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Is jQuery a Framework or a Library?

So, you’ve heard about jQuery and perhaps its usefulness in writing front-end code. But you may be wondering: is jQuery a framework or a library?

Well, jQuery actually isn’t a framework, but instead a library of a popular web development language JavaScript. Here, you will learn all about what jQuery is, its uses, as well as the differences between a library and a framework. Let’s get right into it.

What Is jQuery?

jQuery is a powerful, free, and open-source JavaScript library that has been embraced by developers worldwide. Its small size allows for fast loading times while its features make it easy to manipulate HTML DOM elements, create animations, and handle events such as AJAX calls.

jQuery’s simple syntax is a blessing to web developers, allowing them to write code more easily and quickly. It drastically reduces the amount of time needed for writing an individual block of code.

jQuery has revolutionized the way millions of people craft JavaScript code with its versatility and extensibility. Wikipedia reports that an astonishing 70 million websites depend on jQuery, including a majority of the 10K most visited sites worldwide.

This impressive tool caused developers to reassess the ultimate potential of JavaScript by introducing advanced capabilities and features. Companies such as Netflix, Google, IBM and Microsoft have all embraced this powerful library for their own operations.

What Is JavaScript?

So we have established that jQuery is a library that makes JavaScript code easier to write and read. But what exactly is JavaScript?

JavaScript is a computer programming language used primarily for creating interactive website and applications that run in the browser. It is also used to create dynamic web pages, web game development and mobile apps.

The three main types of JavaScript are Client-side scripting, Server-side scripting, and Database programming. In Client-side scripting, JavaScript code is executed in the user’s browser and is responsible for a variety of tasks such as form validation, dynamic content changes, and interactive effects.

Server-side scripting is used to manage databases, interact with files and process user requests. And Database programming refers to the use of JavaScript for manipulating data in a database.

Is jQuery a Framework or a Library?

According to jquery.com, the official jQuery website, jQuery is a “fast, small, and feature-rich JavaScript library”. So then, what is the difference between a framework and a library?

A library is a collection of functions that can be used to enhance the development of web applications. With it, your code takes control and initiates whatever commands are necessary when needed – take jQuery for example.

Frameworks, conversely, provide the main implementation of web applications, allowing you to add in your own code to fill in the details. The framework is responsible for managing it all and will call upon your custom code when an application-specific task needs completing.

In other words, a framework calls into your code, while your code calls into a library. See the difference?

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So what is a library for JavaScript? A JavaScript library is your ultimate ally in programming, providing a range of functions that can be used to write code more efficiently and quickly. By utilizing reusable templates and snippets within the library, you are able streamline development time and optimize your JavaScript projects with ease, which is exactly what jQuery does.

is jquery a framework or a library
jQuery is a JavaScript library.

What Does jQuery Allow You to Do?

So what makes jQuery such a valuable tool? It’s lightweight and user-friendly, allowing us to accomplish more with fewer lines of code.

With jQuery, programmers are able to easily complete various complicated activities with only a single line of code. This library is composed of JavaScript expressions that have been simplified and condensed into easy-to-understand commands.

As a result, it has become much simpler for developers to incorporate JavaScript onto their websites without requiring an in-depth understanding of the JavaScript language itself.

With the jQuery, developers are empowered to create compelling plug-ins that bring their projects to life. This allows them to produce sophisticated effects and animated components on a high level with ease, as well as customizing themes for unique widgets.

Besides this, with jQuery you get simplified:

  • Cross-browser compatibility
  • JSONP/AJAX
  • Event handling
  • CSS manipulation solutions
  • DOM and HTML manipulation frameworks
  • Animations and effects

How cool is that? With jQuery, developers have access to all these amazing features – and more. No wonder why so many people have quickly become jQuery fans.

Advantages of jQuery

The advantages of jQuery are pretty obvious – it is a time-saver for developers, and its features enable them to develop better web applications with fewer lines of code and less time. But what else makes jQuery so great? Let’s count some pros.

  • Cross-browser compatibility – jQuery works with every major web browser, so developers don’t have to worry about compatibility when developing for different browsers.
  • Easy to use – jQuery is easy to learn and straightforward to implement into web applications.
  • Speed – It’s lightweight, so it runs much faster than other JavaScript frameworks.
  • Animations and effects – jQuery enables developers to easily create interactive effects for their web applications.
  • Extensibility – jQuery is extensible, so developers can create and share new plugins with the community.

Is jQuery Outdated?

There are reasons to think jQuery might be getting outdated with the appearance of new and more sophisticated JavaScript frameworks, such as Angular, React, or Vue.

However, jQuery is still an extremely relevant and powerful library for developing dynamic web applications. It has been around since 2006 and continues to be used in thousands of projects each day.

Besides, what’s great about jQuery is that you can easily use jQuery with other frameworks. As jQuery has no structure in it, you can be as creative as possible in developing your web app.

It’s unlikely that jQuery will become obsolete anytime soon due its reliability and compatibility with major browsers. Still, it’s always important to stay up-to-date with the latest web technologies out there.

jQuery Syntax

While we’re at it, let’s introduce you to some simple jQuery syntax, so that next time you see some jQuery code, you don’t feel lost about how to read and understand it.

