back to article Study shows half of all websites use jQuery

The jQuery open source JavaScript development library is now running on 50 per cent of all websites, according to the latest data from web technology surveyor W3Techs. That's nearly a 40 per cent gain from a year ago, over which time W3Techs says one of the top 1 million websites started using jQuery every four minutes. Among …

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And a bloody good thing too!

There's a reason jQuery swept every one of its predecessors into the dustbin of history -- those who still use other, lesser Javascript libraries only do so because a) they find it too much effort to learn anything new, or b) they have to support sites where everything's done in Prototype or what-have-you, and nobody wants to pay for modernization. Ave, jQuerius! Imperabitis te salutant!

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Re: And a bloody good thing too!

The only reason it ha gained popularity is because JS is a pita, people don't want to learn it and jquery has an ass load of plugins mincreasing the likelihood you can achieve something without writing code.

That would be fine except through the process of attracting all the copypasta monkeys jquery has ended up with a butt-load of low quality plugins and you might as well write it yourself.

Jquery itself is an unnecessary layer. The language needs fixing rather pasting a framework on top of it.

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jai
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Re: And a bloody good thing too!

@toadwarrior

yes, and the world would be a much better place if we all coded in assembler like in the good ol' days, eh?

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Re: And a bloody good thing too!

@toadwarrior

I agree that these libraries generally do things that should be available directly anyway. But they are not available directly. In addition, the libraries allow people to try out different things that may become standardised in JS or HTML or CSS later, once best practice has been established.

Much I disdain the copycat practice of many developers it is very Canutish to expect it to change. We have to live in the world in the way it is and not the way it ideally should be. User experience matters and the web which is now commercially driven has got a lot nicer to use over the last 5 years or so thanks to libraries like these because it affects companies' bottom lines.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: And a bloody good thing too!

It handles a lot of cross browser things for you making your code cleaner and easier to read.

Sure, if you do things badly it can be slower and if you include a lot of plugins you don't need then you're wasting bandwidth, but it's surely better than having a site that doesn't work on a particular browser?

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Re: And a bloody good thing too!

Canut (Knut?) was actually trying to show his advisers that he couldn't hold back the sea (they didn't believe him). A common misconception.

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Re: And a bloody good thing too!

@toadwarrior

"mincreasing" -- I see what you did there.

"The language needs fixing rather pasting a framework on top of it." -- The language may need fixing but frameworks are useful RAD tools. JQuery is far from being an unnecessary layer.

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JDX
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Facepalm

Jquery itself is an unnecessary layer.

Yeah and the same for STL

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Re: And a bloody good thing too!

Word of the day: "Copypasta", possibly a typo but I love it!

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Word of the day: "Copypasta"

Somebody's never spent any time in the wretched hive that is 4chan, I see!

I'd say you're probably better off, but then, people do mistake /b/ for the entirety of the site, and there are actually some people there with a lot of useful things to say. Just, you know, stay out of every board on there that you've ever actually heard of, plus the porn boards (unless that's what you're after, of course) and you'll probably do OK.

Oh -- and lurk, don't comment! It's the difference between watching the sharks through the glass bottom of the boat, and hopping over the side to go see them first-hand.

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Meh

No, really, how much is it *used*?

Yes, I see it all over the place, pulled into this and that page. But, I've been wondering... How much of the library is really used?

Somebody wants easy DOM queries, $('bang') it. Somebody wants a resizable text box, we got your widget right here! But doesn't that mean jQuery has simply become the lowest-common-denominator bag-o-widgets? If you need one or two tweaks it is easiest to slap in, so go ahead. In fact, I see it slapped into pages also using other JS libraries. It is much easier to steal effects and stuff them into existing pages now that libraries are trying harder at coexistence.

Preponderance is cool, I guess, but what is the penetration in terms of real usage? Finding the limits of what it can do? Are people really going to cheer just because JQuery is become as ready a tool as PHP?

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Recent Changes

Ironically, developments in HTML5, JavaScript & CSS3 will make much of jQuery redundant. Much of the functionality and special effects are now built into JavaScript and CSS, and will perform better there since they in native code without the overhead of polyfilling which is one of the benefits of jQuery.

