Fun With Moo.fx

— Topic: JavaScript

Note: This is not a Web 2.0 application, nor is it a demonstration of Ajax. It is just a little display of what Moo.fx can do, based on one of their tutorials. They have recently updated theirs to include a cool moon mission interface. At the time I started on this though, their demo wasn’t quite as nice, which is what inspired me to pretty it up a bit. All I really did was the CSS and the graphics.

Demo: Moo.fx iMac (View Source)

The panoramic terrain is from a skybox I made in college, using Terragen, for a multiplayer map pack of levels adding on to the video game Jedi Outcast. It was fun while it lasted, but alas the group of mappers disbanded when a few of them went to work for Nintendo, Raven and UbiSoft.

Lately I have been trying to learn more about the DOM and how to control it with JavaScript. In the past, I had sort of written it off as a “dirty” language, responsible for creating pop-up windows, distributing viruses via ActiveX, and in general only used when in conjunction with deviant behavior. It wasn’t until I read DOM Scripting by Jeremy Keith that I really came to appreciate what can be done with JavaScript. I began to see the redemptive aspects of it, and how it could be put to good use in order to provide for rich user interaction.

At my day job, we’ve been working on some cool projects, which could be described as Web 2.0, for lack of a better term. While I’m not at liberty to discuss it in depth, it employs various JavaScript effects libraries to make for a pretty sweet user interface experience, if I do say so myself. Even though I hate all the hype around that buzz-word, and the other often abused acronym Ajax, one thing is clear. JavaScript is going to be an increasingly important and necessary skill for front-end web developers in the near future.

So, even though I’m arriving a bit late to the party, I decided it’s time to take another look at JavaScript. Yesterday, I decided to get my feet wet with Moo.fx. If you haven’t heard of this funny term, it’s a JavaScript effects library by Mad4milk, an 2-man Italian web design studio. These bovine enthusiasts have created a great bundle of eye-candy, that leaves a very tiny footprint.

Moo.fx is incredibly small, weighing in at only 3kb, and is built on the Prototype library, which has been integrated into Ruby on Rails. Touted as “the next small thing,” it is anything but. It has great cross compatibility with modern browsers, and even accomodates cruddy ones like Internet Explorer. So, if you’re looking for a good place to start getting a feel for JavaScript, consider trying Moo.fx. Another good effects library to learn is Script.aculo.us, also built on the Prototype library.

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The thoughts and opinions expressed here are mine alone, and are not necessarily shared by any other living person.