YUI 2.6 Improves Widgets, Accessibility

by Ostatic Staff - Oct. 02, 2008

Yahoo announced yesterday that it was releasing version 2.6 of its popular Yahoo User Interface (YUI) library, a collection of JavaScript objects and functions for client-side Web programming. YUI, distributed under the BSD license, is similar to such open-source JavaScript libraries as jQuery (see related story), Dojo, and Prototype/Scriptaculous. Note that this release is not the same as YUI 3.0, a preview of which was released earlier this year, and which will not be backward compatible with version 2.x.

YUI is a popular open-source library among many programmers, because it combines rich built-in functionality with a large number of widgets, such as calendars, scrollers, and carousels. It also provides a number of other useful types of objects and functions, handling everything from the compression of outgoing content to YUI to CSS layouts to a rich text editor. YUI is obviously used by Yahoo itself on its applications, but many other sites have adopted it as well, including such well-known sites as , but by many other sites as well, including Target.com, Slashdot.org, LinkedIn, and PayPal.com YUI has also been adopted as the JavaScript library for the open-source Moodle framework, meaning that the many thousands of Moodle sites use YUI, as well.

This version includes some new functionality, including a new carousel control and an updated paginator control. These make it easy for users to scroll through large amounts of visual and textual data, and give programmers new ways to present that data, without having to refresh the page. The text editor now includes "undo" and "redo" functionality. This version of YUI also includes many functions that make current functionality more accessible, with a promise for more on this front in the coming weeks.

While YUI continues to provide impressive and attractive functionality, along with excellent documentation, examples, and an active community, it has not yet been adopted as the "official" JavaScript library for any major Web development platform. Ruby on Rails has long used Prototype/Scriptaculous, and both Django and Zend Framework have picked Dojo. This doesn't mean that you cannot use YUI with these other frameworks, but it does make it more difficult, and less standard, to do so. There is some user-generated documentation describing how to integrate YUI with Rails, for example, but the integration is far from complete, and means giving up some of the built-in Rails-JavaScript functionality.