The Web 2.0 Movement Is Here. But What Does It Mean to You?
Dojo has a lot of similarities with Script.aculo.us in the way it is installed and used, but that is about all. It has a very different collection of pre-packaged widgets and different way to use them. The framework has very good intentions and an ambitious launch, but poor execution. As of the time of this writing, its version is 0.4.3, and it is not yet ready for production use. However, it does try to deliver the most useful features, widgets, and Web 2.0 styles to the web development. For example, it comes with a large library of controls, such as in-line editing, fisheye, exploding tooltips, dynamic trees, sortable tables, and so forth, but most of them are poorly documented, and require a lot of looking thorough a lot of code.
Note: The Editor widget is now deprecated.
Here is the Rich Text Editor screen:
The rich text editor, for instance, seems to have been upgraded to version 2 somewhere between Dojo 0.4.1 and 0.4.3, but most of the examples are for the original editor widget, and even the new one is rather buggy. On a positive note, the editor widget is the most ambitions, in terms of features and functionality, among any other AJAX framework. When all of the bugs are fixed, it can be a great addition to any site.
Most of the widgets are simply called with a CSS type or a custom type, such as this:
<textarea dojoType="Editor" items="bold;italic;underline;strikethrough;|;createLink;"> </textarea>
<div dojoType="Editor" items="textGroup"> some content </div>
<div class="dojo-Editor"> some content </div>
The fisheye widget is a lot of fun to use. It is similar to the Apple OS interface.
Some of the demos on the site have bugs, and may require some tinkering to get them to work correctly on you site.
Here are some more widgets included with Dojo: the tree and the buttons.
There is a lot of documentation online, some of it old or difficult to navigate, but overall if someone wants to implement compelling Web 2.0 features on the site, using this free toolkit, and is not discouraged by fixing some bugs, Dojo may be a good fit.
In this article, I have talked about Web 2.0, what it means for developers, for users, and for new companies. I have also described fundamental definitions of Web 2.0 and two of the frameworks for the "Web 2.0 style" development. It will be very interesting to see the evolution of the online social platforms, and the new uses for AJAX and Web 2.0 frameworks. For instance, the creators of Wikipedia are working on the social search, where web users will rate the results. And maybe there is a Web 3.0 on the horizon, as well.
- Dojo: http://dojotoolkit.org
- Dojo manual: http://manual.dojotoolkit.org/WikiHome
- Script.aculo.us: http://script.aculo.us
- Script.aculo.us documentation wiki
- Unofficial Prototype documentation by Sergio Pereira
- Amy Hoy's Cheat Sheet
- Jonathan Snook's Prototype Dissected
About the Author
Vlad Kofman is working on enterprise-scale projects for major Wall Street firms. He has also worked on defense contracts for the U.S. government. His main interests are object-oriented programming methodologies, UI, and design patterns.
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