MooTools vs jQuery: A Guide for Beginning Programmers

javascriptsplitIn today’s technologically savvy world, many people are getting into website design both for fun and for profit, and this, of course, means learning all the most important programming languages. While this can be a confusing pursuit at times, due to the number of programming languages available to learn, knowing how to design a user-friendly and visually appealing interactive website brings with it a lot of opportunity for designing websites for other people and building your own web design business. People communicate through more visual expressions more and more, and it’s important for web developers to jump on the opportunity this provides. Web design can be a fun way to express your creativity and help other businesses excel in their field of expertise. For more information about running your own web design business, check out this course at Udemy on starting a home-based web development business.

Learning JavaScript

With all of the programming languages available to learn, it’s helpful to know what it is you want to get out of your website. HTML and CSS are the most basic elements of a web page, but if you want to increase the functionality of your website, there are other programs to learn that provide web users with unique interactivity. One of the programming languages you’ll want to learn, especially for making a website interactive and for making cool effects on a page, is JavaScript. JavaScript is one of the most popular scripting languages among developers because of its ability to generate website interactivity from the client side through the user’s web browser. In fact, most of the latest web browser versions have built-in JavaScript support, which enables a developer to add JavaScript right into an HTML page and the user won’t have to download any additional plugins to run the JavaScript code.

The Benefits of JavaScript

As already mentioned, the most significant benefit of utilizing JavaScript in your website is the ability to make your website dynamic and interactive. Because JavaScript code is executed on the client side through the user’s web browser, the amount of bandwidth used by your web server will be reduced. The fact that JavaScript is executed from the client side also means that the response time of a website is much quicker for the web user. Even if you’re intimidated by the confusing nature of learning any programming language, you’re in luck because JavaScript is one of the easiest programs for would-be web developers to learn. Check out this Udemy course for more information about learning the basics of JavaScript language. JavaScript also works well with other scripting languages, making it a versatile language that can perform many web-based functions.

Web developers use JavaScript to provide an element of interactivity to the user experience. Forms are the most obvious example, but there are many ways that you can use JavaScript to make your webpage respond to specific things that a user does while visiting your website. You can create animations. Some developers use JavaScript to even create interactive games for their users on their websites.

JavaScript Frameworks

There are a number of JavaScript frameworks that developers utilize to make their JavaScript programming easier. These frameworks are also called JavaScript libraries. A JavaScript library is a collection of pre-written JavaScript code that allows JavaScript developers to make more complex JavaScript applications easier to work with. Two of the more common JavaScript libraries that developers use are MooTools and jQuery.

What is MooTools?

MooTools is an acronym for My Object-Oriented Tools and, just like its name implies, it is an object-oriented JavaScript framework. MooTools defines itself this way, “MooTools is a compact, modular, Object-Oriented JavaScript framework designed for the intermediate to advanced JavaScript developer. It allows you to write powerful, flexible, and cross-browser code with its elegant, well documented, and coherent API.” MooTools focuses on making the whole JavaScript language easier to write and opens up much of the functionality of JavaScript. One of the primary benefits of using MooTools is the ability to write JavaScript code once and reuse it multiple times. Because the goal of MooTools is to extend the functionality of JavaScript, it tends to be more difficult to learn.

What is jQuery?

jQuery is a JavaScript library that allows developers to navigate HTML documents, select DOM (Document Object Model) elements, handle events, create animations, and develop Ajax applications. jQuery defines itself this way, “jQuery is a fast and concise JavaScript Library that simplifies HTML document traversing, event handling, animating, and Ajax interactions for rapid web development. jQuery is designed to change the way that you write JavaScript.”  jQuery is the most popular JavaScript library used by JavaScript developers and is generally the easiest of the JavaScript frameworks to learn. Check out this Udemy course for more information on using jQuery in your website development.

MooTools vs jQuery

JavaScript developers often wonder whether MooTools or jQuery is better to use when scripting JavaScript. In fact, it’s one of the most talked about comparisons on the web when it comes to JavaScript programming. The decision between the two frameworks really depends upon what exactly it is you want to accomplish with your JavaScript coding within your web page and how much time you want to spend learning the framework.

