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10 August 2012, 14:24

jQuery 1.8 introduces modularisation

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Version 1.8 of the jQuery JavaScript library has been released and includes significant changes to several areas of the code base. The essential core of the system, the Sizzle selector engine, has been thoroughly reworked and is now said to be faster than ever. While most modern browsers offer the querySelectorAll method, this method is implemented in so many different ways that jQuery continues to be the tool of choice to level out the differences and provide developers with convenient, uniform access. The jQuery developers have also updated and cleaned up the library's animations code. Most of the improvements and fixes are hidden under the hood; existing code should continue to function without any changes.

jQuery's capability to level out browser differences is also noticeable with CSS prefixes. Browser-specific prefixes such as -webkit, -moz and -ms are added automatically as required. The $(html, props) function has become more flexible: any jQuery method or plugin in the object passed to it can now be used. This does away with the need for a list of method names. Versions 6, 7 and 8 of Internet Explorer continue to be supported and a number of the more than 160 bug fixes in this release affect these versions. The jQuery developers say that they now hope to have fixed almost all CSS and positioning issues. Despite, or maybe because of, these clean-up measures, new features and bug fixes, the total size of the new release has shrunk by a few hundred bytes compared to the previous version.

The client-side bandwidth required for web sites using jQuery can be further reduced with the new modularisation capabilities and a grunt-based build system that allows users to disable jQuery components that aren't needed. In future versions, the jQuery developers plan to further expand this modularisation.

As usual, the complete set of jQuery components can be downloaded from the jQuery CDN (Code Delivery Network) as an uncompressed debug build or as a compressed and minimised version for production use. Other CDN providers such as Microsoft will probably add jQuery 1.8 to their portfolios in the near future. The new version's documentation is still in the process of being updated but is expected to be finalised soon. jQuery is dual-licensed under the MIT License and the GPLv2.

(Harald M. Genauck / fab)

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