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MooTools v/s jQuery


MooTools v/s jQuery

MooTools is a perfectly solid and acceptable JavaScript library and its’ recommend that you add it to your list of known technologies rather than tear it out and replace with JQuery. Mixing the two is not a good idea as you’re likely to encounter obscure difficulties to debug conflicts.  Normally when you see a title like jQuery v/s MooTools you get ready for the flame bait. You would expect it even more so if you found out that someone from one of the frameworks wrote the post!  The most important thing in any benchmarking process is not to compare apples to oranges, which unfortunately happens too often. After jQuery adopted Sizzle (a selector engine) many people started comparing it directly to Mootools (a framework).

If you go to the jQuery site, here’s what it says at the top of the page:

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.

And if you go to MooTools, this is what you’ll find:

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 has previously been known for its silky smooth effects and great DOM utilities, but they also have performance on their side as well. JQuery on the other hand has to have the friendliest syntax ever with chaining and selectors, with just enough effects to make you hungry for more. This makes the user frustrated. Just as you get comfortable with a framework something as disturbing as this test comes about.

JQuery feels more like JavaScript, while MooTools provides more extended non-native functionality like an object-oriented paradigm.  There are many similarities, many places where their functionality overlaps.  Developers are always tempted to think these libraries are interchangeable, but that’s not the case.  They have fundamentally different goals.

JQuery seems to be aimed more at making casual JavaScript development easier.  It abstracts common things that most web developers want like animations, selectors, and things like that.  MooTools on the other hand is aimed at more advanced developers.  It shines when doing more intense JavaScript development.

JQuery focuses on expressiveness, quick and easy coding, and the DOM while MooTools focuses on extension, inheritance, legibility, reuse, and maintainability. If you put those two things on opposite sides of a scale, the jQuery side translates into something with which it’s easy to get started and see quick results but can turn into code that’s harder to reuse and maintain (but really that’s up to you; it’s not JQuery’s problem), while the MooTools side takes longer to learn and requires you to write more code upfront before you see results, but afterwards is more reusable and more maintainable.

Which one is better?  We can’t really say.  Both of them are excellent choices. They both have benefits.  MooTools’ dynamic element creation and manipulation is better, but jQuery has a much larger and more active community.  JQuery is easier to learn and the documentation is much better, but MooTools provides an inheritance mechanism which is very nice if you’re used to OOP. Both frameworks have their strengths and weaknesses, but, in general, they are both great choices.

Another good piece of information that may affect your choice is that Microsoft and Nokia are adopting jQuery and will be integrated in Visual Studio. However if you are using Aptana there is already support for most of the frameworks including Mootools.

If you look at the things JQuery can do, there’s often a counterpart in MooTools. If you look at the things MooTools can do, there is often no way to emulate it using jQuery code because of JQuery’s focus on the DOM. MooTools has a broader functionality than jQuery, but there’s nothing about jQuery that prevents you from doing those things.