jQuery sure seems to be everywhere, and with good reason: Its creators took all of the neat ideas from libraries like Prototype, Dojo, and Yahoo's YUI, then turned them into something easier to use. When jQuery nurtured a fertile plug-in culture, the library became irreplaceable.
YUI (Yahoo User Inferface)
One of the stated goals of HTML5, at least for some groups, is to replace the Flash plug-in, the gold standard for making sprites and letters dance across the screen. This change is slowly coming as the game industry and the presentation industry start to duplicate some of the sophisticated tools available in the Flash universe. Mashi is an impressive example of how the sprites can be set in motion. It offers more than several dozen standard easing functions for moving sprites along a timeline.
Like jQuery and YUI, MooTools offers nice, browser-independent shorthand for manipulating arrays, divs, spans, and whatnot. My favorite part continues to be the custom library construction tool that lets you select the functions you want. Check some boxes and get an entirely optimized version of MooTools with just the functions you need and none of the bloat you don't. That's lightweight.
In theory, nothing could be easier than sticking a video tag into your HTML. In practice, the behavior of so many supposedly standard-compliant browsers is different enough that you'll be pulling out your hair if you try to support all of them. A number of good HTML5 libraries let you write standard HTML5 video tags that will be replaced with Flash or QuickTime if the browser isn't ready to handle your video. The Video for Everybody project offers one of the better libraries, filled with features that operate in the background to smooth delivery on older browsers like IE8.
If the pundits are correct, there are many, many terabytes of data just waiting for people to come along and try to make sense of the bits. The first generation of HTML5 libraries was more focused on building forms and generating tables. Now a number of libraries are zeroing in on building charts and drawing graphs on the
Also among the libraries aimed at chart building is JSCharts, which allows you to easily create charts in different templates like bar charts, pie charts, or simple line graphs.
Flot for its part produces graphical plots of arbitrary datasets on-the-fly client-side, and it includes interactive features like zooming and mouse tracking.
Some libraries go even further for data visualization. The collection of demos for Protovis and its newer cousin D3 -- a name meant as shorthand for Data Driven Documents -- show how sophisticated constructions like Voronoi diagrams and network graphs can illustrate more than the up and down of some value.
Simile Widgets offers a different collection of views for data visualization that are more focused on maps and timelines. Each of these data visualization projects illustrate how we're just beginning to come up with good ways of turning data into pictures that can help us absorb large volumes of information quickly and efficiently.
Most of us will continue to use the big mapping libraries for standard jobs like showing street addresses. But what if you want to do something different, like change the rendering or fiddle with layers in ways the big libraries don't allow? Tile5 can pull the mapping tiles from such sources as GeoCommons, then lay them out so that the user can shove them around just like the maps from Google, Mapquest, or Yahoo. But there are other opportunities: The animation operation can change any of the parameters of the display. This is usually used for panning across the map and landing in one spot.
As the mobile browsers begin to dominate the Web, it becomes more and more important to package the information in a form that's easier to browse on smartphones and tablets. That's not so easy when the fingers are fat and the eyes can't focus on small fonts. jQuery Mobile, Jo, and Sencha Touch are three libraries that offer touch-friendly menus that dig down into data structures and present the information for the small screen.
Blackbird is a stand-alone library that pops up a separate console window that looks quite elegant. You can set four levels of bugs and the user can turn the messages on or off. A profiler is ready to time the routines on the local browser.
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