jQuery Datagrid: Plugins to Organize and Access your Data Better

jquery datagridTables are generally used to store and display data. For example, MS Excel, is a spreadsheet software which helps to manipulate data in various ways (you can learn more about Excel in this course). Data manipulation includes the ability to sort, arrange, edit and filter the data.

In this intermediate tutorial, we look at how a jQuery plugin can help you to access and manipulate data in your programs. We assume that you have basic knowledge of HTML, CSS and JavaScript. If you’re new to the concept of jQuery, we suggest that you go through this beginners course on HTML and JavaScript first. 

What is Datagrid?

Generally, JavaScript is used to transform a normal table to a form. This is analogous to an “Excel-like” layout along with a set of features to load, manipulate and view data and is called datagrid layout. A datagrid is a set of services which gives you the capability to access, modify and transfer very large amount of geographically distributed data. As with other aspects of jQuery there’s a large range of useful and sophisticated data grid plugins. We’ll first walk you through what you should look for in a good jQuery datagrid plugin.

Features to Look for in a jQuery Datagrid Plugins

  • A good datagrid plugin should be lightweight and simple to use.
  • It should be possible to show or hide columns as per your requirements. You should also be able to insert and delete columns and rows.
  •  The plugin should have a built-in search functionality so that you can easily locate any kind of data.
  • You should be able to edit cells easily
  • The datagrid plugin should be compatible with all modern browsers, operating systems and devices. You don’t want your webpage working funny on certain browsers or devices.
  • The jQuery datagrid plugin should let you to load data from various other data formats such as Excel, XML, JSON and more.

Based on these features, we’ll walk you through some of the prominent data grid plugins we’ve reviewed

GridView Plugin

GridView is a jQuery data grid plugin which offers a host of useful and innovative features. The ones that stand out are

  •  Performance– this plugin has fast data updates for the end-user like grouping, sorting, paging and scrolling. GridView offers row and column virtualization that minimizes the amount of items that needs to be displayed. In a scenario where there are 1000s of rows and columns, this can be extremely useful!
  •  Flexibility to customise – GridView offers a unique combination of features which can be easily enabled, disabled or customized.
  •  Data binding– This plugin has built-in data binding logic which supports various data sources and handles very large data sets. It offers support for several modes of data binding as listed below 
  1. Local data- Here the plugin is loaded from local array data
  2. Xml Data- Data is loaded from a local XML data or using AJAX request.
  3.  JSON Data- Here the plugin is loaded from either a local JSON string or using Ajax request.
  4.  CSV(Character Separated Values) and TSV (Tab Separated Values)Data- The plugin is loaded with data either from a CSV data source or TSV data source.
  5. Virtual Data- Data is loaded on demand when the end-users scroll or change the current page.
  • Sorting– The plugin has powerful sorting capabilities such as sorting through APIs, one-click automatic sorting, and selection of sort option from a context menu. The most relevant comparison is automatically chosen. Users also have the choice to implement and use a custom sort algorithm. You can also display an additional background in the sorted column! How neat is that!
  • Paging– GridView supports functionality which lets you  view large data sets in multiple pages. You can also select the number of records to be displayed on a page. It allows you to enter the page number in the page-input box and click the “enter” key. To navigate to the next or the previous page, just click the next or previous navigation buttons.
  •  Row and column formatting – You can change the height of the row and use custom data templates. There are APIs that enable you to expand and collapse the row details. The plugin also offers several built-in column types. You can also customize the column/row/header formats and backgrouds.
  •  Compatibility– This plugin is designed to be platform independent, cross-browser compatible and work on different PC and mobile devices. It’ll do all the hard work for you!
  •  Appearance and styling – GridView offers as many as 16 different professional designed themes. Each theme is easy to export, customize and re-use. What’s more, the visual appearance of any particular grid cell, row or column can be easily manipulated.

Freewall

This is a jQuery grid plugin which supports all browsers. You can create a virtual matrix using this plugin. It’s has easy options to configure many type of grid layouts such as flexible layouts, Pinterest like layouts, nested grid layouts and metro style layouts. You can also add in CSS3 animation effects and callback events. The customizable parameters for the datagrid include the width or height of a container and the width of a cell unit. Let’s take a look at some of the features of this grid plugin.

  • You can drag and drop rows, columns and cells.
  • If there are gaps and no block can fill the gap, this plugin will resize the block precisely to fit into the gap. This is a unique to the Freewall data grid plugin.
  • You can use nested grids that is grids inside other grids.

 Faster access to important data helps save time, effort and money. A good datagrid plugin will help you do exactly that!  This 1 hour jQuery course should help you get on your way. And if you’re working primarily on mobile platforms, you may want to focus on jQuery Mobile, like we do in this course.