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Monday, March 3, 2008

jQuery - It's Here to Stay

So anyone who has been following this blog during its infancy knows that I have dedicated a lot of time to jQuery. Although my official title at work is Software Engineer, I have always had sway towards the client side technologies. Perhaps it's the instant gratification; no compile/build/deploy time, and everyone can appreciate it with no understanding of all the back end magic.

To cut out the story telling, I've found myself doing a lot more JavaScript-ing over the last few releases than my job description would have suggested. Never one to re-invent the wheel, I started researching some of the popular JS libraries out there. This post isn't intended as an analysis of why I eventually settled with jQuery, but suffice it to say that it became the obvious answer to many of our client-side needs.

After discovering the revolutionary ease of DOM selection, traversal, and manipulation in jQuery, I was then blown away by the level of productivity and logicality that chaining permits. If I want a div to fade in, flash 3 times, and then load some external content, I can group these related actions into one logical chain of events... all on the same line.

So apparently I became a believer. But I started wondering lately how popular jQuery has really become? Most of my immediate peers still drool and grovel over Prototype and Mootools (no offense to these other great libraries). My initial understanding was that jQuery must be the underdog struggeling to make a name. Well I did a little research and I was actually surprised by what I found. Check out these results from a Google Trends comparison:

Google Trends: jQuery vs. Scriptaculous vs. Mootools

These results are showing the number of Google queries for 'jquery' vs. 'scriptaculous' vs. 'mootools'. Although the chart doesn't reveal the total number of queries, it would appear that jQuery has received roughly three times the interest of scriptaculous or mootools. Obviously 'prototype' would have been a fairer comparison, but being a common dictionary term, the results would not truly indicate searches for the JS library.

This next chart by Alexa shows the number of page views (as gathered by Alexa) for jquery.com, prototype.js.org, and mootools.net.

Alexa: jquery.com vs. prototype.org vs. mootools.net

This comparison would indicate that mootools is doing better than the Google Trends chart indicated, however jQuery still has a commanding lead. This is great news for jQuery developers. If these numbers are any indication of adoption rates, then we can be sure that development will continue, and be confident in the already supportive community. Well... what more can I say? Congrats to John Resig and the whole jQuery team for delivering a great product, and of course to the whole jQuery community for making it a success!



20 comments:

J- said...

I'm with you, jQuery in my opinion it's the best JS library out there when working with the DOM and CSS, it just feels right and you can do so much with so little. I'm a Java developer by title and have the same tendencies to deviate to the client side and when I do I want jQuery with me. It's good to see there's strong following out there. Thanks for the analysis.

Jake said...

Yo, what up. What IDE do you use for jQuery? I looked up Visual Studio 2008's support for jQuery and it seems kind of lacking.

Jeremy Martin said...

@Jake
Generally speaking I just use Notepad++ when I'm coding JS - I just use it for the syntax highlighting and the script outline.

I have recently started playing around with VS 2008 as well though and I am impressed with the code completion (or whatever .NET calls it...). Unfortunately I'm not aware of any end-all IDE for jQuery development though.

ramen said...

If you're willing to relax your definition of IDE a bit, I highly recommend FireBug as a jQuery development environment.

volomike said...

Glad to see you like this.

I agree with Ramen -- use Firebug. It's a delightful plugin to Firefox for all kinds of things.

jQuery is also not just a place to get great screen widgets, unlike many other Javascript libraries out there. No, instead, it's a simple yet extremely powerful set of routines to select and manipulate page elements, as well as react to events, and also to add effects fairly easily. Also, unlike other libraries out there, jQuery's main developer is one of the developers at the Mozilla Corp: John Resig. Talk about some good backing.

Kasu said...

I planning to look into jquery for my project purpose. This analysis seems interesting and useful to start with. Thanks a lot.

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