Prototype

Prototype is a JavaScript Framework that aims to ease development of dynamic web applications.

Featuring a unique, easy-to-use toolkit for class-driven
development and the nicest Ajax library around, Prototype is quickly
becoming the codebase of choice for web application developers
everywhere.

Prototype framework enables you to deal with Ajax calls in a very easy
and fun way that is also safe (cross-browser). Besides simple requests,
this module also deals in a smart way with JavaScript code returned from
a server and provides helper classes for polling.

The biggest part of the Prototype framework are its DOM extensions.
Prototype adds many convenience methods to elements returned by the $() function: for instance, you can write $('comments').addClassName('active').show()
to get the element with the ID ‘comments’, add a class name to it and
show it (if it was previously hidden). The ‘comments’ element didn’t
have those methods in native JavaScript; how is this possible? This
document reveals some clever hacks found in Prototype.

JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) is a lightweight data-interchange
format (if you are new to JSON, you can read more about it on the JSON website).
It is notably used by APIs all over the web and is a fast alternative
to XML in Ajax requests. Prototype 1.5.1 finally features JSON encoding
and parsing support.

In the early versions of Prototype, the framework came with basic support for
class creation: the Class.create() method. Until now the
only feature of classes defined this way was that the constructor called a
method called initialize automatically. Prototype 1.6.0 now comes with
inheritance support through the Class module, which has taken several steps
further since the last version; you can make richer classes in your code with
more ease than before. [1]

reference:

[1] http://www.prototypejs.org

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