While I wait for my shiny new download of Visual Studio 2010 SP1 to install, I just thought I’d share a couple of awesome frameworks and plugins I’ve been working with over this past week or so. Some of them might not be news to the masses but I have recently found them to be extremely useful.
This one blew me away. From the makers of the excellent TinyMCE rich-text editor comes Plupload – a free web-based multiple file upload utility that you can use within your sites to upload multiple files in anÂ asynchronousÂ fashion. The genius about it is that it detects the current browser capabilities and automatically chooses the best option for the user (based on the developer’s initial configuration). For example, it can be configured to use a Flash interface to do the upload in the first instance, but if Flash is not available then it will automatically fall back to another technology, including an Html5 or Google Gears implementation. The developer just has to configure the plugin with what technologies should be included based on their various capabilities and the rest is done for you.
What’s more it supports chunked transfer, so uploading massive files should be no problem.
I’m starting to use this in my home-brew projects now with great success and I will heartily recommend it over any licensed/paid products you might use! I plan to write a tutorial article in the near future showing how you can integrate this product into your Asp.Net MVC applications.
**jQuery Context Menu plugin
This plugin is great for showing context menus within your interface. You basically set up an unordered Html list which describes your menu, and then bind it to those items via a jQuery selector which should activate the menu when right-clicked. You then get notification about which item was clicked, which menu entry was selected and even where the mouse cursor was when you clicked it.
I’m not writing just about this plugin though. This site has all sorts of little bits and pieces on it which come in extremely handy. Just looking through their blog posts (it’s a shame these individual plugins aren’t more visible from the home page) I found these cool little plugins which have made my life easier:
And links to other plugins and utilities which I haven’t tried yet, including this gem: jCrop (in-browser image cropping tool).
It’s a great resource and is now on my list of blogs to regularly check for cool stuff!
jQuery-UI itself is not news (if you’re not using this yet, you should be), and to be honest, neither is the Sortable module within. But the discovery I made was that it’s not just for sorting ordered lists – it can be used to create interesting portlet-type interfaces where people can drag content around and lay out pages exactly how they want (think Pageflakes or iGoogle). This kind of power is extremely easy to achieve and works great!