Most Popular jQuery Plugins

jQuery is one of the most popular JavaScript libraries in use on the Internet today. Over 50% of the top 10,000 websites rely on it, as do 30% of the top million sites, according to gary at BuiltWith.

JavaScript functionality is extended with the jQuery library which is in turn extended via plugins. There are thousands of plugins to choose from depending on the functionality that’s required. The most popular plugins are well written, ready for the masses, secure, and really useful with a minimum of work.

The top ten most popular jQuery plugins are listed below with the approximate percentage of the top sites using them.

  • UI ~30%
  • Form ~20%
  • Cycle ~20%
  • Tools ~5%
  • Easing ~5%
  • Cookie ~5%
  • PrettyPhoto ~5%
  • ColorBox ~5%
  • Bgiframe ~5%
  • Validate ~5%

Enhance your skills as a developer by becoming familiar with these jQuery plugins.

SitePoint Books On Sale

If you’re interested in expanding your mind over the holidays, check out SitePoint’s Christmas Countdown 2011.

Yesterday I picked up three PDFs for less than half of the regular price of just one hard copy book. Each day there will be a different deal, so make sure to check back daily for the titles that may interest you. Subjects include ASP.net, CSS, HTML, JavaScript, Linux, PHP, MySQL, Photoshop, Ruby on Rails and more.

I already own half a dozen SitePoint titles in hard-copy format and thought to give the electronic formats a whirl. I’m reading the PDF versions of my books, but you may like to use the EPUB or MOBI format that is also in the downloadable epacks.

Enable Caching in Firefox for Faster Web Sites

Using an .htaccess file to specify that images should be cached is one way to speed up the time it takes for your web pages to appear. Those of us still using older browsers will thank you for using an Expires Header in .htaccess to manage caching.

Yet another good reason to upgrade your browser is to take advantage of newer features. Caching of images and other often-used files can be controlled by your browser.

IE 9 apparently has caching defaulted to ON. Firefox 5 does not.

Here’s how to enable caching in Firefox.

  • Type “about:config” in the address bar and hit enter.
  • Accept the warning by clicking on the “I’ll be careful, I promise!” button.
  • Scroll down to ‘browser.cache.disk.enable’ and double click. You will see the value in the fourth column toggle from false to true, if caching was not enabled already.
  • Scroll down to ‘browser.cache.memory.enable’ and double click to enable by setting it to true.

That’s it! The performance of your Firefox browser will speed up, noticeably so. After enabling caching, the time to download pages from a client’s site went from 6-10 seconds to 2-3 seconds!

How To Download A Header Image Just Once

While checking links on a client’s re-vamped web site, I noticed that the header image would be re-loaded for each page visited on the site. I’d forgotten to set the .htaccess file with an Expires Header to ensure that the images would be downloaded just one time by a site visitor.

Making the content appear quickly in front of site visitors should be a goal for all site developers. And besides, reducing the load on your server is always a good idea, don’t you think?

To cache a header image, or other images for that matter, or to make sure that files aren’t downloaded too often, use an Expires Header in your .htaccess file.

#Expire Header
<FilesMatch "\.(ico|jpg|jpeg|png|gif|js|css|swf)$">
ExpiresDefault "access plus 2 months"
</FilesMatch>

Note that all types of image files, as well as stylesheets, javascript, flash and other file types, can be cached with this Expire Header.