Documenting the Prototype library

If you have ever tried to get to the bottom of how the prototype Javascript library actually works, you may have felt that you need a degree in JavaScript to understand what is going on.  I know I have.
It’s not as if it’s been made deliberately hard to understand, it’s just that there is so much there and it’s put together so well, and so standards compliant, that it takes you a little time to get to grips with it all.

Of course this is not helped by the lack of documentation available.
I’ve been on the lookout to try and pin down some documentation that can at least cut down the time it takes to get up and running.  My search is not complete but I already have results and I thought I’d share them here so you can get started with using some of the less obvious features of Prototype.

First up is a cool chart documenting the Objects, Methods and Properties of the Prototype JavaScript Library this comes from Jonathan snook’s site which contains a whole host of useful stuff besides this chart.

Next up is a great resource put together by Sergio Pereira.  Sergio has put together a set of Developer Notes for Prototype.  These notes currently cover version 1.4.0 so may be a little out of date if, like me, you are using the latest release.  That should in no way discourage you from bookmarking the site and using it as a reference though.  Sergio has done an awesome job of putting this together.  there’s no bells and whistles here, just the documentation.  Oh and how could I forget to mention that there is a handy ComboBox in the top right corner of the page, from which you can choose your language of choice, Hungarian, Vietnamese, Chinese, Russian, German… and loads more.

Next up is a quick guide to prototype from the folks at Particletree this will give you a brief overview of the most commonly used functions and will be more than enough to get you started.

The great news is that there is due to be a new documentation site launch sometime soon encytemedia have already begun work on it and have asked for help from the community to put it together and save re-inventing the wheel.  If you are passionate at helping people get the most out of Prototype.js and you have documentation of your own, drop them a line with a copy of the documentation and lend a hand. have a nice collection of articles that you’ll find useful too, worth bookmarking for future reference.


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