The other irony is that jQuery 2 promises to drop support support for legacy browsers, making it less of a solution for polyfilling.

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Pint

It's good to be the king.

I first got it for it's cross-browser capabilities, but the AJaX was so easy that I could never let it go.

It's very, very easy to use and it's free. Hard to see any migration away.

Beers for cheers.

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Maybe I'm an outlier....

But I copied the two routines that my pages use from my browser cache directly to my server and changed the get requests to pull the files from my local server. This saves me many headaches when I'm on a network that doesn't have access to the 'net.

I presume I'm allowed to do this?

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Re: Maybe I'm an outlier....

You should check the licence to be sure but basically, yes, it is perfectly okay to rehost the library.

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"over 50% of websites are now needlessly slow"

Yeah, that thing wouldn't be not useful to webmonkeys or they wouldn't use it. Webmonkeys who all use the latest in browsers with the best of javascript accellerators on a nicely fast machine with a wide screen attached. But not all of us do. And that code is eating cycles on the client side, not the server side.

This isn't even about form, but about preference in what brand gears to power your website with. Who cares? What happened to function? To delivering the content the site visitor came to get? Or is "UX XP" the only thing that still counts? What?

As such, this "study" is a bit useless. Including the glossing over that plenty of people just get some package from somewhere that then just happens to use this thing. Or they'll use it themselves but haven't realised that indeed, sucking a lot of code just for one or two functions, and from elsewhere to boot, is a recipe for a needlessly slow website.

Because, you know, everybody has a computer just like mine, with a screen just like mine, with an os just like mine, with a browser just like mine that runs permanently in a maximised window just like mine. These are perfectly valid assumptions and so is the assumption that the popularity of the code behind it matters down to the percentage points of how much dodgy studies say it is used.

Dear webmonkeys, be a little considerate of the other people's cycles you're deciding to waste, there's a good simian, thanks.

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Just disable javascript

Plenty of websites work better without it. If one relies on javascript, go to a competitor.

PS: I usually get the opposite problem - when I run a browser full screen I get a narrow web page with big blank borders.

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Anonymous Coward

That doesn't change the point:

If a website works better without javascript, that really does just mean that the maker wasn't really interested in providing the best possible presentation of the content, but was having a jolly old wank with the latestest and gratestest of "web technologies".

So you're advocating to turn it off. Well, in one sense I don't mind, except that it's a pain to have yet another thing to manage on a per-website basis, and that requires functionality in the browser that often isn't even there or requires a plugin or something, lest you end up turning it on and off and on and off and so on again.

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Re: "over 50% of websites are now needlessly slow"

I have to agree for the most part. I do have to use JQuery sometimes (if I'm working on something that's already using it for example), but for most things it's just as easy to use plain ole' Javascript.

If you're going to pull in a framework, you want to be damn sure you're going to be making good use of it. Pulling JQuery in just so you can shorten what you have to type doesn't quite cut it IMHO.

That said, it does provide some useful functionality. Things like add.event('ondomready') don't seem to exist in plain Javascript (I may be wrong here), but I'd never pull in an entire framework just to be able to use that one function!

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Re: "over 50% of websites are now needlessly slow"

Dear webmonkeys, be a little considerate of the other people's cycles you're deciding to waste, there's a good simian, thanks.

Oi, Captain Condescending, if you l-users would knock it off with all this still-using-IE6 and thinking-Chrome-works bullshit, I wouldn't have needed to use jQuery in the first place. As it is, it makes the lives of front-end developers far, far easier, and written properly it causes no noticeable slowdown at all in my experience. But what would I know, I'm just a simian.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "over 50% of websites are now needlessly slow"

What about people who have to write javascript that still needs to work on old versions of IE? using the latest HTML5 and other tech is not an option. Some NHS systems are stuck on IE6.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "over 50% of websites are now needlessly slow"

The year 2000 rang, they would like their opinions back.

I never got all the JQ hate, people don't have 28k modems anymore so library load time should never be an issue - especially if you load it off a CDN or it's cached. We stress test our system on new and legacy browsers and JQ is never an issue.

