Javascript vs JQuery. Learn when you should you use the JQuery library or opt for clean Javascript.


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Javascript vs JQuery. Learn the difference 

JavaScript is a dynamic programming language commonly used to make a web page come to life by making all the functions working. Therefore buttons, submitting for forms, search and shopping carts can work. JQuery on the other hand is not a programming language but it is a JavaScript library used to make programming easier with less code.

As JQuery is not a programming language as JavaScript we cannot compare directly but we can try to understand the advantages that both have and try to use them together for a better programming result. An important advantage of JavaScript is without a doubt it’s speed. JavaScript is run using the client’s browser without the need for completion before running it and it reduces the need for a server with simple applications. While when using JQuery it helps developers to make advanced features using less code. 

What is JQuery?

JQuery is a JavaScript library. It provides lots of built-in functions to make the developer life much easier as complex tasks can be achieved with only a few lines of code, also spending less time to develop. 

Some of the features that it provides are: 

  • DOM selection and manipulation: DOM elements can be selected and manipulated for example a developer can add or remove elements and also use tag name, id or css name to select needed elements. 
  • Effects: a developer can apply special effects to DOM elements like for example fading in or fading out an element, showing and hiding  or applying animation to it. 
  • Events: functions in the JQuery library are ‘click’, ‘mouseleave’, ‘mouseenter’, ‘keyup’, ‘blur’ etc these functions handle cross-browser compatibility issues. 
  • Cross-browser support: JQuery supports IE 6.0+, Safari 3.0+, Chrome 9.0+, Opera 9+ and Firefox 2.0+. 
  • Ajax: JQuery includes AJAX functions. This is required to load data from servers without having to refresh the entire page. 


Advantages of jQuery over Javascript

Let’s take a look at JQuery advantages that makes it more intriguing to use than JavaScript.

  • For sure the most important advantage is the implementation of an animation for example. With the use of JavaScript it requires a lot of code. However with the use of JQuery library the same animation can be implemented with only a few lines of code thus decreasing the efforts, complications and reducing the amount of time for the implementation. 
  • With the implementation of feature that take less lines of code and less time consuming it makes JQuery much more easy to read and therefore more user friendly than JavaScript
  • Event handling and Ajax calls can be done much easier using JQuery as the functions are already pre-defined in the library, it only requires the developer a few lines of code. Not the same can be said when using event handling and Ajax calls in JavaScript as many more lines of code have to be written.
  • Being a library and a minified version of it’s code exists, JQuery is considered to be lightweight. JavaScript on the other hand is a programming language therefore its size is much greater. 
  • With few lines of code and pre-defined function, JQuery is more maintainable as it can be reused in different places in the code. Sometimes in JavaScript the code is not easily reusable as with JQuery functions. 
  • JQuery is supported in every modern browser. While with JavaScript developers have to take care of the different browsers compatibilities. A JavaScript function might work differently from one browser to another. 
  • JavaScript is not very easy to learn, it is complex and it requires a lot of practise and eventually experience. However JQuery is very straightforward and easy to use. 


Advantages of Vanilla Javascript over JQuery

What is Vanilla JavaScript? Let begin this section by specifying the meaning of Vanilla JavaScript. Practically when someone refers to JavaScript as Vanilla it means that the code being used is purely and only JavaScript.  In Vanilla JavaScript there is no third party library used like for example a library like JQuery. 

When you first read this definition you may think that Vanilla JavaScript is more complicated and can make the work of a programmer more challenging not being able to use libraries that may help a lot. However Vanilla JavaScript has its advantages and many developers opt to use it instead here is a list some advantages:

  • Full understanding of the code. Being able  to to develop and understand your code is very essential for a developer especially if a complex project is being developed. When there is a bug and the developer starts to debug it’s important for the developer to know what is going on inorder to solve the problem. 
  • Fully customizable. When using a third party library you may not find exactly what you are looking for and editing to code to achieve that may turn out to be much more irritating. When using Vanilla JavaScript you don’t rely on libraries and you develop whatever is required. 
  • Better performance is assured when using Vanilla JavaScript. No other framework or use of a library is  faster than running Vanilla JavaScript. Thus ensuring a much better performance.  
  • Not requiring other libraries and other frameworks makes Vanilla JavaScript absolutely free. 


When to use Vanilla Javascript or JQuery

As we have learned from previous sections both Vanilla JavaScript and JQuery have their benefits and their disadvantages. To choose which one of them to use depends greatly on the preferences of the developer, to the knowledge and also to what he/she wants to achieve from their code. 

If the developer wants a website full of different animations and its main purpose is the user interface I would suggest to go for JQuery. JQuery would help the developer implement animations in very few lines of code which will make his job easier and would save him/her lots of time. 

On the other hand if a developer wants to develop a complex website with different functionalities, Vanilla JavaScript is surely suggested. The developer would have full control of all the functions in the website and hence he/she would be able to debug and solve a problem quicker. Not to mention that performance is also an advantage of Vanilla JavaScript when developing a complex project. Good performance can turn into profit when the website sells products. 

Final Toughs and Recommendation

When a developer comes to a situation where a decision what to use has to be made of what is best to use,  I suggest to first examine all the benefits and drawbacks of both Vanilla JavaScript and JQuery. Most importantly focus on his project and what he/she wants to achieve from it like for example performance, maintainability of code, interactive user interface or few lines of code.


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