AJAX Grid Widget

For a recent project I was using Yahoo’s YUI datatable component. With YUI often you can copy code from their site and tweak it to your needs. That to me is a sign of great developer documentation. This is especially needed in case of lots of JavaScript code. I have spent hours trying to figure out why code works in Firefox and not in IE. Only to find an extra comma inside my JSON code. IE is not forgiving regarding the extra comma.

Due to new requirements I needed to allow users to edit records in the table. I found Yahoo’s cell editing capabilities a little out of the ordinary with pop-up’s coming up to enter data. Also I could not get tabbing between cells to work. While there may be ways to accomplish editing in a more Excel like manner with datatable I had to move fast. With 2 week SCRUM sprints, I do not have that luxury of diving deep with every tool.

Then I hit upon Zapatec (www.zapatec.com). The name still drives me crazy. But their Grid component is awesome. And they had so many samples and they matched a lot of features I needed (and matched YUI datatable) such as server side pagination, loading data via JSON (or xml). Most importantly it had a more natural (Excel-like) feel to cell editing and thankfully tabbing between cells worked. The sign of a good product is when you can integrate it into your stuff with little pain. And Zapatec grid so far has impressed me. If it holds up then eventually I will probably replace my other YUI datatables with it.

What never ceases to amaze me is the sheer power of JavaScript and all of the great components that are now coming out.

Note: I just wish Internet Explorer would have better memory management. Use any heavyweight widget library and soon you start seeing the memory footprint rise. What drives me crazy is that minimizing the browser will immediately release memory (which means MS could have made garbage collection more pro-active).