I'm not saying that it's the answer to everything, but since JavaScript has always been a PITA, surely any tool that makes the code shorter and quicker is brilliant.

I do agree with comments about dragging in entire libraries just to use $(shorthand) though! Pointless

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "over 50% of websites are now needlessly slow"

I never got all the JQ hate, people don't have 28k modems anymore so library load time should never be an issue

Actually, some of our customers effectively still do. Most are using 56K but the throughput is so poor they achieve the speed of a 28K. It's a long story of why, so I won't bore you with that.

That said, they do understand that slow loading websites are the result of their connection and not of the site itself, so even here it's a bit of a non issue.

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Re: "over 50% of websites are now needlessly slow"

You forgot to mention the 1Gig connection to the web server that they expect you to have.

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Re: Just disable javascript

Did you accidentally delete 'like this one' from your last sentence?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "over 50% of websites are now needlessly slow"

"there's a good simian"

You'll get the websites I'm paid to make. You'll get the websites you want when you're prepared to pay for them.

"This isn't even about form, but about preference in what brand gears to power your website with. Who cares?"

Eh? There's no other decent toolkit with the same range of functionality, because jquery has gobbled up so much dev time. I'll tell you this much though, we certainly don't care that you have an opinion about javascript frameworks.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "over 50% of websites are now needlessly slow"

I'm not saying jQuery is the problem, but a slow internet is not something from 2000, it's a geographical thing. We have clients around, with our main data centre in London, and we aggressively track users to determine what experience they are having.

Some users, particularly in APAC, have stonkingly awful network connections. For initial page loads, where they have to rush off and fetch all these JS resources, we would see things like 7s to load jQuery, 20s to finish loading content, etc, etc. Size matters, number of entities in a page matter, number of requests before the browser can render the page matter. In China, IE 6 usage is massively prevalent, so forget about gzip'ing javascript.

Unsurprisingly, users in North America and Europe do not have these issues. However, since users in NA/EU no longer spend much moolah, it's worth concentrating on APAC.

FYI, we use CDNs; we even had an APAC origin server to speed up that part of the process. The main speedup was from reducing the number of javascript libraries/components loaded, spriting images and optimising HTML to reduce page size.

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Re: "over 50% of websites are now needlessly slow"

Fuck yeah, man, let's all party like it's 1997! Where's that old Mosaic binary?

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Anonymous Coward

Best tool for the job...

In terms of sheer time saving, Jquery is the obvious choice, however...

There's many cases of someone throwing the entire Jquery UI library just to popup a single modal window :)

What would've been done with a hundred lines of code of Javascript, now ends up with thousands.

Does this make us lazy programmers? - or are we just so time poor, it's the quickest way to develop?

Probably both.

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Hands up

I must admit to using it, or a derivative, as well, there are graphics routines that I use that would otherwise be too time consuming to write myself.

If my web page takes longer than 0.2 seconds to load I honestly dont care. The kind of audience that I attract don't care either, so speed, or the saving of a few clock ticks, is not the most important criteria.

I really hate that argument that "speed of execution" is everything, in a few cases yes it is important but in many others its Ok to take time. Not everyone wants to be able to run like 100m sprinters some of us like to doddle..... It frees up more time for reflection and unhurried thought.

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Mushroom

Oh noes... potential monoculture...

with all that means with respect to 0-day holes...

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Colour me sceptical

but I don't quite believe those statistics. HTTPArchive doesn't quite go into such detail but has some interesting comparative statistics. I'll have to check the source code but I think that for statistical purposes JQuery counts as a "Google library" because it is often served from the Google CDN. This itself begs the question as to how do you identify which libraries are being used if you can't rely on the source domain. You'd almost certainly have to execute the code to test which W3Techs don't do.

JQuery certainly is popular and also supported by lots of CMSes but it is also monolithic being used for all kinds of different things. Used wisely with other libraries like Modernizr it makes cross-browser development a lot easier. I have long been sceptical of using JS in websites but it makes interactive websites so much easier both for users and developers as evinced in any kind of reporting.

