I have begun to use JQuery Tools for tabs and other minimally animated content. You get six JQuery related plugins in one package, all of which are hosted on a CDN so scripts don’t take up server space or bandwidth. Pretty clean coding and easy to expand. I’ve reworked their tabs and pop-up descriptions on a new site that I’m developing for the IU Theatre and Drama Department here: http://www.indiana.edu/~coas2/thtr/facilities/layout.shtml. This tool has allowed me to focus on specialized scripting rather than patching together many different JQuery plugins to do what I want them to. Also exciting is the release of JQuery 1.4 in January. I’m loving their new API documentation on their redesigned site, and some of the new features that come standard now.
The beauty of frameworks and tools like these are that they are easy to use and learn, and they allow us to focus on content and specialized tasks, and leave the rest to the framework. They are also open and heavily documented all over the internet. And extending them is very simple. This allows us to save time and money and hopefully allows our pages to be more accessible and interactive at the same time. If you haven’t already, try them out. There’s nothing like the feeling you get making stuff move around on a screen in a useful way.