Alessandro Lacava

on Designing and Developing Software. In love with Functional Programming.

The Productivity Perks Behind Prototype’s Popularity

Learn how to leverage the popular Prototype JavaScript framework to speed up your AJAX-based development. You’ll see how to use JavaScript in an object-oriented way.

The Prototype home page claims that “Prototype is a JavaScript framework that aims to ease the development of dynamic Web applications.” By using many object-oriented paradigms such as class-driven development and inheritance to enable JavaScript application development, Prototype completely accomplishes its aim. In fact, this framework contains a lot of useful functionalities, which you cannot help but apply to every application you develop once you’ve started using them.

Prototype’s main claim to fame is its rich AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) library, which simplifies the now popular Web development technique for making non-blocking calls to the server through JavaScript. (It topped the recent 2006 Survey as the most popular AJAX framework.) Of course, everything you can do with Prototype you also can do using plain JavaScript—upon which Prototype is built. But why would you want to complicate your life? For example, which would you rather type to accomplish the same task: document.getElementById(“myElement”) or $(“myElement”)? If you answered $(“myElement”), then read the remainder of this article for an in-depth discussion of some useful Prototype functions—$ is just one.

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