A questionable choice?

Final version of jQuery with IE 6, 7 and 8 support released

Elliot Bentley
jquery-logo.31

Support for old versions of Internet Explorer to be dropped as version 2.0 moves towards slimmer codebase.

The
final version of jQuery with support for Internet Explorer 6, 7 and
8 has been released as the development team move towards a smaller
codebase for version 2.0.

jQuery 1.9 will be the
last version of the popular JavaScript framework to support these
browsers, referred to collectively in jQuery blog posts as
‘oldIE’.

The change
was announced in June
in an attempt to reduce the size of
jQuery’s codebase, which has gradually increased in
size over time
and is now considered by some to be too
large.

Removing oldIE support in the first beta of jQuery 2.0 has seen a
10% reduction in the size of its footprint, and Dave Methvin,
president of the jQuery foundation,
claimed
that the work was “nowhere near done” in a blog post.
Strangely, neither this release nor a blog post entitled “The
State of jQuery 2013”
make any reference to modularisation
introduced
in jQuery 1.8
.

jQuery has long been praised for its support for older (and
current) browsers with patchy implementation of vanilla JavaScript.
However, this has become increasingly unimportant as oldIE’s market
share continues to dwindle.

Though their numbers are undoubtedly falling, it’s difficult to say
how much of the market will now be left unsupported by jQuery 2.0.

NetMarketShare
estimates that IE6,7 and 8 together retain a
32.88% market share, while
StatCounter
reports a meagre 12.29% share.

It’s far from a sudden transition, however: jQuery’s developers
have pledged to support version 1.9 “as long as oldIE is a
significant factor on the web”. In addition, jQuery 1.9 and 2.0
utilise an identical API, so the latter can be exchanged for the
former on oldIE using conditional
comments
.

Though jQuery 2.1 may introduce new features incompatible with 1.9,
it’s unlikely to come out before 2014 – by which point oldIE will
have (hopefully) disappeared from the market. Before then, the
official jQuery
migrate plugin
can be used to detect deprecated APIs, features
or functionality still referenced within your code.

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