The Case for jQuery

First of all, jQuery is easier to learn than MooTools. This is because it simplifies standard JavaScript coding to the point that a developer doesn’t even have to have a good working knowledge of JavaScript in order to get the interactivity they want from their websites. Web developers who quickly want to create objects with interactivity for their web designs but don’t want to spend the time learning JavaScript can easily use jQuery as a shortcut. In fact, jQuery has an impressive library of functions for you to utilize in your web design. jQuery focuses primarily on the DOM, which means that it’s great for the page itself and offering users interactivity, but it doesn’t do much outside of the page. You’ll soon see that MooTools expands the functionality of JavaScript by moving outside of just scripting for the DOM. jQuery’s focus on the DOM also contributes to its ease of learning and use. If all you want to do is to get an object into a webpage, jQuery is the way to go.

The Counterargument Against jQuery

The obvious disadvantage of using jQuery is that you don’t necessarily have to be well-versed in JavaScript to use it. While this might be a good thing for the beginning developer, if you want to be a go-to web developer, knowing JavaScript well among many other programming languages is essential. jQuery is also limited in its functionality by not extending programming outside of the DOM. For more complex customization of your website, you’ll end up having to use standard JavaScript in addition to jQuery to get the results you want for your web design.

The Case for MooTools

While jQuery is easier to learn and is used more often, MooTools presents developers with a tool to increase the overall functionality of JavaScript so that you can get more out of your programming. MooTools delves into regions of JavaScript that jQuery doesn’t. While jQuery focuses entirely on the DOM, MooTools takes into account the entire JavaScript language. This includes things like inheritance and control over the basic utilities on all the native types in JavaScript. In order to utilize the functionality of MooTools, you have to have a good grasp of the JavaScript language because MooTools aims to take the JavaScript language and increase its functionality. JavaScript itself can be confusing, and MooTools is designed to decrease the amount of frustration a developer experiences when programming in JavaScript. The MooTools library features code for augmenting String, Number, Element, Function, Array, as well as other prototypes, something that jQuery isn’t designed to do. Another benefit to MooTools is that it makes reusing code easier and more effective than in jQuery. If you use jQuery, while it’s simple to use for your most basic functions, you’ll likely find an equivalent or even better in MooTools.

The Counterargument Against MooTools

MooTools is more complex, and, therefore, more difficult to learn than jQuery. It doesn’t provide the shortcuts to avoiding learning JavaScript that jQuery does. If you’re just looking for some basic JavaScript functionality, then MooTools may not be the choice for you because jQuery is far less complicated.

Making a Decision Between MooTools and jQuery

When you’re just beginning to learn a programming language, the easier the learning process can be, the better it is and more motivated you’ll be to genuinely engage in the learning process. However, if you’re serious about being a respected web developer that businesses will turn to for their web design needs, the more you will want to continue to progress in your knowledge and skill of web programming. jQuery offers you a lot of basic functionality, and it can be used to great effect for your most basic interactive objects on a website. It’s easy to learn and to implement. However it also has the potential to stunt your learning of the overall JavaScript language by providing shortcuts to the effects you’re looking for. Many times jQuery doesn’t even look like JavaScript. While it’s easier to learn, a more serious developer will likely want to learn a JavaScript framework that will give them more control over the JavaScript language overall.

If you’re serious and you have the time, MooTools is likely the JavaScript framework you want to spend your time learning and utilizing. MooTools works like an extension of JavaScript. While you’re learning JavaScript in all of its complexity, MooTools takes much of the frustration out by reducing the amount of complexity you encounter as you’re programming with JavaScript. MooTools gives you greater flexibility over your web design so that you can achieve things that jQuery was never designed to do.

Regardless of which JavaScript library you decide to favor, it’s probably a good idea to get a grasp of both frameworks because you can likely use elements from both of them in combination for outstanding web design control. There are other JavaScript frameworks available, but jQuery and MooTools tend to be the most favored. If you want to create a great interactive experience for users of your site, it’s vital that you utilize JavaScript, and using one of these frameworks can greatly reduce the stress of writing JavaScript code. If you’re familiar with the basics of JavaScript development, check out this Udemy course for more information about advanced JavaScript development.