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So I tried Red for a while (short while) and was all excited and thought it was really cool and I’d be using it forever. Then I tried to make a Ajax call to a rails app and got back JSON, crap. Red doesn’t support parsing JSON. I eventually figured it out and made a pretty cool billing summary widget using Red. But that took me a few days. And it was really hard. Much harder than it needed to be.

I like what Red was trying to do, but looking back I think I knew it was too good to be true. It’s not quite there and requires a lot of hacking to do most practical things. I’m now using jQuery. I reimplemented the billing summary using jQuery in a couple of hours, and most of that time was spent re-learning jQuery. I’m actually pretty happy with it after using it for a few weeks. I thought I would always return to Prototype.

In my excitement for learning a new tool I discovered the extension jQuery UI and their Themeroller. This has got to be one of the cooler javascript library extensions that I’ve seen. ExtJS tries to provide a will UI toolkit and has a theme API, but the Themeroller for jQuery UI is really sweet and super simple. As a basis for a back office admin it is ideal, and I can see a number of opportunities in a broader set of situations. The icon library alone has made producing simple, intuitive interfaces really easy.