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Yet another list of ‘extremely useful’ jQuery plugins

January 8, 2010 6 comments

A while back, I posted an article listing the jQuery plugins I use most often in my projects. Thanks to a great developer community, new plugins are constantly being created and hence, my original list has changed somewhat.

Listed below, are those plugins I find most useful in that they’re easy to implement, and generally do what I need them to do, without much editing or interference from my side. Granted, you probably won’t find anything new here if you’ve already been around the block, but for those just starting out – this list may just save you a ton of time.

1. jQuery Form Plugin

If you need to submit forms and receive a response via AJAX, then look no further. With an accessible API already available, I’ve found this plugin to be extremely flexible and easy to use. What’s more is that the documentation provided is concise and to the point with good examples littered throughout.

2. Colorbox

We all know that by now there are a hundred and one different modal box plugins available for jQuery. I’ve played with most of them and I have to say that I’ve found Colorbox to be the most flexible and robust of the lot. What’s more is that it’s damn stylish to boot and pretty easy to customize.

3. jQuery UI Tabs

I really like jQuery UI. I love the theme roller, I love the fact that you can use only certain elements without having to resort to loading the entire library. As far as “Tabs” go, I haven’t found another plugin easier to use than this one. While the “tabs” plugin included with jQuery Tools is good as well, I just found it to be a little more rigid than that of jQuery UI.

4. jQuery UI Datepicker

Again, there are quite a few datepicker/calendar plugins out there, but few can compare to this particular script. Very easy to implement and with loads of configurable options, what’s not to like.

5. GalleryView

Like modal scripts there are about a million different gallery scripts available, some brilliant, others not so much. The trick is finding the right script for the situation. I’ve found though that in the majority of cases GalleryView fits the bill admirably. It’s stylish, easy to implement and clients are generally pleased with the flash like animation and functionality. Definitely worth a look.

6. jqPageFlow

Ok, so this is a bit of a shameless plug, but why else write your own plugin if you’re not going to use it often. I use this handy little script for almost every project where I need to display a list of records. It eliminates the headaches of pagination, though admittedly, it does take a little work to implement correctly.

7. jQuery Alert Dialogues

So yes, you can use a modal plugin to display informational dialogues, but I just find this plugin so much easier to implement. With callback support, styling customisation and various config options it’s really a pretty simple choice to make.

8. Superfish Menu

Almost every site lately requires a drop-down menu solution of some sort. Quite simply, Superfish has proven time and again to be the easiest and most customizable menu script I’ve ever worked with. Sure, it won’t suit every situation, but then you’re probably looking at writing a custom script anyway.

9. markItUp

I must admit that I’m not a big fan of WYSIWYG editors. Or more accurately, I’m not a fan of an editor in the hands of an end user who has no clue how markup actually works. When however you do have a more knowledgeable client, markItUp is brilliant. Not a WYSIWYG per se, but more of a markup editor with tons of options and customisation options.

There are of course quite a few more plugins I tend to use, depending on the project and situation at hand. Do you perhaps have suggestions for other plugins I should take a look at ? Drop a comment and let me know.

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