Web Development

10 useful libraries for JavaScript developers

Learning how to use JavaScript libraries to create interactivity on a Web browser or making a responsive application is becoming increasingly important. Here are ten of the best.

JavaScript is the language of the Web that enhances and improves one's Web experience. Whether you are a regular Web user or a seasoned developer, learning how to use JavaScript libraries to create interactivity on a Web browser or making a responsive application is becoming increasingly important. These libraries offer ways of improving a user's experience on a website and they provide rich and interactive features and components that are becoming popular as technology diversifies. Here I highlight ten tools that you can use to enhance your users' experience on your website.

Hammer.js

Probably one of the lightest JavaScript libraries around, hammer.js weighs at only 2KB. The library offers touch support for touch devices. The library allows a developer to add tap, double tap, drag, hold and transform actions. In addition, hammer.js can be bound to an HTML element allowing a touch event to return a callback with any kind of array whether it is an event, rotation, position, scale or touch.

HTML Canvas Library

Even with the new <canvas> element, it may be a little challenging to create animations and visualizations. The HTML Canvas Library offers a standalone and lightweight JavaScript wrapper to simplify the whole process. Tasks like frame-rate control, rotations, multi-touch, image loading and other animations can be done easily and in a consistent manner. The library also supports high-performance animations.

Smoke.js

Have you ever wanted to customize alert notifications for your website? Smoke.js is a small JavaScript library that helps you do that. The library replaces the default alert function with CSS notifications that do not require any JavaScript frameworks. Each alert can be customized inside functions by specifying styles using CSS3 animations and backgrounds.

Kinetic.js

The <canvas> element continues to get lots of hype in the HTML5 circles and the Kinetic.js library adds to that hype as well. This library enables canvas interactivity by allowing you to draw shapes and images using the canvas API for both desktop and mobile applications. You can move, scale and rotate images independently for high performance animations as well as add event listeners to them.

JSZip

If you are looking to serve your users with zip files without wasting server resources and bandwidth, JSZip can do it for you. Not only is it simple to use but it allows you to zip multiple files without generating a lot of data. By getting the client-side to do the heavy-lifting, no server-side resource is used allowing you to use the saved bandwidth for other things.

PDFKit

Allowing PDF document viewing or download on your site will require that all your documents reside in that format. The PDFKit document generation library makes your work easy by creating printable PDF documents for you. Generating documents has been made easy and only requires a few function calls.  It supports vector graphics, font and image embedding and annotations within the generated documents. The library runs on the node.js platform and has a great API for integrating with apps using server-side JavaScript.

Fitvids.js

If you deliver video on your website, you need the flexibility to resize your video embeds. Unfortunately, this can be a little hectic as you have to code that into every video that you embed. Fitvids.js saves you that hustle by use of a JQuery plugin. With this plugin, you can add fluid video embeds to make responsive websites that your users will love to interact with.

Impress.js

Who still uses programs like Powerpoint when your browser can serve the same purpose? The impress.js library turns your browser into a powerful presentation tool. It uses CSS3 transforms and transition to deliver powerful presentation features right within the browser window. Just visit the link above to get the feel of what this library can do.

Colors

Color adds.....well, color to your website and applications. The Color JavaScript library allows you to manipulate colors in multiple ways and can generate random color values. In addition, it can get complimentary color values and handle unit conversions of multiple types including RGB to Hexadecimal, Hexadecimal to RGB among others.

GMap

Do you find it difficult or challenging to embed Google Maps on sites? This GMap offers a flexible and highly customizable way of embedding Google Maps onto your website. The plugin weighs in at only 2KB, giving developers a way to have maps on sites in a lightweight style.

About

David Gitonga is an avid reader and writer and has worked with various companies to design, develop, and maintain their websites. He has worked with websites as an online content marketing strategist in the field of tech, social media, design, and de...

4 comments
tsssys
tsssys

Handy reference to have, but the link to impress.js in this article points to fitvidsjs.com. Impress.js actually resides at bartaz.github.com/impress.js

DavGit
DavGit

Thanks for pointing that out.