Is jQuery Still Relevant?

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Whatever your interests about JavaScript frameworks and libraries, jQuery has played an significant role in the JavaScript ecosystem.

It used to be much more common a few years ago and now some of jQuery ‘s needs have been superseded by modern browsers (luckily!), but a lot of people still use this JavaScript library.

Firstly, why did jQuery become so popular? Firstly, jQuery was born in a world where applications for JavaScript were not a thing. JavaScript was primarily used in the early mid-2000s to control slideshows and other widgets that appeared inside a website, such as image galleries, date pickers and so on. It wasn’t powerful enough to do many things without being too slow (computers were also slower, of course).

The purpose of jQuery is to make it much easier to use JavaScript on your website. It simplifies HTML document traversing, event handling, animating, and Ajax interactions for rapid web development.

Junior developers will find it very easy to start using jQuery to manipulate the DOM. It is especially popular among amateur web developers and junior front-end coders. These software developers find that jQuery API provides an elegant and intuitive way to work with the DOM. For many coders, at various levels, jQuery provides a platform to normalize the DOM. Write the code once and let jQuery figure out the nuances of the different browsers for us. jQuery makes it easy to locate your DOM elements, filter what you need, inspect the DOM, manipulate it, and add behavior to the elements.

One of the cons against jQuery is that some developers are actually shielded from correctly learning and understanding JavaScript by using many of the convenience methods provided by the framework. One such example is changing the text in a Document Object Model node.

<p id="textelement">I am a text element</p>
JavaScript code:  
document.getElementById("textelement").innerHTML = "New text inside the text element!";
jQuery code:  
$('#textelement').text('New text inside the text element!');

I find jQuery particularly useful when building prototypes, especially when paired with Bootstrap or a Bootstrap theme template. None the less, jQuery is suited for any type of app because of its general purpose nature and as such can be used everywhere or a wide variety of devices and platform. Nowadays, it best suited to add behavior to web site rather than web apps. Web applications tend to be a bit more complex with ever increasing functionality and features. As such, it needs to be built with a high degree of separation of layers and components and a well thought out architecture.

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Why Does jQuery Persists?

  • Some developers don’t realize how easy doing many of the same things is in vanilla JS.
  • It’s baked into certain platforms (like WordPress), so there’s no incentive to not use it.
  • Rewriting old legacy code bases is time-consuming and expensive.
  • jQuery was an amazing tool. It showed browser vendors a better way to do things.

You May Need To Use Jquery If

It is very important that we choose the right tools for the job and jQuery is still the right tool for the job sometimes. For example, WordPress still uses jQuery, up until recently the bootstrap framework still shipped and depended on jQuery.

  • You are working with WordPress or similar content management systems
  • The work includes legacy codes or plugins dependent on Jquery
  • Your app or website targets old browsers also
  • You are used to it, and it makes development a lot easier (but don’t be lazy… it’s always useful to learn other languages)

Modern & Advanced Javascript Frameworks

Technologies like AngularJS, React & VueJS came and they made JQuery look obsolete. People began questioning the significance of the latter. Since one is a library (collection of functions) and the others are frameworks (or framework-like), their use cases never completely overlap each other. A library is good at what it is meant to do and may not be good for what it is not meant for, and vice-versa.

Although it is clear that the library is slowly losing its grounds, it is still relevant.