jQuery is one of the best-known development tools available, and since its emergence just 10 years ago, it’s exploded in popularity. In fact, it powers roughly 65 percent of the top 10,000 most popular sites on the Internet. So what exactly is it, and is it worth learning?
jQuery in a Nutshell
- In-depth tutorials are everywhere. jQuery really isn’t that hard to learn, and when you’re ready, there are tons of in-depth tutorials to help you on your path. One Month, for example, offers a full jQuery online course, complete with video tutorials and exercises to perfect your skills. If you’re still struggling after that, don’t forget there’s an entire community to help walk you through the basics and gain mastery over your new skill.
- It’s very simple. In the development world, learning something new could take you anywhere from a few hours to several years, and understandably, most developers are cautious about what new areas they choose to explore. Fortunately, jQuery is relatively simple; if you have any HTML or CSS experience whatsoever, you’ll find it easy to pick up. The system was designed to be simple and intuitive, using shorter, more manageable lines of code and UI options that allow some degree of customizability.
- It’s all open-source. jQuery comes with its own open-source community, giving you a number of critical advantages. First, it’s completely free to use, so you don’t have to spend money on expensive licenses every time you want to incorporate it into a site. Second, any time you run into a complex problem, the community will be there to help you figure out a viable solution. Third, there are tons of plugins available for you to customize your jQuery experience and get everything you need to keep your site up and running effectively.
There are a lot of advantages to using jQuery, but we’d be remiss not to mention some of the disadvantages. First, there are multiple versions floating around, and new ones popping up all the time—it’s not that big of a deal to update your library or draw the latest from Google, but there are some risks of code incompatibility between versions, which could cause you headaches down the road. Additionally, the open-source community is a great resource to have, but you need to invest lots of time into it if you want to stay up-to-date with best practices.
All in all, jQuery is a fast, simple, easy-to-learn tool that can help you code better websites without demanding years of upfront investment. If you’re ready to get started, sign up for an introductory tutorial and start getting involved in the community!