jQuery UI extends the underlying jQuery library to provide a suite of rich and interactive widgets along with code-saving interaction helpers, built to enhance the user interfaces of your websites and web applications. It's the official UI library for jQuery and although it is not the only library built on top of jQuery, in my opinion it is without a doubt the best.
jQuery UI runs on top of jQuery and hence the syntax used to initialize, configure, and manipulate the different components is in the same comfortable, easy-to-use style as jQuery. We automatically get all of the great jQuery functionality at our disposal as well. The library is also supported by a range of incredibly useful tools, such as the CSS framework that provides a range of helper CSS classes, and the excellent ThemeRoller application that allows us to visually create our own custom themes for the widgets.
Over the course of this book we'll look at each of the existing components that make up the library. We will also be looking at their configuration options and trying out their methods in order to fully understand how they work and what they are capable of. By the end of the book, you'll be an expert in its implementation.
We already have a basic working knowledge of the components when we add a new component because of the consistency in how we implement the different components that make up the library. Therefore, we only need to learn any widget-specific functionality.
This chapter will cover the following topics:
How to obtain a copy of the library
How to set up a development environment
The structure of the library
The format of the API
How the library is licensed