How to Find Plugins4:55 with Dave McFarland
There are literally thousands of jQuery plugins. How do you find ones that are useful, work well and are actively updated?
There are literally thousands of jQuery plugins to choose from. 0:00 Some are good, some are bad, and some are just plain awful. 0:04 Often the hardest part of jQuery plugins is finding a good plugin that does what 0:07 you want it to and is still maintained by the person who created it. 0:12 In this video, I'll show you a few places you can look for plugins and 0:15 some of the things you should take into consideration when selecting a plugin. 0:19 Let's go. 0:23 Of course, the easiest place to start finding anything on the web is Google, and 0:24 you certainly can find a lot of matches when you search for jQuery plugins. 0:28 This isn't necessarily the worst way to go, but 0:33 there are better places to find jQuery plugins. 0:36 The jQuery Plugin Repository sponsored by the jQuery project used to be the go to 0:39 place for finding plugins. 0:44 But they're shutting it down, in fact, 0:46 in might already be gone by the time you're watching this video. 0:48 However, there are other plugin directories that you can use. 0:52 For example, SitePoint's popular jQuery plugins list 0:55 provides categories of jQuery plugins that you can look through. 0:58 You'll still need to look at the plugin and determine if it's a good one, 1:02 that's something I'll talk about in just a minute. 1:05 Unheap is another great site to discover new plugins. 1:09 They have over 1,000 plugins listed and provide quick links to demos and 1:12 downloads for each. 1:16 But how do you know if a plugin's any good? 1:18 Well, there are a few things you should be on the lookout for. 1:20 First, you wanna find a plugin that does something you need. 1:23 That might seem obvious, but it's easy to get sucked into adding a bunch of jQuery 1:28 plugins to a site just because they look cool. 1:32 The more plugins you add, the more files your visitors will have to download, and 1:35 the slower your site will feel. 1:39 While it's important to create sites that are fun, engaging, and 1:41 interactive, don't go overboard. 1:44 Let's check out this plugin. 1:48 This is the full screen, vertical scroll plugin, FSVS for short. 1:50 It creates a nice scroll effect for sections of a page. 1:56 This looks cool. 2:00 I might want to add something like this to my site. 2:01 The next thing to look for is clear documentation. 2:05 While most plugins are easy to use, 2:07 you'll usually still need clear guidance on how to structure your HTML and 2:10 any configuration options offered by the plugin. 2:14 This one seems pretty easy, the documentation is right here on this page. 2:17 It shows how to call the plugin, how to structure your HTML so 2:20 it works with the plugin and lists the options available for 2:24 configuring how the plugins work, nice. 2:28 Next you want to see how old the plugin is, and if it's still being developed. 2:33 For example, if you find a great plugin but 2:37 it was created five years ago and hasn't been updated for the past four years, 2:39 you can probably assume that the plugin author has abandoned the project. 2:43 That means the plugin might not work in current web browsers, and 2:48 any bugs you discover won't be fixed unless you decide to fix them. 2:51 Usually you'll find something on the site, or in the documentation that lets you know 2:56 when the plugin was created, and if it's still being worked on. 2:59 Many, but not all plugins are hosted on GitHub. 3:03 GitHub is a site for sharing and collaborating on open source software. 3:06 GitHub provides lots of statistics about a project. 3:11 For example, this plugin is hosted on GitHub, let's take a look. 3:14 This project looks like it's active, you can also see that there are several people 3:19 who have contributed to the project. 3:23 That's good. 3:25 More than one person is helping to create and improve the plugin. 3:26 There are a couple of other things that are good to look for in a plugin too. 3:30 These aren't absolutely required, but 3:34 in the changing world of web design, they are helpful. 3:35 Look for plugins that are responsive. 3:38 That means they work with responsively designed pages, that is, pages that 3:41 adapt to different screen resolutions from small phones to televisions. 3:46 If you're not familiar with responsive web design, 3:50 we have a few videos about it here at Treehouse. 3:52 Look in the teacher's notes for links and 3:55 more information about responsive web design. 3:57 It's also good if a plugin is mobile friendly. 4:00 That is, it's designed to work with mobile devices, phones and tablets. 4:03 That usually means the plugin will work with touch gestures, 4:08 like a finger swipe or a pinch. 4:11 Let's see, 4:13 this plugin isn't affected by the width of a page because it's just first scrolling 4:14 down, that means it will probably work fine with responsive designs. 4:18 However, it looks like they're having problems getting it to work with mobile 4:22 devices. 4:26 That might be a problem. 4:27 If I'm building a site that I expect or hope will get a lot of traffic from mobile 4:28 users, then I should skip this plugin, at least until it's made to work on mobile. 4:32 Now be careful picking plugins. 4:37 If you find one that will be a big part of your website, you need to make sure it's 4:39 being actively developed, fits your needs, and will work for all your site's users. 4:42 In the next video, we'll look at the plugin that we'll be using in this 4:47 section of the course, and you'll learn how plugin files are usually organized. 4:50
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