A new framework or library of ready-made components appears now and then. The reason for that is the situation when developers of an IT company use many tools to assist their working process and then decide to share it with others as an open-source solution. Another decision may be to start selling it as a commercial product. In this article, we will speculate on the requirements set for a UI library worth using, those who can benefit from applying a UI library in their projects, and finally mention the spheres and domains where a UI library can facilitate business processes.
Thus, there are thousands of similar solutions available on the Internet nowadays. Using open-source may be the option if the developers are ready to spend some time googling the occurring issues and even creating some components from scratch. Open-source solutions are easy to find, but sometimes difficult to apply. That is why those who are eager to invest in existing products, search for a reliable UI library or framework.
The requirements for a UI library worth purchasing are:
- well-known product. In most cases, developers rely on a famous name, which gives a feeling of security.
- regular updates. New versions of the product prove it is being improved and supported by the developers, so the library is unlikely to disappear soon.
- responsive support. Technical support, active community of users, a lively forum, updated blog, all those things show you will not be the sole proprietor of a solution bought.
- completeness of the library. The widgets and components on demand depend largely on the project under development. But sure enough, when you decide to buy, you don’t want to add anything else to it. When we spend money, we want to have a full set of tools.
The above-mentioned are general requirements to a UI library, but they can vary depending on the project and solution under development.
Now let’s mention those interested in operating a UI library:
- developers. Obviously enough, a fully-fledged set of widgets that can be combined and used as bricks for building solid “walls” of an application significantly shorten the time spent on the development and save the resources. Provided the learning curve of a chosen solution is not too steep.
- designers. UI libraries usually provide some design schemes on default, which means the whole system will be consistent and will scale effectively.
- customers. Loyal customers are those who understand the logic of the application, don’t get confused with functionality, and enjoy the design. With ready-made components of a UI library, it is possible to build a prototype of a future app and to agree on all peculiarities with potential users.
Moving on, we will discuss the typical widgets and components of a UI library and give hints on where they can be used.
- Management tools.
Those are tools devised to facilitate project management processes. They can be based on Agile methodology, inspired by Kanban cards. The standard functionality is planning and assigning tasks, setting deadlines, time tracking, file management systems. Advanced features may include tools for making and sharing reports, etc. Examples of the popular management tools are Kanban JS widget, Wrike.com, GanttPro. Business domains where management tools can be effectively used are various. They can be transport, finance, human resources, small entrepreneurs. A wide choice of management tools options can be used in any business, when there is a need to organize a team, allocate tasks and resources, track the time spent, or operate with tons of documents, create, share, and store reports, and so on.
- Communication tools.
These are the tools for fast and easy connection with customers or team members. With the Corona pandemic, the opportunity to cooperate with team members working from home is another must-have option in the list of requirements. Such tools usually include the functionality of chats and messengers, making audio and video calls, arranging several chat rooms, commenting on mutual reports or projects, and so on. Solutions found on the internet are TalkJS, Chat. As far as the sphere of application is concerned, communication is necessary for providing instant information about your product, for sending messages to potential customers, as well as for arranging calls with team members. It will be handy for companies dealing with freelancers to stay in touch with them, for education facilities, etc.
- Visual tools.
Visual tools add to the common design of the application. With loads of information people proceed nowadays, it is faster and easier to perceive colorful charts, diagrams, and schemes. The functionality of similar solutions includes building diagrams, automatic arranging of the data, editing the settings. D3.js library offers powerful visualization components. Diagram Library widget has many handy features, with a built-in Diagram Editor. The sphere of usage is also wide. With the help of diagrams, hierarchies may be shown, team progress and users’ performance may be reflected in a chart. Visual tools will not be superfluous in any business application.
To prove a point, we will provide a reader with an example of a JS UI library, worthy of attention. Webix JS UI Library has been developed since 2013. It has grown and matured significantly over this period. The library includes more than 100 widgets and controls. It also boasts complex widgets, which are independent fully developed business applications, that are ready to be used or built into any environment. Webix Jet is a micro framework that can help effectively combine the widgets. The number of devoted followers of the library keeps growing, the blog contains much useful information on both Webix and IT development in general. So, if you go back to the list of requirements a UI library should meet, Webix is doing a bang-up job.
To sum up everything mentioned, we have managed to combine modern UI library requirements with their benefits in one reading. With the choice on the market, developers will definitely find something handy. The main challenge is to understand clearly why you need a library.