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These days, "framework" is quite a buzzword in web development. With JavaScript frameworks like the Yahoo User Interface library, jQuery, and Prototype getting a lot of attention and web application frameworks like Rails and Django getting even more, it seems like everyone is using some kind of framework to build their sites. But what exactly is a framework? And are they only useful to programmers, or can we web designers benefit from the concept, as well?
What is a framework?

So that we're all on the same page, let's agree-at least for the duration of this article-on this definition of "framework": a set of tools, libraries, conventions, and best practices that attempt to abstract routine tasks into generic modules that can be reused. The goal here is to allow the designer or developer to focus on tasks that are unique to a given project, rather than reinventing the wheel each time around. Generally speaking, this is the approach taken by the aforementioned JavaScript and web application frameworks.

To be clear, we're not necessarily talking about something that is built, packaged, and released to the public. Rather, a framework may be solely for you or your team.



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