5 sites and 5 jQuery plug-ins - tools for daily use

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

This post looks at 5 sites that I use daily and 5 jQuery plug-ins that I use regularly. The aim of this post is to provide you with some useful tools that you can keep in your toolbox and hopefully they will also be of regular use to you. Both the sites and the plug-ins are practical, reliable and most importantly they do what they are supposed to do.

The sites that I have chosen are sites that I personally use frequently. I think it's important to know a bunch of good sites, it saves trying to remember too much: memorise the basics and keep the rest within arms reach. I visit the php API and the jQuery API several times daily, I remember the basics, but I wouldn't want to try memorising the entire php API. I've tried to choose sites that are more on the practical side, these are more tool like and less reference like. I may only use them once or twice a day for a minute or two, but they are good at what they do.

The first site is ColorPicker. No need to install any software, no adds, no clutter, it is a simple color picker and it's handy.

The next site is a Lorem Ipsum generator. I'm surprised at how often I use this. The site is Lorem 2. Lorem 2 has Lorem Ipsum text in many different formats, short/long paragraphs and short/long list items.

I'm sure most of you know about Stack Overflow and w3schools. I use these two for different reasons; I use w3schools whenever I forget the basics, it's presentation is clean and I can reference what I need to know quick and easy, it's for those times when I forget something simple and stupid like how to name radio buttons. I use Stack Overflow when I assume there should exist a practical solution to something I haven't worked out yet. It's a good way to compare your solution to your peers and a good place to get advice and feedback.

The jivebay Handling Checkboxes, Radio Buttons and Select Options in jQuery post was the inspiration for my select element cheat sheet and I still find myself referencing this post every now and then. The questions and answers in the comments section are just as good as the post itself and the answers are well written.

The last site is the dummy data generator Generate Data. This site will generate large amounts of dummy data in different formats (HTML, Excel, XML, CSV, SQL) and has a large variety of data types. You can also specify the number of rows and row names.

The 5 plugins that I have chosen are also simple and practical. Simple in that they are east to use and do not try and overcomplicate.

The main site I work on is an internal CRM, so we have a lot of tabled information. The jQuery tablesorter plugin is awesome; it allows for custom parsing for sort order and with a bit of work it is very easy to have inline editing. You can also sort on multiple rows.

The jQuery cookies plugin works across all browsers and is so easy to set up. You can have a look at this post if you want to read over some of it's features rather than reading the code itself. It has very easy set, and get functions and is lightweight.

There are currently many jQuery autogrow plugins, but my favourite is this one. It is small enough that you could just cut and paste the function out and stick it in your own utility script if needed. It also works well across all browsers without hiccups.

The same could be said for watermark plugins, there are many out there, but the one that I like to use (which has been in beta since 2007) is this one by Josh Bush. It also has built in hideAll, showAll functions which are useful when pulling values for submission via ajax.

The last one and maybe the most useful is the jQuery form plugin. For any ajax heavy application with many forms this plugin has many useful methods for serializing, resetting and submitting forms. It even has a method for submitting files via AJAX.

It is always good to have many sites and tools that you can rely upon, once you find something good make sure to bookmark it for later use and then share it around. What are some of your favourite plug-ins that you use daily? What are some sites that you can't live without?
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