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Microsoft Adopts jQuery JavaScript Library

Blog entries by Microsoft's Scott Guthrie and Scott Hanselman today have announced that Microsoft will be supporting the jQuery JavaScript library as part of its official development platform. A jQuery blog entry by John
Blog entries by Microsoft's Scott Guthrie and Scott Hanselman today have announced that Microsoft will be supporting the jQuery JavaScript library as part of its official development platform. A jQuery blog entry by John Resig covers the announcement from the jQuery project's perspective.jQuery makes it easier to use JavaScript for writing Web pages that provide interactivity. It helps to smooth over the differences between different browser versions, so the same code has a prayer of working on both IE, Firefox, and Safari. Microsoft's interest in jQuery probably isn't the cross-browser aspect, but instead its ability to easily implement special effects and Ajax communications.

There are many other JavaScript libraries that do similar things, such as Yahoo UI, Mootools, and Prototype. As recently as early July this year, it appeared that Microsoft might be leaning toward extending its own Ajax.NET to add jQuery-like features, but they apparently decided to table that effort and go with authentic jQuery.

Microsoft's announcement seems like a total adoption of jQuery. Future versions of Visual Studio will ship with jQuery in the package. Visual Studio will include IntelliSense that understands jQuery functions and provides documentation. Microsoft Product Support Services will provide help for jQuery-based projects. A Microsoft shop can use jQuery knowing it's fully supported.

Microsoft will contribute patches and feature improvements back to the jQuery community through standard channels, so this doesn't appear to be a case of "embrace and extend" that will lead jQuery off into incompatible territory. jQuery's plugin architecture makes it easy for anyone to extend or change the basic functionality of the library; Microsoft can add its own functionality through plugins but still take advantage of the jQuery community contributions.

I'm hardly impartial on this development; I've been using jQuery since its inception in 2006, and it's changed the way I write Web applications. jQuery's design makes it easy to solve common problems with a minimum of code. Microsoft made a great choice.