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Adding a user interface with jQuery UI


jQuery UI Widgets

with Joe Chellman

Video: Adding a user interface with jQuery UI

Adding a user interface with jQuery UI provides you with in-depth training on Web. Taught by Joe Chellman as part of the jQuery UI Widgets
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Watch the Online Video Course jQuery UI Widgets
Video Duration: 5m 26s33m 53s Intermediate Nov 11, 2013

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Despite the possibilities offered in HTML5, there's still a call for customizable widgets that can be used in websites and web apps. jQuery UI, a popular plugin for jQuery, is here to answer that call. Joe Chellman shows how to install the plugin, use the accordion and date picker widgets, and add behaviors that change how existing page elements respond to user input. Finally, you'll apply the concepts you've learned to a typical project you might see coming from a client—a survey form.

This course is a short companion piece to jQuery for Web Designers. See that course for information about building your core jQuery skill set.

Joe Chellman

Adding a user interface with jQuery UI

If you're working on a website, you may have something very simple like this, to which you might want to add some interactivity, kind of spruce it up a little bit. One way you can do that, could result in turning this, into this. Gets many interactivity and animation all for free from the same relatively simple markup. And the way we're doing this is with jQuery UI. Just as jQuery is a library of JavaScript functions, jQuery UI is a library of jQuery and JavaScript functions, and some CSS.

Let's take a look at a few demos to see some of the things that jQuery can do. We just saw the accordion, which is these collapsible panels of Content. As you can see there are lots of different options available. I think one of the first things people think about when they think of jQuery is things like this. User interface widgets, and there's a bunch of them. Progress bars, sliders, tooltips, a bunch of stuff. So this is not a user interface widget as such, but it is a collection of JavaScript functions that make it easier to do certain things in a user interface that you're crafting.

So, in this case, we can make things look selectable. You can make items resizeable, sortable, and more. JQuery also includes a set of extended effects. One of the big ones that is not included in jQuery core, is animating the color of something. There are other utilities as well. JQuery is a massive library. So let's see how to install it. Just go to Download. And when you hit this page, you get a Download Builder, which lets you choose which components of jQuery UI that you want to download.

As you can see there is a lot of them. So what I usually do is toggle them All Off, and then add in the ones that I need for the particular project that I'm working on. So we're going to install just the ones that we need for this course. And you can skip all the core stuff because they'll be chosen automatically depending on which other pieces you want. So I'm going to choose the Accordion, The Date Picker, and then here under Interactions, I'm going to go for Sortable. And then finally, we're going to grab all the Effects. In addition, when we're looking at this example or where we start with plain looking HTML and then turn it into something like this, this is because there is a theme included.

Now you don't have to download a theme, you could make your own. What jQuery UI does behind the scenes, if I inspect this. Is it adds a bunch of classes, adds a bunch of JavaScript that we can use to hook into those classes to make things work the way they do here. So you could go entirely without a theme if you want to design your own, or you can use their custom theme builder. In this case, I am going to download a theme, and I'm using the Cupertino theme. So if we download that, and here it is. This is the custom version that I've just picked out. So if I unzip this, and take a look inside, I can see that I have CSS files, the development bundle, which is a whole bunch of stuff, that you, perhaps, don't need in production, and then the JavaScript files.

This includes a copy of jQuery, the non-minimized version, as well as a non-minimized version of the jQuery UI custom build and a minimized version. So the minimized version is probably the one you'll be calling most often. But, to use this stuff, drag it in here, and I'll usually rename this to just jQuery.ui, something like that. Now open up my install file. So, there's a few things that we need to include. First of all, we need to include the style sheet, using jQuery.ui in the same folder, and then let's grab the names of these. So Cupertino is the name of my theme.

So I'm going to copy the name of the file and its full path. So it's in css cupertino. So now we have the CSS loaded, and we'll also need to include the script files. These need to go after jQuery, because of course, we need jQuery loaded first. And then the rest of it will go here, jquery.ui/js. And then we'll just grab this one. We already have jquery loaded, so we don't need that. Just like this. Save this and go back to my install page, reload, and wallah, nothing happens.

We'll be looking at how to actually start using jQuery UI in upcoming movies. But now you know what jQuery UI is and how to install a custom build. I'll mention one more thing. You'll see at the bottom of every page on the jQuery UI website similar CDN installation methods, just like you'd see for jQuery itself. These will work fine, but they will include the entire library. So this can be pretty inefficient if you're not planning to use all of jQuery UI. They also point you only to the smoothness theme, although all the themes are available over their CDN.

So, that's a look at what jQuery UI is, and how to install your own custom build.

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