What is Taconite?

Taconite is an Ajax-only JavaScript framework that greatly simplies adding Ajax to your web applications. The feature that sets Taconite apart from other Ajax frameworks (or JavaScript frameworks that include Ajax support) is that you can easily update the DOM without writing any JavaScript. Taconite works with all modern browsers and can be used with any server-side technology.

How Does Taconite Work?

The real power of Ajax is the ability to asynchronously communicate with the server and update parts of the web page, without a complete page refersh. This is the "wow" factor that users are looking for.

Most modern JavaScript frameworks abstract away the details of creating the XMLHttpRequest object and sending data to the server and receiving the server's respoonse asynchronously. After that, however, you're on your own. Sending data to the server is the easy part -- but how do you update the DOM according to the server's response? You can use the innerHTML property, but working with strings of XHTML markup can be messy. Or you could use the standard DOM methods to manipulate the DOM, but that's cumbersome as well, and a lot of work arounds are necessary to make it work across browsers.

Taconite lets you update the DOM not by writing loads of JavaScript, but by using the same HTML markup you've already written. Most web developers are far more experienced with markup than they are with JavaScript, and Taconite plays to those strengths. Taconite expects that your server will respond to an Ajax request by returning an XML document that contains the markup you want to use to update the DOM. You simply write a little JavaScript to send the Ajax request, and then have the server return an XML document. Taconite will update the DOM accoording to the directives in the XML document. Several complex DOM manipulations can be accomplished in resopnse to a single Ajax request, all without writing a single line of JavaScript to update the DOM.

Taconite works great with template-based server side technologies like PHP, ASP, JSP, and many others. Usually you can simply reuse markup you've already written.

What's New

Taconite 3.1 is now ready for download! Please go to the Taconite download page and download the 3.1 release.

The Taconite jQuery plugin has received numerous usability updates. For example, the Taconite client methods ($.taconiteGet, $.taconitePost, and $.taconiteAjax) now return the jQuery object that is returned by the underlying jQuery Ajax methods. By doing so you can make use of deferreds etc. You can also use the jQuery DOM manipulation method names as the action tag names in your response XML, as these are usually shorter than the legacy Taconite equivalents (which are still supported).

The Classic Taconite parser recives a minor bug fix to better work in IE9. IE9 is much more standards compliant than previous IE versions, so some of the hacks to get DOM manipulation working for older IE versions were breaking IE9! I recommend that all users upgrade to use the jQuery plugin.

See the release notes in the Taconite distribution for a complete list of changes.