12 Invisible But Invaluable jQuery Plugins

Not all jQuery plugins are about UI and eye-candy. There’s also a class of plugins that aim to make web development itself easier, either by acting as convenient wrappers around hard-to-use JavaScript functionality, simplifying cross-browser compatibility, or providing small but useful utilities and APIs.

Below you’ll find a list of 12 great utility-style jQuery plugins. While invisible to the user, they can be invaluable to the developer.

1. Hotkeys

The HotKeys plugin makes it very easy to hook almost any key or key combination. Great for adding keyboard shortcuts to your web-app.

2. Mouse Wheel

Detect when the user scrolls the mouse wheel. Note : In theory, the plugin supports all major browsers. However, the current version may report inconsistent scroll deltas in different browsers.

3. XML to JSON

XML to JSON lets you convert XML documents to JSON. Handy if you find plain JS objects easier to use than the XML DOM, or if you’re building a mashup with heterogeneous data coming in from a bunch of APIs and you want to convert it all to JSON for simplicity.

4. URL Parser

jQuery URL parser processes URLs and provides you with easy access to info about their components – the protocol, host, path, query string, and so on. On top of that, it also has some neat extra features, like the ability access query parameter values by parameter name.

5. Taconite

With Taconite, you can update multiple DOM elements with a single AJAX request. This can considerably simplify your client-side code and helps cut down on bandwidth use.

6. AJAX Manager

Queue, order, abort, block, cache and otherwise manipulate your AJAX requests with the AJAX manager plugin.

7. Calculation

The jQuery Calculation Plugin lets you extract numeric data from HTML elements and apply a number of common mathematical operations to the results. It includes typical aggregation functions like sum(), avg(), min() and max() and also lets you define your own equations.

8. Freeze/Unfreeze Events

This mini-plugin can be used to temporarily stop all jQuery events assigned to a specific element (or a group of elements) from firing.

9. Cookie Handling

When it comes to cookies, there are two jQuery plugins that stand out :

  • Cookie is simple and light-weight. Just the bare essentials  – you can read/write/delete cookies, and that’s it.
  • Cookies is the advanced option. It can filter cookies using regexps, test if the browser is set to accept cookies, bind DOM element contents to cookies, and do automatic JSON serialization.

10. Metadata

The Metadata plugin provides a unified way to extract different formats of metadata from the DOM. It can extract metadata from classes, attributes, child elements or HTML5 data- attributes.

11. Navigation History For AJAX Pages

Add the coveted back-button support to your AJAX apps with the powerful Address plugin. There’s a number of other plugins that deal with #anchor-based navigation, but Address is a clear winner – it has the cleanest API and the best documentation.

12. Timers

jQuery Timers provides a more elegant, jQuery-flavoured way to deal with setTimetout() and setInterval(). You can apply timers to DOM elements, set the number of times a given timer will execute, create named timers, and more.

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