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Mouad K.
Mouad K.

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Do we still need jQuery in 2020?

Last week, Bootstrap launched their latest version (v5 alpha) and one of the new features was that they no longer depend on jQuery, that got me thinking, do we actually need JQuery in 2020?

jQuery is one of the most popular libraries in the world, so popular that it’s used by 75.9% of all the websites. In this article we’ll talk about how it became so widely used, and if it’s still worth learning in 2020.

Why is jQuery so popular?

JQuery was created in 2006, back when Internet Explorer was the most used browser and the web was totally different place than it is now. It solved a lot of problems for front-end developers back then; it provided a simple and clear API to build websites with ease. For example:

  • DOM manipulation: Using CSS selectors and some functions you can traverse and manipulate the DOM so easily compared to the vanilla Javascript approach.
  • Animations: JQuery provides some easy to use out-of-the-box functions for animating DOM elements, without needing to get messy with CSS.
  • AJAX: Making AJAX requests without jQuery was a hassle, but with JQuery you can do it in a couple of lines.
  • Cross-browser compatibility: JQuery provides an API that can work on most browsers, something that's very hard to achieve if you're using javascript, this saved developers a lot of problems.

Is it still worth learning in 2020?

The short answer is no, here's why:

Better alternatives:

Javascript has matured so much during these last years, it supports a lot of new APIs and its community has built so many great libraries to fill any void jQuery might leave. "You might not need JQuery" is a website that states alternatives for (almost) every JQuery feature, for example, let's say you want to add a class to a certain element:

// Solution in jQuery
$(el).addClass("className");
// What you need to do in pure JS:
el.classList.add("className");
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

So as you can see, jQuery is more replaceable than we used to believe, especially with the emergence of front-end frameworks like React and Vue.

PS: Mixing two frameworks like React and JQuery is a very bad idea.

Size matters

Amazon famously found that every 100ms of delay in the load time of amazon.com cost them 1% in sales.
So loading an 80KB JQuery is a big problem, a problem we can avoid if we can find lighter alternatives.

Conclusion:

To summarize, I think the web right now is passed JQuery, we have better, and lighter tools at our disposal. But as a web developer, it's sometimes still required to use JQuery because as I've mentioned before, it's widely used, so you might run into situations where you have to use it, in such a case, you can just refer to their documentation and you won't have a problem because you'll be so well versed in javascript by that point.

Discussion (44)

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____marcell profile image
Marcell Cruz

Good article, I think it still a good idea to learn jquery, you gonna have to deal with it sooner or later, so it makes sense to at least have a little bit of knowledge about it, but I agree that there isn't must use for it and we have better alternatives.

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perpetual_education profile image
perpetual . education

When we teach JavaScript, we build a little jQuery clone - so, that they'll understand the idea and reasons it was created - and then can easily use it on legacy projects.

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mouadkh9 profile image
Mouad K. Author

That's some very good practice, two birds one stone!

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mouadkh9 profile image
Mouad K. Author

True, you will run into it eventually, that's why I appreciate their documentation, it's really clear and straightforward.

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giorgosk profile image
Giorgos Kontopoulos 👀

There is a lot of sites and even older CMSs that use it or depend on it for frontend stuff. So it will continue to be implemented or at least need to know how to deal with it so knowledge of it is not wasted but perhaps a new project with newer frameworks probably does not have any need for it.

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mouadkh9 profile image
Mouad K. Author

Yes, it will always come in handy but a common mistake ( Did it too 🤷‍♂️) is learning it before learning the same things in JS.

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jtenos profile image
Joe Enos

Here's the first thing I searched for in that "You Might Not Need jQuery" site:

Each

I'll stick with jQuery a bit longer.

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rokobuljan profile image
Roko C. Buljan

You might not need to. The image you pointed is not that relevant any more.
IE9 market share is 0.6% IE11 is 1.3% you're speaking about dead browsers whose use is mostly recorded by developers testing and still supporting those.

Therefore we can calmly finally call it a decade and build for modern browsers. And since NodeList has the prototype forEach...

document.querySelectorAll(selector).forEach(el => {

});
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Or use function instead of the => Arrow Function syntax to support IE11

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jtenos profile image
Joe Enos

Yeah, I was thinking about this afterward - actually I've been using Typescript lately and syntax and language features aren't even an issue, since I can downconvert it to ES5 anyway. And I think querySelectorAll has been around even in IE9, so I can use that safely.

I like jQuery's AJAX syntax, but I usually write an AJAX wrapper anyway, so I suppose that's not an issue.

I suppose my fingers are just used to typing jQuery all the time that it would take awhile to teach them to type something else.

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jessren profile image
JessRen

Yeeees. Thanks for highlighting. That thesaurus is clunky.

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vishesh profile image
vishesh

Totally right. But few legacy applications still use jquery. Also WordPress uses JQuery a lot. Myself was working in WordPress few months back and used jquery.

It's also used for small animations in static sites. But recent css and js tweaks are lowering this probability also.

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mouadkh9 profile image
Mouad K. Author

Yes, unfortunately, but WordPress without jQuery would be a mess! So let's stick with JQuery there 😂

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webdeasy profile image
webdeasy.de

Nice article! I love jQuery but I see it the same way. :)

I wrote an article on my blog about how to move from jQuery to pure JavaScript and about other advantages like speed performance for SEO, a practical example and a list of 1:1 translations.

If you're interested, check it out: webdeasy.de/en/jquery-to-javascript/

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dumdum profile image
dum dum

jQuery is still useful when you develop web app using Django for simplicity.
Because React + Django would add more complexity and remove advantages from built in Django features in Django Templating.

It's my personal opinion.

