My first thoughts on Dojo

There is a little known (to me) javascript library out there called Dojo I dove into this week.  Basically it is a massive open source javascript library focused on UI and AJAX.  So visiting their website(very nicely done btw) and checking out some of the examples I was pretty impressed with what could be done pretty easily.  My goal during the whole process was to build a drag and drop + resizable widget which is useful for some projects I’m working on.  After a few days of tinkering I have learned a lot and see that advantages of Dojo.  It can be painfully simple to do common task using Dojo, although you need to get your hands a bit dirty if you need additional functionality out of a widget.  I was unsuccessful in getting my widget working without modifying the resizable widgets source.  I guess I’ve made new widget now altogether. 

To date my main criticism of dojo is the documentation.  I’m not going to go so far to say there isn’t any, but it is really lacking for someone that wants to do more than just the simple examples they have shown.  The book of dojo is a nice run broad rundown of things while the most useful part of it is the examples you get when you download the scripts.  On the dojo website they mention a few books out now, so I may jump on that.

It is also worth noting I have been trying to get this same functionality out of Microsoft’s ASP.net Ajax with minimal success.  I have found using a .net update panel combined with the ASP.net ajax controls can be a significant headache if you want to extend the basic features even minimally.  One would assume the onResize event invoked by a resize control would be able to trigger an update panel, think again.

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Javascript 2.0

Jeremy Martin posted up a nice run down of the proposed Javascript 2.0 spec:

Well I suppose it’s an undeniable fact about us programmer-types – every now and then we just can’t help but get excited about something really nerdy. For me right now, that is definitely JavaScript 2.0. I was just taking a look at the proposed specifications and I am really, truly excited about what we have coming.

This is a pretty big deal all in all.  Web 2.0 and AJAX type sites are all driven with javascript.  Looking over some of the proposed additions it should be something to look forward to!

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