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jQuery

What is jQuery?

jQuery is a JavaScript library. It’s a collection of simplified functions and features that speed up and ease web programming in JavaScript.

This particular library is very well-known and popular with frontend developers. It helps with website animations, menu stylings, and image sliders.

Web development, especially the frontend, is designed with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript at its most basic.

It’s easier if you understand Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) and Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) before using jQuery.

HTML is used to develop static web pages, CSS adds style and design, and JavaScript makes the webpage dynamic and alive.

jQuery is typically used by experienced JavaScript developers.

What is jQuery used for?

The jQuery library simplifies JavaScript code programming. Here’s a look into its core features:

  • HTML Document Object Model (DOM) manipulation – jQuery makes it easy to select DOM elements and modify content. DOM interacts with web pages by adding, removing, and changing content on an HTML document. 
  • Event handling – an example includes clicking on a link without cluttering the HTML code with event handlers.
  • AJAX support − helps to develop a much more responsive and feature-rich website by exchanging only the necessary data with a server, updating parts of a web page without reloading it in its entirety again.
  • Animation effects – jQuery library comes with plenty of built-in animation effects that can be used to animate CSS properties of the HTML elements.
  • Plugins – has tons of plugins to simplify the basic functions of a website, like form validations and menu styles.

Here’s an example of a basic jQuery code:

$(selector).action();

$ either defines or accesses jQuery. Meanwhile, (selector) refers to a chosen element. This can be either a tag name, a class name, or an element ID.

Lastly, (action) shows the behavior taken toward the chosen element.

For instance, the jQuery code for showing and hiding password effect on a site’s login screen would be:

$(“#hide”).click(function(){

  $(“p”).hide();

});

$(“#show”).click(function(){

  $(“p”).show();

});

All in all, jQuery provides shortcuts for writing effects and animations much faster than coding a bunch of CSS and JavaScript from scratch.

Is jQuery still used?

jQuery is still implemented by many. However, its usage has been declining.

This is because modern browsers now have built-in features of their own that can do what jQuery has to offer, such as DOM manipulation, AJAX requests, animations, form validations, and other features.

jQuery was built in a time when browsers didn’t support these features and developers couldn’t rely on every browser to implement the features on their own. jQuery was a reliable way to standardize cross-browser functions and write code that would work with the majority of browsers.

Creating an application with modern frameworks such as Angular, React, and Vue means developers don’t have to use jQuery anymore. All the required features are incorporated into these frameworks.

Some websites are built without frameworks at all. However, jQuery is still highly valued by junior developers. 

In practice, it is used for specific software development that already has jQuery features built-in as a dependency.

Also, open-source website building platforms usually have jQuery built into them, so jQuery is useful for this particular path.

Advantages and disadvantages of jQuery

As a popular JavaScript library, let’s take a look at jQuery’s advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages

Being an open-source product, jQuery has a large community which means developers get consistent support.

It also has extensive documentation such as in-line coding examples. This makes JavaScript programming much more efficient, time-saving, and reusable. On top of that, jQuery plays well with other JavaScript libraries to enhance the client side of a website.

For further customization, jQuery offers tons of plugins to extend functionality. Even so, this JavaScript library remains lightweight at only 30 kilobytes when archived.

The reason jQuery became so popular was because of its cross-browser compatibility function. It’s compatible with Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, and others.

Lastly, jQuery is easy to use. 

Disadvantages

One of the downsides to being open-source is that jQuery is much more vulnerable to modifications, which is a problem for some. Not everyone has the time or budget to invest in tweaking codes manually, and debugging an encountered problem can be difficult.

What’s more, frequent updates mean members of the community are also unlikely to provide solutions. If the user doesn’t have a strong JavaScript foundation, future errors are hard to troubleshoot.

At the end of the day, jQuery is intended to benefit an experienced JavaScript programmer. Without a strong foundation of JavaScript, it’s hard to understand what some of the jQuery functionalities are intended for.

With a veteran programmer, however, jQuery is a powerful tool that can reduce development time.

Written by

Author avatar

Olivia

Olivia is a writer for Zyro and an eCommerce know-it-all. Having spent many years as a retail buyer, she loves writing about trend forecasting, brand building, and teaching others how to optimize online stores for success. She lives in London and spends a lot of time exploring the city’s parks with her whippet.

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