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mouadkh9 profile image
Mouad K. Author

That's true for most templating frameworks ( Blade for laravel for example ), but currently, you can ditch jQuery for vanilla JS.

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jwp profile image
John Peters • Edited

The odd thing about JQuery, is that in 2020 it's still used more than Angular and React. However, as the article mentioned, it's days are numbered. Just think, in the next epidemic they'll be looking for JQuery people instead of COBOL programmers.

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agrogers profile image
Andrew Rogers

Hi. I don't understand the 'jquery file size is too big' argument. It's only 80k and may already be cached. Pretty much every site will have some images on and just a couple of them are likely to be bigger than 80k. The front page of amazon might have 100 images on it. Is this just an old argument that is not really relevant anymore?

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perpetual_education profile image
perpetual . education

There are also some fun little stripped down versions of the idea like: github.com/fabiospampinato/cash is you're company really wants to have a few of the conveniences.

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mouadkh9 profile image
Mouad K. Author

That seems very promising! I'll definitely give it a try.

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pris_stratton profile image
pris stratton

Nice article 😃

I wonder if a similar fate awaits d3.js? Are there any alternatives or does it still own that niche.

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dendihandian profile image
Dendi Handian • Edited

I still can't find the alternative that could surpass d3.js network/graph UI ...

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mouadkh9 profile image
Mouad K. Author

I really don't know since I don't use d3.js much, but I think it will lead that field for years, it seems like it at least.

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alphavader profile image
KB

I've made alot of money for having the legacy skills like jquery or even dojo. There alot of clients, mostly banks running on that stack..

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mouadkh9 profile image
Mouad K. Author

Good point, but you can make a lot of money working for clients using the newest stacks. And why not even both?

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alphavader profile image
KB

Sure.. I love the newest stuff more

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abaracedo profile image
Alejandro Bar Acedo

You're going to need to learn it sooner or later as you can start working on a project that's using it. Can you avoid writing jQuery for the new code? Sure, but it has to be compatible with the browsers the project works on.

For sure, if a company is going to start a new project it can decide to use jQuery's alternatives.

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mouadkh9 profile image
Mouad K. Author

Exactly, but due to its former popularity, it will always be used for maintenance.

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n8chz profile image
Lorraine Lee

I can't imagine living without jQuery, but I use it for content scripts in browser extensions. I see no reason to use it for web development (and never did). In content scripts I use it mainly to undo the (nefarious) work of others; to reverse engineer deliberately convoluted class name schemata, for example.

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mortoray profile image
edA‑qa mort‑ora‑y

I haven't used jQuery in ages. For the few times where the JavaScript is cumbersome I write quick wrappers.

I try to avoid frameworks like bootstrap as well now. Too much for too little.

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mouadkh9 profile image
Mouad K. Author

Wise choice! Most of what I said applies to Bootstrap too to some extent.

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andrewbaisden profile image
Andrew Baisden

jQuery is only relevant if you are working on an old legacy codebase. New projects should be using modern javascript frameworks. It's interesting though because I recently had a recruiter show me a job specification that had WordPress, PHP and jQuery. So I suppose if you are still using that technical stack it might be relevant but not to me 😅

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mouadkh9 profile image
Mouad K. Author

Thank you! I really appreciate the feedback.
You made some very good points about loading time, and jQuery is definitely not worth it.

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mohsenalyafei profile image
Mohsen Alyafei

thanks. good article.

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jsn1nj4 profile image
JSn1nj4‍‍👨‍💻

WordPress depends heavily on it too. I work primarily with WordPress, so I can't seem to escape. 😅

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mouadkh9 profile image
Mouad K. Author

Yes, unfortunately, JQuery will always be used for maintenance.

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keno_sej profile image
Kenan Sejmenović

Love the Amazon reference.
Nice article.

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mouadkh9 profile image
Mouad K. Author

Thank you! It's interesting to see real-world consequences of technical decisions.

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bigbott profile image
bigbott

If size matters for you so badly, you should avoid React in the first place.
And jQuery only 27kb gzipped.

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bigbott profile image
bigbott • Edited
  1. "jQuery is used in 75% of the sites".
  2. "Is it still worth learning? - No"

Summary: Author is an .... (put your nicer word here)

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hassam7 profile image
Hassam Ali

Depends upon the case use. If I am using some jquery plugins then jquery is needed. Mostly in my personal projects I tend to use it as a last resort.

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bigbott profile image
bigbott

If your site requires indexing by search engines SPA is not a solution.
Old style multiple pages website featured by jQuery will do much better.

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thyuck profile image
raldskie 🔥

Idk why I find JQuery's syntax clean and compact than the Vanilla JS.

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bryku profile image
bryku

In a strange way Jquery can sometimes reduce code as well... for extremely large projects that is.

$('#nav').addClass('hide'); vs document.querySelector('#nav').classList.add('hide')

It is almost half the size... I mean it would take a lot of code IIRC its 90kb, but if you have a huge single page project in the long run you could end up saving.

Jquery covers a lot of things and a lot of backward compatibilities. If they went through it and removed all the backwards compatibility bs they could probably shop it down to 40kb easily.

For example I wrote my own mini jquery clone. It only has a few things, but they are what I used jquery for the most.

example: .html() .addClass() .toggledClass() .addClass() and a few others, but its 1.6kb and it handles all the matches as well. $('#items li').

I've also seen a pretty big project where they just dedicated a shorthand for 'document.querySelectorAll()'. which was '__()'.

The literal code was var __ = (s) => {return document.querySelector(s)}

I guess I rarely use libraries if I don't have to. If it is something small there is no point and if it is really big then you are probably using something else (view, react or whatever).