jQuery From The Ground Up: Part I - What is jQuery?

As part of my effort to put more technical content onto my blog, I've decided to break my current talk "jQuery From The Ground Up" into a blog series. My goal here is to go into a little bit more in depth, and try to answer any questions that typically come up during my talk.

  1. What Is jQuery?
  2. Getting jQuery
  3. Setting Up jQuery
  4. What's a Selector?
  5. Doing Something Useful
  6. jQuery UI
  7. Plugins, Plugins, Plugins

What is jQuery?

Excellent question, thanks for asking!  jQuery is JavaScript Library.  Typically in my talk, I ask a series of questions of the attendee's.

  1. How many people are web developers?
  2. How many people use JavaScript?
  3. How many people ENJOY using JavaScript?

There are a rare few that keep their hands raised after I ask question 3.  Those people are crazy, if you ask me.  JavaScript is HARD!  Why would we want to torment ourselves by trying to do so much work in JavaScript?  jQuery solves a lot of our problems.

Simple things, like traversing the DOM, is difficult to do in pure JavaScript.  Even if we were able to write our own solution, it wouldn't be very efficient.  With more and more applications moving to the web, we need to worry about efficiency and speed.  jQuery's main selling point is it's raw speed.  Want to add a class to all the <p> tags on your page?  jQuery can handle it with no issues.  Want to animate a page transition?  No problem!  jQuery has that functionality built in!

Who Uses jQuery?

This is a fun question to answer.  jQuery proudly boasts the following companies on their site as users of jQuery:

  • Google
  • Dell
  • Bank of America
  • Major League Baseball
  • Digg
  • NBC
  • CBS
  • Netflix
  • And more!

What does this tell you?  Major companies, several with large online presences, are using jQuery.  Take NetFlix for example.


Mousing over a movie title will pop up with more information.  jQuery offers these amazing effects with little effort required.  Try to do this with traditional JavaScript.

I'm ready to go?  Now what?

In the next several articles, I'm going to walk you through everything you need to know in order to get started learning jQuery.  I'm going to assume you have NO experience with JavaScript, but you have an idea of what I'm talking about when I write HTML and CSS.  An understanding of CSS is key to using jQuery.

Get started for yourself.  Go to http://www.jquery.com and look around.  Lot's to see and learn.

Enjoy the series.  Ask questions.  Experiment.  Have fun!

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