JavaScript ColdFusion built-in AJAX vs JQuery or ExtJS

I was wondering what the difference is between ColdFusion's built-in AJAX functionality and using a JS framework like JQuery?

It seems that ColdFusion ships with tags that can do fancy Javascript layouts and controls e.g.<cflayout> and <cfwindow>. If it can already do this then why would one want to look at JQuery?

I'm asking this question because I have been given the task of making an internal CRM application which should have a 'rich' UI. I started investigating JQuery and ExtJS which do the fancy client-side UI work. However I also noticed that CF has similar abilities. Because I am starting from ground zero I was wondering whether to spend (a lot of) time learning JQuery or ExtJS, or cut down on my development time and just use CF's built in AJAX tools.

With some good design skills, would it not be possible to create a 'rich' application with CF's built-in AJAX controls and some fancy CSS styles?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Answer:1

Some things to consider:

Yes, you could use CF's built-in Ajax/UI stuff to build a nice application. The downside is that doing anything outside the box of what CF has baked in is a big headache., Plus, the version of Ext JS which CF has is quite old...so getting all the goodness from the latest version (v.4.2+) is not an option, since CF doesn't have a mechanism for upgrading that library seamlessly (or freely).

As others have mentioned, you should definitely use a non-CF alternative--they are all dead-simple to integrate with CF-backend anyway, so the amount of effort required to do that vs. wrestling with tweaking the internal CF stuff is actually lesser.

Which library to use? Well, you need to seriously consider your options before jumping into one or the other. jQuery (and jQuery UI) and Bootstrap are nice for design...unlike Ext JS, however, they don't come baked in with uber-rich "data-aware" components (grids, trees, etc). They are more libraries than they are frameworks (like Ext JS). On the other hand, Ext JS, for your purposes, will not be free. Unless you plan on open-sourcing your "internal" CRM codebase, you'll likely have to commercially license the software, which is on a per-developer seat basis. I think it's well worth the cost, considering what you get, but that will have to be part of your organization's calculation if you decide to go that route.

Answer:2

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