During the past few weeks we’ve been publishing our “Best of 2009” series in which we’ve shown you the best WordPress themes, fonts, icons, and Photoshop Tutorials. In this article, our focus is on jQuery. Over the past couple of years jQuery has been growing in popularity, which means more and more plugins are being created to make web designers’ lives easier. Here are our favorites from 2009.
This year we saw a growing popularity in using content sliders as a way to display several pieces of content within a limited area or to engage the user with the sliding animation. Normally this is done in a featured banner area near the top of the page. There were several jQuery plugins written in ’09 to accomplish this type of effect, but here are our favorites.
AnythingSlider is created by Chris Coyier of CSS-Tricks and is a fully featured slider that is widely useful.
Easy Slider is a content slider that gives you the the option to choose between classic previous/next navigation or to use a numeric “pagination” style navigation.
Coda-Slider 2.0 is aimed to mimic the slider effect on the promo page for Panic’s Coda software. The original version was hacked together in 2007, but this 2.0 version is built from the ground up.
jQuery Panel Gallery is a compact image gallery that can easily be configured. Not one image needs to be sliced or edited to work with this plugin. The plugin handles everything itself. You can even configure fading transitions per image.
slideViewer checks for the number of images within your list, and dynamically creates a set of links to command (slide) you pictures. Also, clicking on each image will make the gallery slide to the next picture.
Supersized cycles images with transitions and preloading. It automatically resizes images to fill browser while maintaining image dimension ratio.
I believe navigation is an aspect of a web site that should kept simple and easy to use. However, if there is a need to create a more engaging nav, jQuery is your best bet. Here are a few of the best from ’09.
This isn’t a plugin, but I had to include it since it is such a cool effect. It’s a horizontal scroll menu that scrolls automatically according to your mouse axis-Y movement.
Forms and Tables
Working with forms and tables is probably not the most glamorous part of web design and development, but it has to be done. There were several plugins released this year to help you spice things up a bit. Here are our favorites.
Password Strength tries to calculate how many possibilities the hacker needs to try to guess your password.
Ajax Fancy Captcha is a jQuery plugin that helps you protect your web pages from bots and spammers. It introduces a new, intuitive way of completing “verify humanity” tasks.
Chromatable allows you to easily create scrolling tables with fixed headers.
jqTransform is a styling plugin which allows you to skin form elements.
Uploadify allows the easy integration of a multiple (or single) file uploads on your website.
jExpand is ultra lightweight jQuery plugin that will make your tables expandable. Typical for line of business applications, this feature can help you organize tables better. This way, tables can hold more information such as images, lists, diagrams and other elements.