Back in April, jQuery 3.4 was released with all the pomp and ceremony of a British monarch on the 4th of July (happy Independence Day to all our American readers). There have been a flurry of minor releases since then, with the current version being 3.4.1. We’ve had a few weeks to poke around, and check out the new features, and more importantly the now deprecated features. What we found was a modern library that defied a few of our expectations.
It’s Not Bloated
There are quite a few myths built up around jQuery, not least that it is bloated and slow. There’s some sense to this, containing as it does code that you probably won’t need. However this is true of all libraries, frameworks, and 3rd party scripts; unless you’re using something so niche that there is nothing superfluous wrapped up in the code, then there will always be a few bytes here and there that aren’t required. [pullquote]drop a jpg and you’ll probably have room to spare[/pullquote] But let’s keep this in proportion: the raw, minified, production version of jQuery is 88kb, if you opt for the slim version without Ajax and the effects, then it’s just 71kb. If you’re working to a strict size quota it’s relatively simple to squeeze 71kb out of a few images. Better yet, drop a jpg and you’ll probably have room to spare.
It’s (Probably) Not Cached
There’s No Longer a Rich Ecosystem
There was a time when jQuery developers were queuing up to deliver time-saving, feature-pushing, bolt-ons. That’s no longer the case. The web has moved on, and the gun-for-hire developers are chasing more lucrative markets, like Shopify, or WordPress. Legacy jQuery plugins (should) still work, and in the case of version 2.n plugins – thanks to the jQuery team’s commitment to backwards compatibility – will (probably) not break using 3.4. (Do make sure to test with the development version of jQuery and check your console, if you’re going down this route.) There will undoubtedly be some kind of market for jQuery 3.4 plugins, and those developers who deem it financially worthwhile to update their code will do so. So for plugins, the release of jQuery 3.4 may actually prompt a long-overdue cull.
Should You be Using jQuery 3.4?
Ben Moss is Senior Editor at WebdesignerDepot. He’s designed and coded work for award-winning startups, and global names including IBM, UBS, and the FBI. One of these days he’ll run a sub-4hr marathon. Say hi on Twitter.