Popular JavaScript Frameworks

Short overview of helpful frameworks any javascrpt programmer should use

Few JavaScript programmers can fail to appreciate the usefulness of frameworks. Although some purists may frown upon their use, the best of them have prevented thousands from wasting their time in creating code that already exists. Written and tested by experts, many of these frameworks are as free of bugs as they are speedy in execution. Here are just a few of the best.


As its large and supportive user community will attest, the popular and flexible jQuery is one of the best JavaScript frameworks available today. This licensed open-source freeware lets you add special effects, execute Ajax requests and perform endless experiments with DOM elements.

jQuery gives developers the option of creating or borrowing plug-ins to extend its already robust set of capabilities. Any Web page can link to a local or public copy of the jQuery library, and its comprehensive cross-browser compatibility keeps those carefully rendered pages from falling to pieces when viewed in a different browser.

Among other things, jQuery gives its users the ability to:

– Directly assign attributes.
– Manage events.
– Pass callbacks to DOM manipulation methods.
– Write their own libraries.


Already distributed with Ruby on Rails, Rico and other large projects, Prototype is also available as a standalone. The useful extensions and multi-browser compatibilities that this object-oriented JavaScript framework makes available are just two reasons for its growing popularity.

The similarity of Prototype’s syntax to CSS makes it easy to use and understand, and its programming features make short work of dealing with the clumsier Ajax and DOM interfaces. In addition to supporting event and form handling, Prototype enables chaining and provides built-in functions for string, array and document objects.

Its features include:

– Special handling of XML HTTP requests.
– Library function support for class and class-based objects.
– Ajax object abstraction for compatibility with different browsers.
– Support for more object-oriented development.


Although it might evoke visions of the barnyard, the name is actually short for “My Object-Oriented Tools.” You can experiment with its code until the cows come home and still not tire of the possibilities. Modular and compact, MooTools permits the development of customized components. Its built-in functions facilitate the easy manipulation of JavaScript objects, CSS and DOM elements and more, allowing the developer to modify them under a wide variety of circumstances.

The MIT-licensed, open-source MooTools framework boasts a thoroughly tested compatibility with Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer 6 and up, Opera and Safari. It offers:

– A framework that’s both extensible and modular.
– Obedience to object-oriented programming practices.
– Complete control over the DOM elements.

Dojo Toolkit

Adhering to Web standards, the platform of this compact and speedy HTML5 mobile framework supports coding for iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, tablets, Android and RIM smartphones. In addition, the cross-browser compatibility of its 2D vector graphics APA simplifies the coding of charts and other visuals.

The entire open-source Dojo Toolkit consists of images, assorted themes, widgets and upwards of three thousand modules. Available for download as a ZIP file, it provides:

– Toolkit-compatible AMD modules.
– Optional third-party AMD loaders.
– Customized, scalable apps in AMD-module format.

Ext JS

Ext JS supports the building of interactive Web applications with Ajax, DHTML, DOM scripting and more while providing interoperabilty with jQuery and Prototype. Although Ext JS allows for the use of external libraries, this is never mandatory. Its HTML editor and extensive array of GUI-based widgets permit easy control of:

– Text, textarea and numeric fields.
– Pop-up date pickers.
– List, combo and checkboxes.
– Radio buttons.
– Vector graphics.
– Grids and trees.

Putting an End to Reinvented Code

Why throw away your valuable time writing code that already exists? By freeing developers to turn the bulk of their talents toward creating well-behaved websites, JavaScript frameworks have contributed to their own popularity, and this bodes well for their continued existence.