File Under: JavaScript

New ‘Registry’ Hopes to Simplify Finding, Sharing jQuery Plugins

JQuery, the crown king of JavaScript. Image: Roberto Verzo/Flickr.

JQuery greatly simplifies working with JavaScript, particularly for newcomers, and that has long made it a favorite with developers — roughly half of all sites on the web are using it. However, while jQuery itself simplifies things, finding plugins on the site has always been a huge pain.

In an effort to clean up and simplify the process of finding the perfect jQuery plugin, the jQuery project is launching a new site, the jQuery Plugin Registry. In a blog post announcing the new registry site, developer Adam Sontag says that the goal is to “reduce the… obstacles for plugin developers and consumers.”

Based on what’s currently available, the jQuery project has done a good job of building better back end tools for developers, but finding a plugin isn’t much easier than it was before.

Most of what’s new about the jQuery Plugin Registry is for plugin developers — namely Git support and very nice integration with GitHub. Developers can now publish their code to GitHub and the jQuery Plugin Registry will automatically be updated.

Unfortunately for those trying to find the perfect plugin to use on their sites the new Registry site has little in the way of new tools.

As with the old, much-neglected plugin site, each plugin gets a basic page that offers a download link as well as a link to past versions, documentation, the issue tracker, and the source code repository. However, actually browse through the site and you’ll discover that much of that info is often missing. Most jQuery plugins offer little in the way of documentation and the site still lacks any kind of preview images (if available there will be a link to a demo page).

The new site also ignores what could be helpful social tools — there are no user ratings, download counts, likes or anything else to indicate whether or not people actually like using a plugin. Of course now that the plugin registry code is on GitHub, it’s easy to see that issues regarding the site search and lack of screenshots have already been filed. When, or even if, they’ll ever make it to the site remains to be seen. For now the new site remains rough around the edges.