Six Awesome JavaScript Libraries I Learned About This Month

Javascript LibrariesI’m an avid watcher of the JavaScript and JQuery world. I love to play with new and exciting tools that let me easily do the things that I wouldn’t have a clue how to implement if I had to rely on my own coding abilities.

Every once in a while I come across libraries that I itch to share, so in this article I’d like to share six Javascript / JQuery libraries that impressed me over the last months. They’re quite a hodgepodge, but most of what has interested me recently is related to innovative and interesting ways to display data.

Side Comments

Medium has had a huge influence on the design world, with many blog themes mimicking its full-bleed images and elegant typography. One of the things I like best about Medium is the inline comments that appear along the right margin of articles. Side Comments provides a straightforward way to implement Medium-style comments.

Smallworld.js

Smallworld does one thing, and does it quite well. Using GeoJSON data and HTML Canvas, it displays a small map of the world which can be zoomed and centered on any geographic coordinate. It also allows for the displaying of configurable map pins with a simple API.

fullPage.js

Another of the design trends having a big impact at the moment is one-page sites, influenced by Apple’s iPhone page, among others. Fullpage.js is a feature packed library for implementing fullscreen scrolling sites with horizontal or vertical scrolling and animation.

D3.js

D3, which stands for data-driven documents, is difficult to get a handle on, but in basic terms it’s a data visualization library with utilities for handling and processing data along with a visualization API. It allows for some stunning data representations using HTML, SVG and CSS. Check out this article from Ruoyu Sun to get a clearer idea about what D3.js is and is not.

Epoch

Epoch uses D3 and HTML5 Canvas to display real time data series in animated charts. It’s easier to use than D3 itself, and the results are very attractive, with a multitude of chart types, including area, bar, gauge, heat map, and line charts.

Spring.js

Springy.js is something of a novelty item, but it’s a nifty little library for creating network graphs that shape themselves according to a physics-based algorithm.

These are some of the best JS libraries I’ve come across over the last month, but given the pace of development, I can’t keep track of all of them. If you have a library you’d like to share, feel free to drop a link in the comments.

Image: Flickr/r2hox

Matthew Davis is a technical writer and Linux geek for Future Hosting.

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