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Anonymous Coward

widespread != popular

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The Register could do with some jQuery / Ajax love

Upvote / Downvote and get sent to a new page, then you have to hit the back button to get back to the forum.

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Linux

Re: The Register could do with some jQuery / Ajax love

I believe the convoluted process of committing any action on the comment/forum threads is to maximise the amount of advertising shown (or in my case: the amount of advertising ad-blocked)

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Unhappy

Re: The Register could do with some jQuery / Ajax love

Upvote / Downvote and get sent to a new page

and you get asked to log in again on a random basis - even when you've recently posted a comment.

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Learn to Greasemonkey

Decorating the upvote/downvote buttons with a cute little click handler that calls jQuery.ajax() and then returns false isn't exactly hard work, you know? Haven't got the count incrementing yet, but then, I don't really care, either, so it isn't all that high on my list.

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jQuery's romping away, and yet Moodle still refuse to use something other than bleedin' YUI.

YUI, for feck's sake!

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The whole thing is built on YUI. Jquery wasn't around when Moodle was in its infancy. Why would they rewrite all their code just to switch to a different JS library?

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JavaScript is crap

because at least one of the companies helping 'JQuery has worked to keep it crap. That worries me greatly.

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Trollface

"Study shows half of all websites use jQuery" -- Problem?

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javascript is not actaully crap

Its really really powerful.

Its just a PITA when you don' understand it. It is, after all, the most misunderstood language. Look up the crockford lectures : "its the only language people try and use without ever actually studying".

node.js looks interesting and is gaining momentum, its all javascript.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: javascript is not actaully crap

And Node.js is solving the same problems as Erlang already did 20 years ago.. but using a lot more RAM and CPU while at it.

Like it's daddy Javascript it's all marketing shit made for web designers.

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Gimp

Re: javascript is not actaully crap

if node.js is the same as erlang, and node.js is all "marketing shit", doesn't that make erlang "marketing shit" too ? For what its worth I have never seen a single node.js marketing release and prefer C derivative languages.

I don't get the hate for javascript, it used to frustrate me, but that was only when I was learning it.

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Meh

Re: javascript is not actaully crap

It's not actually crap; in many ways I like the things it can do. But it does have more worrying features than most languages, such as semicolon insertion and automatic type conversion, not to mention the ease with which global variables can be accidentally created.

Also, some of the syntax used to get around its limitations can be hard to follow. (Modules defined by anonymous functions that execute immediately, anybody?) The fact that it can be done is impressive; the fact that it needs to be done is a disappointment.

It's a shame that Javascript has remained unchanged for so long. OK, it's a standard because it's on everybody's browser, but this hasn't prevented HTML from moving on.

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Meh

I have mixed feelings on jQuery because, although it's quite lightweight, feature-rich and fast these days, and saves a lot of time when you use it properly, it's a pain to debug more complex operations because the whole thing is built on closures as opposed to nice objects that one can easily inspect.

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Angel

Time and Readability

If you can bash it out quick, have your code readable and maintable and not require any optimisation then jQuery is your go to guy!

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JQuery is damn good

I can do anything that I've ever done with jQuery using vanilla Javascript. In fact, I HAVE done most of the things I do with jQuery using vanilla Javascript. JS has a pretty steep learning curve, but it's really not all that difficult once you learn it. I use jQuery because it drastically reduces the amount of code I have to write. I recently recreated an image gallery that I created just before my introduction to jQuery. The original was around 150 lines of Javascript. The recreation, using jQuery, was 20. In my experience that's pretty indicative of how it goes with jQuery. The amount of time it saves with no noticable overhead (most of the time) makes it well worth using.

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Headmaster

How it works

"The jQuery open source JavaScript development library is now running on 50 per cent of all websites"

No it isn't. It isn't running on ANY website. JavaScript runs in the browser, but can access stuff server side sometimes. Pedantry? Maybe, but perhaps it's better to foster a proper picture of how JavaScript works ;)

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Headmaster

Re: How it works

I'm glad you pointed that out. Although, in terms of ASP, JavaScript can and does run on the server as well as in the client's browser.

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