jQuery 3.0: More interoperability, less Internet Explorer

The upcoming edition of the JavaScript library will come in two versions: one that supports IE8, and one that does not

Piñata de Internet Explorer
Credit: flickr/Javier Aroche

jQuery is moving toward a 3.0 release anticipated in early 2015, the core developer of the JavaScript library said this week.

Key features planned for version 3.0 include support for the Promises/A+ specification, for interoperable JavaScript promises; use of the requestAnimationFrame method to improve animation performance; and the end of support for the Internet Explorer 6 and 7 browsers, said Dave Methvin, lead developer of the jQuery core and president of the jQuery Foundation.

"jQuery simplifies Web development in three ways," Methvin said in an email. "It eliminates quirks that arise in specific browsers, it provides a simple API for manipulating Web document, and it has an incredible community that creates useful plug-ins you can use on your website."

Developers of jQuery 3.0 are not planning a lot of major architectural chances, so it will be close to a drop-in replacement for older versions, Methvin said. "The most important messages for Web developers is that although it's a major change of numbers, it's nothing to fear. We are happy with jQuery's API and most developers seem to agree. So the changes we anticipate are incremental improvements."

Still, there will be a jQuery Compat 3.0 version, the successor to jQuery 1.11.1, along with jQuery 3.0, the successor to jQuery 2.1.1. Compat will offer compatibility with more browsers, albeit at the expense of file size and possibly performance. "There is still quite a bit of Internet Explorer 8 out there in the world, and we want jQuery to support the Web developers who still need IE8 support," Methvin said. "However, there are performance and size benefits to be had by not supporting IE8 and some older browsers. So we have two packages that can serve those different needs." 

Newer technologies, such as Famo.us, have emerged to boost the JavaScript realm. But Methvin sees Famo.us as a complementary technology rather than as a competitor to jQuery. "For example, you could use the Famo.us rendering engine inside a jQuery plugin." 

(InfoWorld Senior Writer Serdar Yegulalp contributed to this report.)

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