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30 June 2012, 16:02

jQuery 2.0 to drop support for older IE versions

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The developers of the widely used cross-browser JavaScript library jQuery have announced that they will be dropping support for all versions of Internet Explorer prior to IE 9 with the release of jQuery 2.0 in early 2013. In a blog posting, the jQuery team says that support for older versions of the browser is interfering with their roadmap for features planned for the library in the future.

The developers plan to start removing support for these older versions of IE with the release of jQuery 1.8 which is expected to arrive within a month. At first, the IE-specific interfaces will only be deprecated, not removed. jQuery 1.9, expected to be released in the beginning of next year, will then remove many of the deprecated functions but provide optional plugins and alternative APIs for most of them. These will be officially supported by the project and jQuery 1.9 should work with older versions of Internet Explorer as well as the current version does. It is then planned to release several 1.9.x bug fix releases to catch regressions and bugs caused by the switch to the new APIs. Finally, jQuery 2.0 – planned to be released not long after version 1.9 – will drop support for earlier IE versions but support the same optional plugins and APIs.

For users of the project, this means that if they need support for Internet Explorer 6, 7 and 8 on their web sites, they will have to plan to stick with jQuery 1.9 and not upgrade beyond it. For all other users, jQuery versions 1.9 and 2.0 would be interchangeable for all intents and purposes. Although jQuery was always designed from the start to address the differences in all browsers, the team states that older versions of IE "have been a thorn in the side of web developers for a decade." While the developers do not want to ignore what they perceive as up to third of their audience, the maintenance of supporting the older IE versions is apparently outweighing all other concerns.

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