jQuery 2.0 drops support for old versions of Internet Explorer

jQuery Foundation assures developers it will continue to support jQuery 1.9 for IE6, IE7, and IE8

jQuery 2.0 has officially arrived, and it's smaller and faster than previous versions of the JavaScript Library. Those improvements come at a price, though: jQuery 2.0 won't support Internet Explorer 6, 7, or 8. At the same time, the jQuery team will stop supporting jQuery 1.x in an array of environments, including apps for Firefox OS, Chrome OS, Windows 8 Store, and BlackBerry 10 WebWorks apps.

The news has caused some concern among some developers, who wonder what the changes mean for the future of a library designed to address vexing cross-compatibility issues. Others have questioned whether it points to plans to drop support for jQuery 1.9 entirely down the road.

jQuery Foundation president Dave Methvin urged developers not to fret about the dropped support for older versions of IE. "Don't worry. The jQuery team still supports the 1.x branch, which does run on IE 6/7/8. You can (and should) continue to use jQuery 1.9 (and the upcoming 1.10) on websites that need to accommodate older browsers," he wrote.

Methvin also said that "in keeping with our pledge to minimize API divergence between the 1.x and 2.x branches, we'll be releasing a jQuery 1.10 within a couple of months that incorporates the bug fixes and differences reported from both the 1.9 and 2.0 beta cycles. In the future, we will be maintaining feature parity between 1.10 and 2.0, 1.11 and 2.1, etc."

Those assurances aren't quelling all developers' concerns, though. "I think what a lot of people are upset about here, is jQuery entered the Web development scene as 'the library that solved cross-browser compatibility issues,'" wrote Joe Cortopassi, a Web and mobile consultant, in a discussion thread on Hacker News. "Now while IE6 is an obvious one to drop, IE7 is a little tougher, and IE8 is downright impossible to drop at this time."

"I understand that jQuery wants to promote a modern framework, but people didn't adopt it for its fancy features," Cortopassi continued. "They adopted it because those fancy features worked the same in every major browser."

Methvin's response: "jQuery 1.9 supports those browsers, and the jQuery team still supports it. Do you have a problem with us supporting a second version that can be smaller, faster, and work in places other than obsolete browsers?"

As to the environments that will no longer garner 1.x support "because 2.x is a far better choice," Methvin said they are "typically non-website scenarios where support for older IE isn't relevant the same time." They include including Google Chrome add-ons, Mozilla XUL apps and Firefox extensions, Firefox OS and Chrome OS apps, Windows 8 Store apps, and BlackBerry 10 WebWorks apps.

Among the improvements in jQuery 2.0 is a smaller size, thanks to the elimination of patches that were only needed for IE6, IE7, and IE8. "We had hoped to remove even more code and increase performance, but older Android/WebKit 2.x browsers are now the weakest link," wrote Methvin. "We're carefully watching Android 2.x market share to determine when we can cross it off the support list, and don't expect it to take very long."

jQuery 2.0 also features custom builds for even smaller files. Developers can exclude combinations of 12 different modules to create a custom version that is even smaller. "A new minimal selector engine, basically a thin wrapper around the browser's querySelectorAll API, lets you shrink the build to less than 10KB when minified and gzipped," according to Methvin.

Additionally jQuery 2.0 is API-compatible with 1.9, meaning all the changes found in the jQuery 1.9 Upgrade Guide have been applied to jQuery 2.0.

The final jQuery 2.0.0 files can be found the jQuery CDN. The minified files, for production, and the unminified versions, for testing, are available at the jQuery website.

This story, "jQuery 2.0 drops support for old versions of Internet Explorer," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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