What is jQuery?


jQuery is ideal because it can create impressive animations and interactions. jQuery is simple to understand and easy to use, which means the learning curve is small, while the possibilities are (almost) infinite.

Javascript and Best Practices

Javascript has long been the subject of many heated debates about whether it is possible to use it while still adhering to best practices regarding accessibility and standards compliance.

The answer to this question is still unresolved, however, the emergence of Javascript frameworks like jQuery has provided the necessary tools to create beautiful websites without having to worry (as much) about accessibility issues.

Obviously there are cases where a Javascript solution is not the best option. The rule of thumb here is: use DOM scripting to enhance functionality, not create it.

Unobtrusive DOM Scripting

While the term “DOM scripting” really just refers to the use of scripts (in this case, Javascripts) to access the Document Object Model, it has widely become accepted as a way of describing what should really be called “unobtrusive DOM scripting”—basically, the art of adding Javascript to your page in such a way that if there were NO Javascript, the page would still work (or at least degrade gracefully). In the website world, our DOM scripting is done using Javascript.

The Bottom Line: Accessible, Degradable Content

The aim of any web producer, designer or developer is to create content that is accessible to the widest range of audience. However, this has to be carefully balanced with design, interactivity and beauty. Using the theories set out in this article, designers, developers and web producers will have the knowledge and understanding to use jQuery for DOM scripting in an accessible and degradable way; maintaining content that is beautiful, functional AND accessible.

2. Unobtrusive DOM Scripting?

In an ideal world, websites would have dynamic functionality AND effects that degrade well. What does this mean? It would mean finding a way to include, say, a snazzy Javascript Web 2.0 animated sliding news ticker widget in a web page, while still ensuring that it fails gracefully if a visitor’s browser can’t (or won’t) run Javascripts.

The theory behind this technique is quite simple: the ultimate aim is to use Javascript for non-invasive, “behavioural” elements of the page. Javascript is used to add or enhance interactivity and effects. The primary rules for DOM scripting follow.

Rule #1: Separate Javascript Functionality

Separate Javascript functionality into a “behavioural layer,” so that it is separate from and independent of (X)HTML and CSS. (X)HTML is the markup, CSS the presentation and Javascript the behavioural layer. This means storing ALL Javascript code in external script files and building pages that do not rely on Javascript to be usable.

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