jQuery 2.0 released

Hot on the heels of jQuery Mobile 1.3 comes jQuery 2.0, a brand new, full release version of the popular JavaScript library.

The big news — that we’ve known for a while — is that jQuery 2.0 has dropped the library’s support for Internet Explorer 6, 7 and 8. These so-called legacy browsers are slowly creeping towards extinction and it’s certainly true that very few people still use IE6. However, there are still substantial numbers of clients requesting IE 7+ support.

The payoff for dropping IE6, 7 and 8 is a smaller core file (over 8kb for the minified file), with faster performance.

The developers state that jQuery 2.0 is intended “for the modern web” which is reflected in the lack of support for older IE versions. However, one of the key aspects of the modern web — albeit one we hate to acknowledge — is that people are still using legacy versions of IE, particularly in the developing world. In fact, there are so many people currently using IE8 as their browser of choice, it’s a little difficult justifying the label ‘legacy’ at all. Of course it would be nice to only consider the most up to date browsers, but this move by the jQuery development team feels a little premature.

If you’re one of the unlucky majority who still need to support IE6, 7 or 8 then you’ll need to stick with jQuery 1.9 for now, and hope that jQuery 1.10 — which will support legacy versions of Internet Explorer and is scheduled for release in the near future — will serve your purposes.

The dual fork of jQuery 2.0 and the upcoming 1.10 is almost certainly going to lead to confusion. The difficult question is which version of jQuery should developers be using? jQuery 2.0 is new and shiny, but do the performance gains really justify the price paid? jQuery 1.9 is also relatively new and most of the library’s key changes are included in 1.9.

It’s actually arguable that the new ‘2.0’ label is a red herring, and the real changes took place with 1.9, when a number of inefficient methods were killed off. So perhaps jQuery 2.0 and jQuery 1.10 are merely new in name only, released as preparation for further developments down the road.

For the time being, 1.9 seems to be the sensible choice for the vast majority of jQuery developers. Whether or not that will be true for much longer remains to be seen.

Will you be using jQuery 2.0 in upcoming projects? Which is the oldest version of IE you develop for? Let us know in the comments.

Featured image/thumbnail, legacy computing image via Shutterstock.

  • http://www.designingsean.com Sean Ryan

    I, too, was hesitant about them dropping IE8, but with the continuation of the 1.x branch, that issue is really irrelevant. Yes, you may miss out on some shiny stuff, but that is the penalty of supporting an older browser. You also do not get to support cool CSS3 stuff, but that doesn’t mean that CSS3 development should stop.

    Also, breaking off a new version that drops support for older browsers will allow it to stabilize more quickly than if it remained in a beta state for an extended period of time. Which means that as more people start picking it up, it will be that much better.

  • http://www.benhomie.com/ Ben Ho

    Not supporting IE6 fine, IE7 is understandable, but not IE8 at this point of time. I would rather a bigger file size than not having support for IE7 and IE8.

    I foresee wasting more time in fixing things that break as a result of non support, rather than speed up my development time – which is the whole point of using JQuery.

  • Japa Alekhin Llemos

    Yes i will use jQuery 2.0! How hard is it to upgrade a free browser? I mean if you’re using a browser you’re on the internet right? Why not go and upgrade your browser (or use a better one – by better i mean, modern and auto updates itself) while you’re at it. Yes i know that there are a very small percentage of people who are using browsers for intranet browser-based apps like those really closed minded offices but worrying for them should be done by the developer of their app and not the general web development group that targets the general internet population including those who are using IE 6-8 (can you imagine? just upgrade already).

  • http://www.sullysrants.com Sully

    It’s simply too so to ignore those folks using IE8. Yes I would love to be modern / edgy in my sites but its way too early.

    Yes, we can double are efforts and target browsers (as we should) but it would be so much better if the browsers would simply follow standards.

  • http://jgunndesign.com/ Jonathan G

    I agree with the rest of you. IE8 has too large of a market share to make this transition now. Especially for all of the people still running Windows XP because Vista scared them off. On the other hand, the file size is tempting. But I’ll most likely only be using the development version for now.

  • http://www.zell-weekeat.com/ Zell Liew

    With 5.5% of the population still IE 8, I too think it has too large of a market share to make a transition and drop it off the charts.

    Source if anyone is interested: http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_explorer.asp

  • http://twitter.com/leighelliott78 Leigh Elliott

    In the corporate world and with enterprise web applications browser support always lags behind. I agree that IE6 & 7 support could and should be killed off but as already stated in comments many corporate SOE’s still run WinXP + IE8. I know where I work this is the case.

  • Nelson Frioli Modesto

    You don’t need to choose , use both with conditional comments for IE lesser than 9:

  • http://www.facebook.com/Donnergurgler Stephan Fischer

    I think it was the best idea to drop IE support from the jQuery Lib!

    Technology grew rapidly in recent years, like blue-ray players, flat tv screens, iPhones. Customers have no problems to buy new devices, because the old one are buggy, out of date and qualityless.

    If the web-developer allow the customers to get support in old, deprecated Software like Internet Explorer 6, 7 and 8 its our fault, for developing so long, for using qualityless jQuery animation and not CSS Transition. For hours on fallback-techniques, fixes and so on.

    Yes it the best idea to FORCE any people, which are using outdated software to install new one, like Apple!

    The development saves many hours, the technique, speed and quality grows up very much and the customer is more satisfied!

  • http://www.y8u.org/ Y8

    On top of that, I would need to say it’s highly engaging and intelligent.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tilo.rust Tilo Rust

    As a consultant I tell programmers to forget the old IEs and design for future. In my agence, we just pop up a message for the visitors of the sites telling them that they “miss 90% of the modern web if they use IE.” and that there are alternatives. Also we tell people, that programming for IE causes extra costs but to save costs we dont programm an IE version, so sorry, but you will have no acceess to our page. (For an example, see my personal site -shall not be misunderstood as advertisement, please – see: tilorust.com )

  • mhollis

    Nope! This puts me on notice that I cannot use jQuery 2.0. Frankly, I would LOVE to end all support for ANY Microsoft browser—just dump it! But in the real world, I have clients who will look at my work on a variety of devices and I will also get the requisite “My Aunt Mildred can’t see…” emails from them.

    I am happy to dump Internet Exploder 6. In fact, Microsoft is, too. But I will continue to test in 7 and 8 and assume 9 will be somewhere in between 8 and 10. Since Microsoft does not auto-update their browsers like everyone else does, I shall have to deal with their legacy crap for a while.