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July 23, 2010 / alausted

High-level view of jQuery

Recently my manager asked the team their thoughts on jQuery.  I have little experience with it other than reading about it and looking at samples.  But as I thought about it there’s more to adopting a new library or methodology than just because a developer thinks it’s cool or because it’s the latest thing.  So I decided to do a bit of high level research on jQuery.  This post is from the context of making a decision on whether a development team should adopt jQuery.  Feel free to send me your thoughts and comments.   

Background information

jQuery is an open source JavaScript framework started by John Resig in January 2006.  John Resig is a JavaScript tool developer for the Mozilla Corporation.  Today it is arguably the most popular JavaScript framework available.

What jQuery is not

  • A new programming language

Why use jQuery?

  • Technology agnostic, meaning it’s not emotionally tied to any web development technology
  • Cross browser compatible.  It works the same in all browsers
  • Easier to write than pure JavaScript
  • Easier to learn than other JavaScript libraries
  • Excellent community support
  • Lots of Plug-in available
  • Lightweight framework (15kb)
  • jQuery does a lot of heavy lifting for the web developer.  
  • jQuery is clean and concise
  • Designed to simplify client script of html.

Features of jQuery

  • Manipulate the DOM (document object model)
  • Create animations
  • Handle events
  • Develop Ajax applications
  • Ability to create and use plug-in on top of the library

Who’s using jQuery?

jQuery is well tested and adopted.  Here’s a brief list of web sites using jQuery.

  • MSNBC
  • Facebook
  • Google
  • Netflix
  • Dell
  • Mozilla
  • WordPress
  • Major League Baseball

Stats also support the popularity of jQuery:

What’s Microsoft’s Role?

  • Microsoft has adopted jQuery on top of ASP.NET.  According to Microsoft it does not replace ASP.NET AJAX but compliments it.  At this point they are used separately.
  • Microsoft is shipping jQuery as part of Visual Studio 2010.  Can download hotfix for Visual Studio 2008 to get intellisense to work.  It is also shipping with ASP.NET MVC.
  • Microsoft is not going to change the core jQuery framework but will contribute
  • Visual Studio 2010 has strong support for jQuery and JavaScript

What are other JavaScript libraries?

  • Prototype
  • MooTools
  • YUI Library (Yahoo)
  • ASP.NET Ajax
  • Spry
  • Dojo
  • Ext JS
  • Google Web Toolkit

Summary

Today, jQuery is arguably the most popular JavaScript framework.  It is my feeling that jQuery is the JavaScript library of choice for ASP.NET developers.  It will ease client side development, allow for code reuse, easier maintainability and cleaner JavaScript development.  Do you have any other thoughts as I learn this library and add it to my web development toolkit?

Related Links

Wikipedia: jQuery
ASP.net and jQuery at PDC2008
jQuery and Microsoft: The Q&A
jQuery, Microsoft, and Nokia
Getting started with jQuery in Visual Studio 2008

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