As I develop more applications that leverage JavaScript–both for data manipulation AND for superfluous effects–the more I come to realize the inexpressible need for finding as many shortcuts as possible. Without exception, as my JavaScript becomes more involved, so the complexity increases exponentially. To remedy this, I've started relying on frameworks such as Adobe's Spry, mooTools, jQuery, etc. to make my life easier for everything from element selection to major effects processing.

However, probably the biggest time-saver is making a concerted effort to make my JavaScript unobtrusive. What is this, you say? Well, by no means does it have a solidified meaning. However, a few principles are core to any definition.

The first is the idea of abstracting the functionality of JavaScript (be it data handling or effect processing) from the design layer on which the functionality is placed. In short, this means that the HTML markup of a site (and its corresponding CSS) should not be dependent on the functionality of JavaScript; rather, the functionality of JavaScript should be "pluggable" into the markup that it finds.

Now of course, this is all-too-idealistic. There is never a scenario in which markup and functionality are mutually ambivalent towards one another. However, the More >