Review: Yahoo Mojito gives server-side JavaScript a lift


The Mojito framework is also designed to be smart about devices; to be more precise, it's designed to help you deliver different code to different devices. If your website visitor is using a smartphone, for example, the framework can dispense a different View built with a different template and a different set of local functions. This device sensitivity is essential these days, and the Mojito team was smart to build it into the framework itself.

YUI on the serverA big part of the framework is the Yahoo User Interface Library, known as YUI. This is a well-known and copiously documented collection of JavaScript tools that began life manipulating DIVs on the client. Now with Mojito, you'll be configuring your server-side Node application by calling the same YUI object. Most of your server-side JavaScript code will call YUI's add method to link your functions to events. The YUI is now doing heavy lifting on the server too.

Your Web application's events and much of its structure are defined by JSON files. I guess these are a step up from the endless opening and closing tags in frameworks like Struts that were built when XML was hip, but I quickly grew tired of hitting those quotation keys all of the time. Someone is bound to write a nice Web interface to these files so that we don't have to add so much glue punctuation. One version of my code crashed until I counted the curly brackets correctly, a task made easier by a parser that issued intelligent complaints about the mismatching.

Your affection for Mojito will depend on your affection for YUI. It's much simpler to use YUI widgets in the layout of your Web page because YUI is baked into all of the layers. This is largely a stylistic decision because the YUI has most of the functionality you might desire. It's fully formed and ready to go. The look and feel, though, may or may not be what you like. Some people assert that Yahoo Mail is the best out there, but others disagree. If you like Yahoo Mail, you'll probably be happy with what you create with Mojito.

The Mojito framework is also a good way for Yahoo to extend the reach of its APIs. It only takes a few lines of code to issue a call written in the Yahoo Query Language (YQL), the lingua franca for accessing Web databases like Flickr. The other parts of the Yahoo empire, including Yahoo Maps and Yahoo News, take the same style query. If you rely on any of these APIs, you'll be even more interested in Mojito.

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