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Introduction to JavaScript libraries

From: JavaScript Essential Training

Video: Introduction to JavaScript libraries

JavaScript is a small language. We really have covered most of it already. But unlike technologies like Java or .NET or Cocoa, it doesn't have dozens of built-in libraries with thousands of objects for us to use. So we are now at the point where we need to start thinking about writing a bunch of code. But you know the things that we want to do with JavaScript are probably not all that different from what other people have wanted to do with JavaScript over the years. And the great thing is some of those people already wrote a lot of the code you need and bundled it together into the form of one of many JavaScript libraries.

Introduction to JavaScript libraries

JavaScript is a small language. We really have covered most of it already. But unlike technologies like Java or .NET or Cocoa, it doesn't have dozens of built-in libraries with thousands of objects for us to use. So we are now at the point where we need to start thinking about writing a bunch of code. But you know the things that we want to do with JavaScript are probably not all that different from what other people have wanted to do with JavaScript over the years. And the great thing is some of those people already wrote a lot of the code you need and bundled it together into the form of one of many JavaScript libraries.

Now a JavaScript library simply means a bunch of JavaScript somebody else wrote so you don't have to. So what are these libraries? There are dozens of them. Here's just a few. Some of these libraries, like Google's Closure Library or MooTools or the Yahoo! YUI Library, are considered general-purpose JavaScript libraries. They have a whole lot of functions that help with navigating through the DOM. They include code for cross-browser detection, so it's easier to work with events without worrying about which version of Internet Explorer your user might have, or working with animation. They make it easy to have your JavaScript request information from a web server, then update the page when it gets a response, something often referred to as AJAX.

To use any of these libraries, I just simply go there and download it. jQuery here, for example, gives me an option of choosing the minified version or the full development one. It is just JavaScript. You just download it and link to it the same way you'd link to a file of your own code. It is just JavaScript, so technically you're not getting anything you couldn't have written yourself, but it might have taken your months to write all this stuff. Now on the other hand, some JavaScript libraries are more specialized. Rather than be general purpose, things like Lightbox are simply JavaScript libraries for popping up images on your web site.

You've probably seen these ones before. They might be for slideshows. They might be for implementing things like drag-and-drop and working with accordions. They could be as simple as a library that just helps you add curved corners to your divs. Now most of these libraries are open source and they are free. There is no licensing. You simply grab the code and use it, do whatever you want with it. So I encourage you to explore what's available, and new ones are appearing all the time.

Now if you go back a few years, there was a lot of competition between the different libraries, but a clear winner did emerge. And the most popular general purpose JavaScript Library, by a mile, is jQuery. We are going to talk about this one shortly. Now I occasionally have people ask if they should avoid these libraries and whether real JavaScript programmers, whatever that means, write everything themselves. And the answer is absolutely not. Knowing the JavaScript libraries, particularly jQuery, is a core skill for a JavaScript developer these days.

It's part of the landscape, and as soon as you've gotten a basic knowledge of JavaScript, like the one we have got so far, you'll want to start exploring these libraries. They really will make your life easier.

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This video is part of

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JavaScript Essential Training

56 video lessons · 104214 viewers

Simon Allardice
Author

 
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  1. 3m 28s
    1. Welcome
      1m 1s
    2. What you should know
      1m 44s
    3. Using the exercise files
      43s
  2. 15m 41s
    1. Introduction to JavaScript
      8m 6s
    2. Creating your first JavaScript
      2m 13s
    3. Getting to know the tools and applications
      5m 22s
  3. 56m 8s
    1. Understanding the structure of JavaScript code
      7m 9s
    2. Where to write your JavaScript
      3m 56s
    3. Creating variables
      6m 21s
    4. Working with conditional code
      5m 44s
    5. Working with operators
      13m 28s
    6. Sending messages to the console
      2m 59s
    7. Working with loops
      8m 1s
    8. Creating functions
      8m 30s
  4. 36m 13s
    1. Working with arrays
      7m 57s
    2. Working with numbers
      6m 13s
    3. Working with strings
      8m 27s
    4. Working with dates
      5m 38s
    5. Working with objects
      7m 58s
  5. 9m 6s
    1. What is the DOM?
      5m 49s
    2. Working with nodes and elements
      3m 17s
  6. 25m 17s
    1. Accessing DOM elements
      11m 3s
    2. Changing DOM elements
      5m 42s
    3. Creating DOM elements
      8m 32s
  7. 24m 45s
    1. Introduction to JavaScript event handling
      8m 16s
    2. Working with onClick and onLoad events
      7m 36s
    3. Working with onBlur and onFocus events
      2m 36s
    4. Working with timers
      6m 17s
  8. 21m 41s
    1. Common JavaScript errors
      7m 14s
    2. Using Firebug
      4m 7s
    3. Going through a debugging session
      10m 20s
  9. 10m 13s
    1. Accessing form elements
      4m 20s
    2. Preventing a form from being submitted
      2m 36s
    3. Hiding and showing form sections
      3m 17s
  10. 9m 49s
    1. CSS and JavaScript
      3m 46s
    2. Removing and applying CSS classes
      2m 16s
    3. Changing inline styles
      3m 47s
  11. 19m 44s
    1. Understanding JavaScript style
      7m 39s
    2. Minifying your code
      4m 28s
    3. Using JavaScript code checkers
      7m 37s
  12. 22m 24s
    1. Introduction to JavaScript libraries
      3m 17s
    2. Linking to multiple JavaScript files
      2m 11s
    3. Introduction to jQuery
      12m 7s
    4. Using a content distribution network to deliver JavaScript files
      4m 49s
  13. 17m 35s
    1. JavaScript in HTML5
      9m 37s
    2. Using Modernizr
      3m 2s
    3. Using Strict Mode
      4m 56s
  14. 33m 3s
    1. Knowing the JavaScript to avoid
      6m 35s
    2. Introduction to regular expressions
      6m 56s
    3. Working with AJAX
      10m 44s
    4. Working with objects and prototypes
      8m 48s
  15. 21m 10s
    1. Example: Countdown
      8m 3s
    2. Example: Resize
      5m 47s
    3. Example: Accordion
      7m 20s
  16. 4m 58s
    1. Where to go from here
      4m 0s
    2. Goodbye
      58s

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