Survey: Essential JavaScript for New Projects


Like many developers I have a standard set of files that I simply copy into every new project I start. These include base HTML templates, useful PHP functions, Sass mixins and a number of JavaScript files that I can’t live without. With the advent of great libraries like Modernizr41 and polyfills such as the indepensable html5shim2 we are becoming more reliant on these resources to help us create great web sites and applications.

I thought it would be interesting to learn more about the libraries and scripts our readers on Smashing Coding use on a daily basis.

Here’s a list of my standard JavaScript files that I have in my “js” directory. Not all of them get used on each project and a tidy up is undertaken before the final production deploy but most of them tend to feature in most of my sites.

What am I missing from my toolbox? I would love to hear more about what you use and why? Please do let us know in the comments.


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Keir Whitaker works at Shopify & co-hosts The Back to Front Show podcast. He regulary writes about, and shares links on, ecommerce, the web industry & podcasting.


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  1. 1

    Johan van Tongeren

    October 27, 2011 3:43 am

    Cufon is something I use a lot in projects.

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    I often use Highslide for custom alert box. And of course jQuery UI plugin.

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    I made the jay library ( to help smooth the edges of the javascript language.

  4. 4

    What about css3pie?

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    jQuery.validate gets my vote, super simple, super effective

  6. 6

    jscrollpane is a winner for me. Custom div scrolling. Works on IOS as well.

  7. 7

    rightjs is my new toy.

  8. 8

    I am using the bootstrap javascript package from twitter a lot now. Lets me add a bunch of basic UI stuff like modal boxes and tabs in a modular fashion, with out having to either mix and match plugins and stylize them or download jquery UI with a bunch of stuff I don’t need.

  9. 9

    Just out of curiosity, what php functions/scripts/library/frameworks do you include?

  10. 10

    MODx is my preferred CMF

  11. 11

    I prefer mootools to jQuery. Probably just because I know it better and it’s handier for scripting larger chunks of JS not just DOM-Manipulation things.

  12. 12

    ie7-js, jquery equalHeights

  13. 13

    I really love Never start a new project without it!

  14. 14

    I hadn’t come across that one, looks very useful. Thanks for the comment.

  15. 15

    I agree, it’s a great plugin and one I have used many times. I should probably grab a fresh copy and install it into my boilerplate files.

  16. 16

    Hey Aniel – Nothing too heavy to be honest just a bunch of functions that I tend to use a lot for debugging. I seem to be using WordPress for a lot of projects these days so have lost a little knowledge on the PHP framework scene.

  17. 17

    - jQuery
    – Modernizr
    – My own JavaScript Validation library
    – Sometimes also underscore.js

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    Interesting idea, I hadn’t come across that. Thanks for sharing.

  19. 19

    I always use head.js in my projects

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    I recently discovered head.js and it made it onto my “must have”-list straight away.

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