Wednesday, 20 October 2010

jQuery: enhancing html tables' usage with DataTables plugin


Working with tables is a basic need for every web developer. Specifically when data fetched from a database must be tidily presented in your page, tables could be the only viable answer. We can enhance tables' usage with a great jQuery plug-in: DataTables.

 "DataTables is a plug-in for the jQuery Javascript library. It is a highly flexible tool, based upon the foundations of progressive enhancement, which will add advanced interaction controls to any HTML table." (quoted from DataTables' site)
To describe every single feature of this plug-in would be a huge work (not to mention that it would be useless considering the completeness of the related web site). We are talking about a plug-in that has plug-ins itself, because whenever a developer needs a not-included feature, he or she can create it and benefit of DataTables' plug-in architecture.
It really impressed me when I tried to dig into the integrated features, and I can say that DataTables has really everything you need to manipulate and manage tables. Just for the record, the main features include:
  1. on the fly filtering;
  2. multi column sorting with data type detection;
  3. auto column width;
  4. data can be fetched from almost any source, including AJAX files;
  5. scrolling;
  6. full localisation support...
... and many others.
And last but not least, it is free (you can actually donate and contribute to its development).
I believe few people will reach this point of the post, because I bet anyone would immediately go and see DataTables' web site.

Let me know what you think about it.

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