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jQuery is a comprehensive library, composed of selectors, event handlers and DOM traversal tools. Not only can it handle Ajax requests with ease; jQuery has all the features you need to make your web page work perfectly. The primary three elements that bring jQuery to life are:

  1. $() or jQuery(): The $() symbol can be used as a shorthand alternative to jQuery() for selecting elements. This is incredibly useful and helps save time when writing code since you won’t have to type out the full word each time.
  2. selector: this is used to select our DOM (Document Object Model) element. It’s the element we want to make changes to with our jQuery code.
  3. action(): this is the function that will manipulate the DOM. Depending on your purpose, it could be an event listener or a special effect.

Overall, most jQuery code looks like this:

$(selector).action()

or

jQuery(selector).action()

While both $() and jQuery() functions will work. However, the former is more frequently used, making it a preferable choice.

Stack of books for front-end web development, JavaScript, and jQuery
jQuery is an easy to learn library.

Examples of jQuery

In order to understand how much jQuery streamlines the JavaScript writing process in front-end development, let’s review some examples of how bulky multi-line JavaScript code can be transformed into succinct jQuery code.

Example 1

Consider the following JavaScript code for selecting an element with the class ‘example’ and changing its font size to 20px.

JavaScript:

document.getElementsByClassName('example')

for (var i = 0; i < example.length; i++) {
    example.[i].style.fontSize = '20px';
}

jQuery:

$('.example').css('font-size', '20px');

As you can see, here jQuery is doing the work of JavaScript in just one line.

Example 2

Now, let’s look at another example of how to create an animation on an element with an ID of ‘example’.

JavaScript:

var example = document.getElementById('example');

example.style.left = '0';

function animateExample() {
    var pos = 0;
    var id = setInterval(frame, 10);

    function frame() {
        if (pos == 350) {
            clearInterval(id);
        } else {
            pos++;
            example.style.top = pos + 'px';
            example.style.left = pos + 'px';
        }
    }
}

jQuery:

$('example').animate({
    top: '350px',
    left:'350px'
}, 1000);

The second example is much simpler and easier to read. It’s clear why jQuery has been so popular for web developers for so many years.

Example 3

Finally, let’s take a look at how to make an AJAX request with jQuery.

JavaScript:

function loadData() {
    var xhttp = new XMLHttpRequest();
    xhttp.onreadystatechange = function() {
        if (this.readyState == 4 && this.status == 200) {
            document.getElementById("response").innerHTML = this.responseText;
        }
    };

    xhttp.open("GET", "example.txt", true);
    xhttp.send();
}

jQuery:

$('#response').load('example.txt');

As you can see, jQuery not only simplifies the syntax, but also makes it easier to understand for developers of all levels.

How to Install jQuery

By now, you are hopefully convinced that jQuery is the JavaScript library you need. Let’s go through how to install it so that you can start taking advantages of its features and syntax.

The easiest way to install jQuery is by using a CDN (content delivery network). You can include jQuery from the Google or Microsoft CDNs in your HTML documents, like this:

<script src="https://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/3.2.1/jquery.min.js"></script>
<script src="https://ajax.aspnetcdn.com/ajax/jQuery/jquery-3.2.1.min.js"></script>

Alternatively, you can also download the jQuery library from its official website and include it in your project. Simply download the file, add the following script tag to your HTML document (adjust for the actual file name/version between the apostrophes):

<script src="jquery-3.2.1.min.js"></script>

And, you are all set! You are now ready to start writing some jQuery code.

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jQuery is a JavaScript library.
jQuery is a JavaScript library.

How Do I Learn jQuery?

Want to learn jQuery, but not sure how to get started? Worry not, we will provide you some starting points below.

Here are some great online Udemy courses to learn jQuery:

  1. The Complete jQuery Course: From Beginner To Advanced!
  2. jQuery for Beginners – Create Website Animations Easily
  3. jQuery Crash Course: Learn the Essentials of jQuery Fast

If you would like a more interactive approach, we could also suggest the following tracks:

  1. w3schools
  2. CodeCademy: Learn jQuery
  3. Code School: Try jQuery

Check out these great resources and start your jQuery journey today!

What Are Some Other JavaScript Libraries and Frameworks?

jQuery may be the most popular JavaScript library, but it is certainly not the only one. Here are some great alternatives to consider for your project:

React

Created by Facebook, React is a powerful library used in developing user interfaces. It’s modular and easy-to-maintain components make it a preferred choice of many developers. React is particularly used for developing single-page web apps and mobile apps.

Vue.js

Vue is a progressive, incrementally adoptable JavaScript framework that focuses on the view layer. It uses a component-based architecture and allows developers to create user interfaces that are interactive, composable, and maintainable.

Angular

Created by Google, Angular is a TypeScript-based web application framework that allows developers to build single-page apps, progressive web apps, and mobile apps. Angular leverages the power of TypeScript, HTML templates, and RxJS to create reactive user interfaces.

Node.js

Node is a JavaScript runtime built on Chrome’s V8 engine that allows developers to use JavaScript for server-side scripting. Node allows developers to manipulate files, create server-side applications, and interact with databases.

These are just some of the most popular JavaScript libraries and frameworks. There are numerous others available to help developers create powerful web applications. Pick the one that best fits your project’s needs if you think about using one!

Conclusion

In conclusion, jQuery is a great JavaScript library that allows developers to easily create interactive and dynamic web applications with fewer lines of code. It is lightweight, user-friendly, and extensible, making it an ideal tool for developers who want to quickly create powerful web applications. So if you’re looking to develop a website or application with dynamic features and effects – then jQuery is definitely worth considering!

Thanks for reading! If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to let us know. We’d love to hear your thoughts! Happy coding!