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Is jQuery still relevant

Every few weeks, I have an argument discussion with someone on Twitter about whether or not jQuery is still relevant in 2019. Every time, they say something to the effect of:

Millions of developers and business still use jQuery. Of course it’s relevant!

But just because a piece of legacy technology has many users doesn’t mean it’s relevant.

Old-school technologies don’t just disappear because newer, better ones show up. They exist alongside each other for years while the old tech slowly dies out.

Do you think mainframe servers are a “relevant” technology in the era of cloud? I don’t. But they’re still sold by IBM and they’re still a staple in certain industries.

jQuery persists because…

  1. Some developers don’t realize how easy doing many of the same things is in vanilla JS.
  2. It’s baked into certain platforms (like WordPress), so there’s no incentive to not use it.
  3. Rewriting old legacy code bases is time-consuming and expensive.

jQuery was an amazing tool. It showed browser vendors a better way to do things.

Because of jQuery, we have better selector methods. We have sensible class manipulation. We have easier Ajax methods. We have helper methods for loop through arrays.

I don’t even think “jQuery makes development easier” holds up anymore. Most things jQuery does are just as easy in vanilla JS. Cross-browser compatibility is generally the same, too.

jQuery is still around, and I don’t see it going away any time soon. But no, it’s not still relevant.

Note: if you’re learning JavaScript and you find jQuery easier to wrap your head around, that’s totally cool! It can be a great stepping stone into vanilla JS.