Friday, February 8, 2008

Firebug and Ajax

Last night, I attended a NEJUG (New England Java Users Group) meeting which featured a talk titled "Designing for Ajax" given by Nathaniel T. "Nate" Schutta who has apparently spoken at several No Fluff Just Stuff conferences and co-authored the book Foundations of Ajax. It was an excellent talk, one of the best ones I've seen at a NEJUG meeting. He discussed a few Ajax JavaScript libraries/packages (Prototype, Scriptaculous, YUI, and Lightbox, for example) and coded several examples in front of the audience. He definitely made Ajaxifying what were previously flat web pages look quite simple. There were always caveats (to paraphrase, "In a production environment, you'd need to add a delay here so that you wouldn't get tool-tips popping up all over the place."), but the libraries seem to handle that mostly with sensible defaults. Although it wasn't directly related to Ajax, he also pointed out while doing the coding demos that he was using Firebug and YSlow for Firebug, very cool add-ons for Firefox that help you tune your web pages. Firebug includes a JavaScript debugger, powerful CSS helpers, and a bunch more. If you haven't used them before, you should check it out.


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