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Still waiting for those YUI 3.0 widgets October 16, 2008

Posted by Michael Kowalski in coding, user interface.
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I went along to a YUI 3.0 briefing at Yahoo’s London HQ this evening, to see if I could catch a glimpse of their next gen widget set. Via a video link compered by Christian Heilmann at our end, we were given brief code presentations from the YDN team in the USA, covering topics like the new YUI constructor, dependency loading, node and nodeset wrappers, and drag-and-drop. But it’s the widgets I’m most interested in—imo, they are the most compelling reason to favour YUI over any of the other popular libraries if you’re building complex apps. 

The roadmap had predicted a first widgety release this month, and tonight they confirmed that they are on track to deliver 3.0.2 at the end of next week. But while it will contain a first draft of the new base class for widgets, the only actual widget in the package will be… the Logger. Um, seems like there’s some way to go.

On the plus side, the draft architecture looks elegant. They’re making a serious attempt to separate rendering out from behaviour more cleanly than in 2.x, and that’s very promising. The 2.x widget set suffers from too much behaviour baked into individual widgets, DataTable being the worst offender.

For example, in the 2.6 release they split out Paginator, which had formerly been a subclass of DataTable. That was great for me, as I was just about to roll up my sleeves and roll my own pagination for some custom widgets built on top of YUI. But DataTable stills includes a lot of behaviour that would be generally useful in other situations, eg. a nice selection model that deals with multiple selection; also edit-in-place. The “plugin” architecture in 3.0 means that with a bit of care these kinds of behavioural aspects will be implemented as pluggable modules that can be applied to other (especially custom) widgets. 

But not any time soon.

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