Open Rico and Prototype
One of the more prominent, pure open source AJAX projects is made up of a loosely knit coalition of projects including Open Rico and Prototype. Whereas Dojo is a single big, unified project, these two and a few other smaller projects are all technically independent.
It’s anyone’s guess whether this loose bond is better or worse politically, but the results are just as impressive as those of the other libraries.
Rico and Prototype share more of an emphasis on animated effects and less on some of the pragmatic tools. For example, there’s no tree and no emphasis on collecting data from a form, but the animated effects and the larger tools — like a set of accordion panels — are all there.
The Prototype library is a set of basic, low-level tools aimed at programmers. It has clean, simple functions, all given single-letter names to speed downloading. It’s more of a shorthand for the common functions, and one you might want to adopt for your own code regardless of whether you use the larger mechanisms because it’s a disciplined approach to writing smoother, simpler code.
Rico is a collection of some of the popular Ajax widgets and animations built on top of Prototype. You don’t need to use Rico with Prototype, but it does make building AJAX apps simpler if you want the effects they offer.
I especially liked Rico’s LiveGrid, a set of routines that enhance an HTML table by fetching data in the background as you scroll through the rows. It simplifies displaying a large volume of data in a small set of rows without forcing the user to load page after page. I often think of Rico as a smaller, simpler version of Dojo that does a few things better than Dojo, such as enabling drag-and-drop support.