jQuery reigns as top JavaScript library

The new Libscore search engine, which crawls the Web tracking library usage, affirms jQuery's dominance among popular sites

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It looks like jQuery remains dominant when it comes to JavaScript. Early data from a new search engine, Libscore, which gauges usage of JavaScript libraries, verifies the popularity of the jQuery library while others trail far behind.

Debuting this week and featuring data compiled in November, Libscore shows jQuery used on the home pages of 634,872 of the top 1 million websites, with the $.ui library a distant second, in use at 176,543 sites, and the FB library third, claiming 170,931 sites. JQuery’s popularity has been established previously, with a prior estimate that it was in use on more than 61 percent of all websites.

Built by developers Julian Shapiro and Thomas Davis, Libscore is geared toward open source developers and detects modules loaded via RequireJS, jQuery plug-ins, window variables from non-jQuery libraries and external scripts, a Web page introducing the site notes. "Every month, it crawls the top million sites on the Web according to alexa.com traffic rankings," Shapiro, author of the Velocity.js library, said in an interview this week. For each site crawled, a few queries are run in real time; these queries help determine which third-party JavaScript libraries are in use on that Web page.

Libscore also tracks the top scripts, for JavaScript libraries used on third-party sites. "There's a significant minority of libraries that fall into this category. They usually pertain to hosting and analytics services, like WordPress or Google Analytics," Shapiro said. Google-analytics.com takes the top ranking in scripts, used on 559,366 sites. Top sites themselves are ranked as well on Libscore based on traffic, with Google, Facebook, and YouTube taking the top three spots.

For developers, Libscore provides a transparent view into usage of a library, Shapiro said. Until now, developers looking to assess library usage have been limited to looking at star counts on GitHub. "Of course, that star count is very limited and indirect," according to Shapiro. "It doesn’t really tell you anything other than how many people decided to hit the star button." As such, Libscore could serve to motivate developers by giving them tangible feedback on who is using their work, he said.

Libscore was launched as an open source project in partnership with payments processor Stripe.com and cloud services provider DigitalOcean.


Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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