When building for the modern web you often need to create useful UI components. Whether you need a calendar, slider, graph or anything else that’s useful for improving or simplifying user interaction, your options are either to create it yourself or leverage existing functionality.
Developing these components yourself is often time-consuming and complex, and unless you’re doing something entirely unique it’s often not a great use of your time. That is where UI libraries and frameworks come into play. These libraries simplify the process of creating common UI components. You can leverage these existing frameworks and customize them to suit your needs.
One of the largest and widely used frameworks is jQuery UI. It’s an extended set of widgets, effects, and themes built off of jQuery, separated into its own set of components. You can download all of the jQuery UI elements in a single bundle, or you can pick and choose the components and functionality you’re interested in. Using a collection like this lets you create a consistent appearance for your components and lets you get up and running with a minimal of fuss.
While jQuery UI works great and is a good go-to option, there are other frameworks out there that boast amazing, high-quality controls. In this article I will analyze a few of these to see how they stack up.