Choosing a JavaScript Framework

I’m working on a new website (one for me, not a client) and I need it to do some fancy visual things (lightboxing of images and HTML content, etc). Because there’s no point in re-inventing the wheel, this means using one of the many lightbox implementations available, which in turn means using a JavaScript framework of some kind.

Last year, having not previously used any frameworks, I kind of ‘fell into’ using Prototype (and occasionally Scriptaculous), mainly because a colleague was using them and I was working on a different bit of the same web application. Indeed, I used Prototype, Scriptaculous and Lightbox 2 when creating However, I always felt that using Prototype was a bit like renting a Chieftan tank to do the shopping – rather heavyweight, and does loads of things you’ll never need it to do (though that may depend on where you shop).

So this time around, I worked out exactly what I needed to achieve for this site, and then went hunting, first for a lightweight framework, and then for a lightbox script.

This site proved very helpful, and led me by a very round-about route to this one. By this point I was starting to think ‘maybe jQuery is the one for me’ and then this charmingly-biased article clinched it. The stuff that made the author choose jQuery is the kind of stuff that appeals to me, too.

Having ‘bagged’ my framework, the next task was to choose the lightbox script to sit on top of it. I went back to the first article, and initially wondered if I would be stuck, because none of the jQuery lightboxes in it looked any good (for example, Thickbox is way too clunky-looking). However, a quick Google turned up Facebox, which should fit the bill very nicely thankyou.

Initial testing is firmly behind my firewall, but hopefully the new site will be released soon…

Spread the love

Posted by News Monkey