Friday, December 5th, 2008

JSOS: jQuery based desktop

Category: jQuery, Showcase

There have been plenty of JavaScript desktop in the browsers of the years (ah WebOS!).

James Luterek has posted about the latest jQuery based desktop environment.

I started creating an operating system like user interface in JavaScript. I had intended to use it for the admin sections of my content management system(that runs this website), but through developing it I started to question it’s usability and decided to discontinue development.

Features in it’s current state:

  • Start Button
  • Task Bar – view open windows and set focus/minimize
  • Windows (Create, move, maximize, minimize, resize, etc.)
  • Show Desktop on right click
  • Properties (Theme Color, Text Color, Background Color, Background Image)
  • Properties saved in cookies for next visit

Still don’t know how to create a new window other than a Google one, and I am never quite sure when people will use these (even fully baked). I am sure it will happen, but not until the browser platform has gotten to a point where it actually can. Calling this an “OS” is funny too ;)

Happy Friday!

Posted by Dion Almaer at 2:16 pm

2.5 rating from 101 votes


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A related site,, has a pretty shiny UI, IM, IRC, sound effects etc. It looks like it’s using EXT.

Comment by Schill — December 5, 2008

Can someone explain the fascination of building a desktop on the web?

I’ve thought about doing it in the context of a web based game – but I can’t see it being a viable and useful productivity device. The Web doesn’t need a Windows O/S metaphor. We have a lot more freedom, we should be developing other metaphors.

Comment by DaveSanders — December 5, 2008

@DaveSanders – It’s called Proof of Concept. It’s one of the fundamentals of science.

You know, I know it’s just a side-effect of a web OS, but I wish when I dragged a window to the edges of the Windows desktop (or any desktop) that it would create more space just like that.

Comment by mdmadph — December 5, 2008

Sweet proxy. Thanks!

Comment by tmallen — December 5, 2008

Wow, well this desktop certainly has a long way to go before even approaching Greg Houston’s Mocha project:

Just don’t see why Mocha doesn’t get much coverage here or other places, it is C L E A R L Y the best desktop solution out there for the web.

Disclaimer, sort of: I use Mocha…but only after I found it to be the most bad a$$ solution on the block!

Comment by csuwldcat — December 5, 2008

@Schill: Thanks for the plug!

Comment by Xantus — December 5, 2008

Well it was a cool skin for a Window, other then that I don’t see how not any reader here at ajaxian could not build this in less then an hour fiddling with any chosen frameworks…?
Welcome to Ajaxian ;)
Check out old postings where people are asking why MooTools doesn’t get much attention, for years MooTools have been lightyears ahead of all the competition but gotten close to ZIP love from the Ajaxian…
I suffer the same… :(
MochaUI looks cool :)

Comment by ThomasHansen — December 6, 2008

On a side note, MooTools is good but for certain people. Personally, I am in love with jQuery and dont understand why anyone would want Prototype but they do. Personal preference.

Anyway, there are a lot of web os/web desktops out there. Honestly, the idea is a good one. How many times would you want to work on your projects anywhere? Or stream your music and videos to your cellphone but dont want to use orb or something like that. However, the problem is there are no standards for this. Everybody creates their own API (normally in XML) or no API at all. For instance, is an awesome webtop. However I found no API at all. An API would make that great. At the same time EyeOS is good with a great API but itself is not as good as startforce.

All Im saying is the idea is possibly a good one. Cloudo is the newest of the bunch and it looks promising considering it is a company. But I honestly dont think this sort of thing will take off. Its gonna come down to some type of literal Cloud OS. I think Microsoft is gonna pull this off by 2011.

Comment by chuckhriczko — December 6, 2008

Java2Script‘s release v2.0.0 builds the feature of JavaScript desktop inside, including task bar, notification area, shortcut board and others. Please check it out:

Desktop inside browser != Web OS. In some scenarios, we just want a windows manager to manage all of our application, which is running inside one page. So we build a JavaScript desktop which is familiar by our users according to their existed user experience.

Not all JavaScript desktops need to be the Desktop that provides users with file system, task management, memory/CPU monitor and other native OS feature.

Comment by zhourenjian — December 7, 2008

I’m not trying to be rude, but i’m personally not impressed with any of the internet “os’s” or “desktops” that i’ve ever seen, they are all WAY slow and use way to many client side resources to ever really be a viable option for a desktop.

Back in 2005 I made one using prototype 1.5 that just blows all the other out of the water where speed and resources are concerned.

I know many of these are just proofs of concept (as was mine) but to me they really aren’t proving anything except that there’s much room for improvement.

I got to give credit where credit is due for trying, but personally I wouldn’t go showing it off in the community until it’s the best of breed. I’ve never shown anyone what I’ve made because I think it sucks! and like I said it’s much faster and lightweight than the others I’ve seen.

Comment by jaimz — December 7, 2008

Java2Script may be functiona, but it looks like Windows 3.1

Comment by Xantus — December 7, 2008

If it’s supposed to be an OS, then it should be a framework for apps, not just a window system.
Try instead.

Comment by MikaelBergkvist — December 8, 2008

Wow again I must retort that Mocha UI absolutely bludgeons the competition here, and all links I have followed from this post…

@ThomasHansen –

Yeah I have to say that it *appears* Ajaxian may be in the tank a bit for jQuery, but then again who isn’t these days… Also, I really loath the comparisons to Mootools from other libs on size and such. I mean Mootools and jQuery are almost the same exact size compressed, but one offers native abilities the other does not. You’d have to tack on 3rd party addons to jQuery like easing, cookies, the awesome hash and that is not even touching on the “More” pack that is also native to the lib.

I was at Google IO and watched a presentation where Google basically “chose” 4 frameworks that it declared the “winners” or “only important ones”, needless to say Mootools was faded out on the slide as Dojo, jQuery, and Prototype were left. In my mind Google has that waaay wrong. I just couldn’t believe they got that partisan with the their almost non-existent portfolio of products that leverage frameworks for a rich user experience. Don’t get me wrong, they are great at what they do, but sometimes I want more in an app than a white page and text, and if that is the case I won’t be taking my advice from a company that builds 95% of their stuff that way…

Just saying…

Comment by csuwldcat — December 8, 2008

Mocha UI is still only windows in the browser. There’s no serverside framework in place.

Comment by MikaelBergkvist — December 9, 2008

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