential buyers to have a closer look.  The author compares Cloud Zoom to the popular jQZoom plugin, but notes a few differences.  First, Cloud Zoom is more lightweight.  Second, it offers more features.  Third, it supplied better compatibility across browsers, which is a definite plus.  Cloud Zoomís implementation as a jQuery plugin is on display, as the author provides links to several sites that use it.

As for a closer look at Cloud Zoomís features, it supports a gallery mode, degrades gracefully at times where JavaScript is disabled, integrates well with basic valid HTML, and offers smooth zoom movement.  You can add tints of any color to minimized images, use inner zoom where page space is at a premium, and also apply a soft focus effect to the minimized images.

Link: http://www.professorcloud.com/mainsite/cloud-zoom.htm

AD Gallery

AD Gallery is a jQuery plugin worth looking at if you want to improve the look and organization of images on your site.  This gallery plugin is cross-browser compatible, easy to customize, and offers a host of features to give you complete control over the design and behavior of your galleries.  A couple features worth mentioning include keyboard control as well as the ability to click on the edge of an image to move back or forward in the gallery.

Link: http://coffeescripter.com/code/ad-gallery/

jQuery Continuous Calendar

Are you in need of some solid calendar functionality on your site?  If so, the jQuery Continuous Calendar plugin can help.  Whether you have a site that deals with reservations, planning, etc., this plugin will give you a full set of features that you can customize to give your visitors complete calendar functionality.  Different date formats are supported, as are popups and the ability to specify holidays.  Dates can be disabled too, and you can perform week select, month select, date dragging, range shift and expansion, and more.  jQuery Continuous Calendar is supported by all the major browsers. 

Link: http://reaktor.github.com/jquery-continuous-calendar/

Promptumenu

With so many smartphones in the form of iPhones, Android devices, and more falling into the hands of consumers, people are getting used to their touch-friendly interfaces.  The Promptumenu jQuery plugin plays off of this popularity by providing functionality similar to an iPhone or Androidís menu.  Itís rather simple in nature, but it could be useful if applied properly.

The basic intent of Promptumenu is to allow for a swiping gesture to help you navigate from one page of a menu to the next.  For instance, if a menu has too many icons to fit on one page, the rest are available on the next page.  Users can access these extra icons by swiping if they are on a mobile device with a touch-screen.  Similarly, if they are on a computer, they can move on to the next page by performing a swiping gesture with the mouse.  The jQuery plugin responds to the mouseís momentum and directs the user accordingly to the appropriate page.  Extra customization is offered through the plugin to allow you to tweak the number of icons on a page, as well as how the items scroll, either vertically or horizontally.

Link: http://natrixnatrix89.github.com/promptu-menu/

TextExt

The TextExt jQuery plugin offers a lot of bang for your buck.  Thatís figuratively speaking, of course, because itís free.  Its features include plugins for Tags, Autocomplete, AJAX loading, Placeholder text, and more.  Beyond the pure functionality TextExt provides, its design is another appealing aspect of the plugin.  The author stressed modularity and extensibility, so each piece of the main plugin can act separately from the core.  You can even extend each piece with other plugins if your desire as well.  All of this is provided in a lightweight manner that wonít bog down performance.

Link: http://textextjs.com/

 


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