Thomas Fuchs
Hi, I'm Thomas Fuchs. I'm the author of Zepto.js, of script.aculo.us, and I'm a Ruby on Rails core alumnus. With Amy Hoy I'm building cheerful software, like Freckle Time Tracking and Every Time Zone and write books like Retinafy.me.
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scripty2: for a more delicious web

June 26th, 2009

The script.aculo.us 2 alpha is out! Check it out now at scripty2.com. As you would expect, it brings a lot of change and new features.

scripty2: for a more delicious web

scripty2-screenshot

As the effects framework forms the base for all the eye candy in any UI elements, it’s the logical first step towards a complete scripty2. But what’s in that, and how will the complete thing look like?

scripty2 will consist of three parts:

  • scripty2 fx: the framework for DOM/CSS-based visual effects
  • scripty2 ui: user interface behaviours (not in right now)
  • scripty2 core: helpers for a more delicious developer experience

Alpha!

In this release, the focus has been on the effects engine, with the UI parts still pending a rewrite (there will be a lot of really cool stuff coming for the UI part, but more about that later).

Even in alpha, the effects engine can now do so much more, with less code to write. Check out the source code to the cards demo to see what a mere screenful or two of code can do now!

And we’re actually using it in our own live projects, like twistori and freckle time tracking, so it’s pretty damn stable already.

Docs, Docs, Docs

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years of maintaining an open source software project, than it’s that Wikis just don’t work (except if you’ve millions of users). It’s too much of a hassle to keep the spam out, not synchronized to the software version cycle, full of comments by well-meaning people that sadly don’t understand open source communities or the spirit behind free software, and numerous other problems.

scripty2 docs: "mirror" transition

That’s why scripty2’s documentation is made with PDoc, a system where the documentation is written directly in the source code using specially formatted comments, augmented by interactive examples– why not use the web what it’s good for and look beyond just descriptions? After all, this is a JavaScript effects framework!

As a bonus, there’s up-to-date offline documentation always at your fingertips, so regardless if you’re on a plane or train you can always browse the docs.

A rewrite?!

Yes, it’s all new. The old code was just to crufted and packed with workarounds for browsers no one uses any more, so I’ve decided to start anew and write the effects engine from scratch. With all the knowledge gained from years of using the effects
on various projects, it’s now ready for the future (and it looks bright!).

Also applied are the results of Amy and my research for our ebook on JavaScript performance (please buy it to support scripty2 development, get $5 off the beta release with the “GOSCRIPTY2″ discount code, but hurry as we’re pushing the final version soon!).

As a bonus, the minified and gzipped version of scripty2 is a mere 5k in size. That’s a lot of animation features in a very, very small package.

The scripty2 download comes with minified versions of Prototype and itself.

Here’s the reasoning behind the rewrite:

  • Start from a clean base: remove cruft and have a smaller codebase.
  • Features and extensibility: have a more open and flexible code model to allow for some real interesting features (for example, you can swap the whole timing engine with your own).
  • It’s fun to do something new: maybe the main reason is that I like to hack. So.

Keep in mind that the old code still works great on thousands of sites all across the web, including some of the biggest and most frequented.

Rename to scripty2

I like the script.aculo.us name and will use it in the future too, but it was time to update the name to make it easier to spell it and lead to less confusion about the domain name (others agree). I’d love to hear feedback on the new name!

Development resources

scripty2’s development is proudly hosted on Github, there’s a bugtracker at Lighthouse and last but not least, a developer mailing list on Google Groups.

I’d like to invite everyone that’s interested in joining the development efforts by reporting bugs, submitting patches, maintainig tests and writing documentation and demos (if you come up with a really cool demo, I’d like to include it on the scripty2 demo pages).

Have fun building a more delicious web!