jQuery on the Web - Why it Matters.

JavaScript is one of the most popular programming languages; the amount of solutions you can create is near limitless. This also means, however, that the number of ways that you can create a solution is also extremely varying. Given the nature of the web and the need for multiple people to interact with code on a page, a more structured method for achieving those solutions is needed to provide a common understanding.
 
Also, there are several factors that call for a more advanced solution: implementing across multiple browsers that need additional code for support, team members that come and go, content changes, etc. These factors make the solution more difficult and time-consuming for you & your team to execute.
 
 
Enter the JavaScript libraries\frameworks.  
 
A library is a set of functions\methods that handle common JavaScript tasks, DOM manipulation and AJAX handling. There are multiple libraries available and each has their place, but the most prevalent is jQuery (http://jquery.com). jQuery is widely used across the web by large and small companies -  it’s a common platform that many developers have interactions with regardless of workplace. jQuery uses standard CSS selectors to access and manipulate elements on a page. This means that anyone familiar with page formatting can easily understand how to access an element and begin to interact with it. With such an easy point of entry, it means that more people can interact with the site using these common methods to quickly build their understanding and skill at a greater rate.
 
Not to imply that jQuery is a simple set of tools, or that it can't handle the more complex requirements. On the contrary, jQuery is extremely robust and can handle everything from simple looping to the more complex API integrations and dynamic web content. What jQuery does, along with other libraries, is to boil the complexities down to their most basic requirements so that developers need only to interact with those pieces. This creates cleaner and more efficient code, meaning less code is necessary (though you do need to include the library file on the page) to achieve the same result. It’s easier for others to understand as well, due to the reduced number of ways a solution can be achieved.
 
 
 
The dynamic jQuery community.
 
The ease of use and overall size of the library (number of functions\methods) are some of the greatest selling points for its use. But wait, there's more! jQuery has a comprehensive set of documentation (http://api.jquery.com), learning guides (http://learn.jquery.com) and tutorials (http://try.jquery.com) that can provide guidance.   
 
For any functionality that is not built into the library (one of the only downsides, but who can plan for all of your potential needs?), jQuery provides the ability to create plugins that you can utilize to repeatedly and consistently run processes on an element and\or page. Given the open-source community that utilizes jQuery, there are already a number of plugins available, should you need one. As I mentioned previously, jQuery also provides support for AJAX requests. Whether those are for API connections or to request\load dynamic content on a page, jQuery has the functions necessary. 
 
Ultimately, jQuery can help you solve many of the typical stumbling blocks for web design and usage (read this article on why a jQuery expert is a valuable asset to your analytics team). jQuery can even help you should you need to implement Tracking Analytics and\or a Testing & Optimization plan for achieving the most efficient site possible. But we'll talk more about those capabilities in the future… 
 
 
Need additional jQuery help?
Leave a comment below or I can be reached at info@stratigent.com.
 
 
 
 
 
By Jeremy Banks
About the Author:

Jeremy Banks is the Quality Assurance Practice Lead at Stratigent.

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