jQuery UI vs Ajax Control ToolKit

Ajax is heart of web application these days as it provides capabilities to create asynchronous web applications which in turn returns better user experience as users these days are quite impatient. To implement Ajax and ajax enabled controls, there are many libraries available. Out of these many libraries, two are jQuery UI and Ajax Control Tool Kit. So in this post, we will see what are these two libraries, how they are similar and different from each other and which one is better. So let's dive in!!!!!!

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First What are they?


The Ajax Control Toolkit contains a rich set of controls that you can use to build highly responsive and interactive Ajax-enabled Web applications. The Ajax Control Toolkit contains more than 40 controls. The Ajax Toolkit has some great stuff that is very easy to use. It's from Microsoft so you can be pretty comfortable adding it to a project.

On the other side, jQuery UI is a curated set of user interface interactions, effects, widgets, and themes built on top of the jQuery JavaScript Library. jQuery UI is built for designers and developers alike. They've designed all of their plugins to get you up and running quickly while being flexible enough to evolve with your needs and solve a plethora of use cases.

Similarity


  • Both are open source library.
  • Both has rich set of controls which are quite useful and makes developer life easy.
  • Both are easy to integrate and work without any hassle.

Differences


  • To use jQuery UI, you need to include jQuery library reference. Without jQuery library, jQuery UI will not work. Where Ajax Control Tool Kit doesn't have any such dependency.
  • jQuery UI is light weight and smaller in size. Which allows page to load faster.
  • jQuery can run on any HTML page as well as can be used with any server side scripting language like ASP.NET, PHP, JSP etc. On the other side, Ajax Control Tool Kit runs only on ASP.NET web page.
  • Caching is an very important element of web application as it reduces load on server for all subsequent calls. Both jQuery and jQuery UI scripts are cache-able. Which means that it is downloaded only once for the first request and gets cached as all modern browsers support caching.
  • jQuery provides more control on the code and gives better performance.
  • Ajax Control Tool Kit is useful to build apps quickly without much concern for performance or the need for precise AJAX functionality. You don't need to have in-depth knowledge of Ajax.
  • Ajax Control Tool Kit is easy to start but on later stage of development becomes quite complex where jQuery is complex to start with but you end up writing better client side code which is a huge advantage for long run.
  • Ajax Control Tool Kit is used specifically for Ajax enabled controls and calls, where jQuery is not only used for Ajax, but it can be used all client side scripting things like validations, animations, enabling/disabling controls, Css support etc..

Conclusion


After reading the differences section of these 2 libraries, jQuery UI seems to be clear winner as there is more control on the code, it is suitable for larger and more complex applications where performance is key and it is good for long run. Where, Ajax Control Toolkit & ASP.NET AJAX relies heavily on server-side functionality, and works well with ASP.NET WebForms. This is better for developers who need to build apps quickly without much concern for performance or the need for precise AJAX functionality. Ajax Control Tool Kit can be used for rapid development for ajax functionality.

jQuery/jQueryUI are a better choice in most cases.

Feel free to contact me for any help related to jQuery, I will gladly help you.
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