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Introducing Prototype and Scriptaculous Part 2

  • March 9, 2007
  • By Dave Crane and Bear Bibeault with Tom Locke
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In these two articles, we looked at the development of Ajax technologies. As long ago as the late 1990s, preliminary explorations of asynchronous communication between the browser and server were being undertaken, mostly in isolation. In early 2005, the coining of the name Ajax provided a much-needed focal point for these explorations. Since then, there has been a major drive towards increasing the ease of development of Ajax, in which frameworks and libraries are playing an important part. It is no longer sufficient to be able to make an Ajax app work; we now need it to work smoothly and robustly, and it must be easy to develop and maintain.

We introduced Prototype and Scriptaculous, two best-of-breed JavaScript and Ajax libraries, and we looked at their main purposes and constituent pieces. Prototype is a relatively low-level library, providing additional language features and facilities. Scriptaculous makes use of Prototype to provide a number of higher-level widgets and components, mostly aimed at creating user interfaces.

Both libraries use a number of advanced JavaScript techniques internally, and even introduce some new advanced features of their own. However, using these libraries in the most straightforward way does not require a detailed understanding of these capabilities. We introduced a simple Ajax example app and refactored it using Prototype and Scriptaculous. Internally, the libraries are complex, and reading their source code, one might suppose that a degree in rocket science is necessary to understand them. However, our refactoring showed this not to be the case, and we firmly believe that the average coder can make quick wins by using these libraries. We'll continue to explore the libraries in more depth throughout this book, and demonstrate how you can benefit from their raw power.

About the Authors

Dave Crane is an Ajax authority and lead author of the best-selling Ajax in Action. He is currently senior developer for UK-based Historic Futures Ltd., developing the next generation of socially responsible supply-chain systems using Ajax to link rural cooperatives and multinational corporations.

Michael "Bear" Bibeault is a US-based Java programmer with over 20 years' experience in enterprise and Web applications. He's a popular moderator on The Java Ranch and coauthor of the upcoming Ajax in Practice.

Tom Locke is an UK-based independent web developer and trainer specializing in Ruby on Rails. He is the creator of Logix, a multi-language programming system, and the CTO of LiveLogix.

Source of This Material

Prototype and Scriptaculous in Action
By Dave Crane and Bear Bibeault with Tom Locke
ISBN: 1-933988-03-7
Published by Manning Publications Co., March 2007
Paperback: 544 pages, Retail price: $49.99
MEAP + Softbound print + ebook - $49.99
MEAP + ebook only - $25.00
This material is Chapter 1 of the book.
Reprinted with the publisher's permission.

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