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A Close Look at the Scriptaculous DHTML Library


Many web surfers enjoy using Rich Internet Applications. They can be painful for a developer to create, however, especially when it comes to the front end. That's where the Scriptaculous JavaScript library comes in. This article, the first in a series, introduces you to this versatile software for developing user interfaces.

Author Info:
By: Alejandro Gervasio
Rating: 5 stars5 stars5 stars5 stars5 stars / 10
April 04, 2007
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
  1. · A Close Look at the Scriptaculous DHTML Library
  2. · Creating basic DHTML effects with Scriptaculous
  3. · Using other core DHTML effects
  4. · Getting the most out of the MoveBy DHTML effect

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A Close Look at the Scriptaculous DHTML Library
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Introduction

As you'll probably agree with me, today's Web is quickly becoming a huge and exciting development scenario, where Rich Internet Applications (RIA) have found a relevant place. This fact can certainly be clearly observed every time you visit different web sites.

These days it's pretty common to see how a broad range of full-featured graphic user interfaces have been incorporated into diverse web applications to provide visitors with the ability to perform a variety of tasks that were only available in desktop-like programs just a few years ago.

The implementation of functional DHTML components, such as dynamic navigational bars, highly-customized search engines, and AJAX-based front-ends, to name some notorious examples, have changed forever the way that users navigate across web sites. In their way, they have improved users' entire surfing experience.

However, while the above described panorama indeed introduces many benefits for thousands of users that surf the Web every day, the truth is that creating Rich Internet Applications can be a daunting task, particularly if this process is analyzed from a developer's point of view. And this situation can become even worse when it comes to creating eye-catching user interfaces.

However, not all is bad news concerning the development of highly-appealing front-ends for inclusion into web applications. In the last two years, some third-party DHTML libraries have emerged. They are aimed at making this process as painless as possible. More specifically speaking, there's one package that has caught the attention of many web developers due to its remarkable capacity for building impressive visual effects with minor effort.

In this case, I'm talking specifically of the Scriptaculous JavaScript library. At least to me, it seems to be one of the most versatile and easy-to-use pieces of software for developing professional-looking user interfaces with no hassles. Indeed, this library comes equipped with a decent arsenal of pre-built DHTML and AJAX objects, since it uses the popular Prototype framework, and it can be included into any web page very easily to facilitate the development of richer web applications.

And before I forget, the official web site of this animation framework is located at http://www.script.taculo.us, in case you want to download its source files.

Okay, considering that this JavaScript package can be as useful to you as it is to me, in this three-part series, I'm going to take a close look at it, specifically covering its DHTML module. Hopefully, by the end of this set of articles, you'll have a solid background in how to implement the numerous visual effects that come bundled with this library, which can be applied to any element of a web document.

All right, now that you know what you'll learn in this series, let's step forward and start discovering the neat DHTML capabilities offered by Scriptaculous. Let's begin this educational journey now!


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