jQuery or plain old JavaScript? Which should I learn?

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by cloud, Mar 10, 2009.

  1. cloud macrumors member

    Jul 4, 2002
    The Matrix
    Hello all.

    I've taken a beginner class in JavaScript. I feel that I know enough to start teaching myself more by reading books, but I'd rather spend my time learning jQuery since the learning curve looks a bit lower.

    My question is, should I continue trying to teach myself JavaScript, or is it ok to just move on to learning jQuery? I don't have to be a JavaScript pro to do things in jQuery...right? It doesn't seem like a major pre-requisite, but I'm sure some knowledge in it would help.

    I guess my time is a factor, since I have a JavaScript book that has 1000 pages and a jQuery book that has about 300 pages.

    Thanks for your time. Any comments would help.

  2. angelwatt Moderator emeritus


    Aug 16, 2005
    Why not both? Really. Sounds like you've had some time to learn the basics, which will get you pretty far with jQuery, but jQuery also isn't a magic bullet. It allows you to do certain things more quickly, but no JavaScript framework covers everything. You'll want to keep learning JavaScript on its own as well, but if you like you can focus more of your time on jQuery. It kind of depends on what you're wanting to accomplish with JavaScript as well.

    Myself, I don't use any frameworks. I like learning the language and finding out how it works and finding out what does and doesn't work in each browser. I also only need a little thing here or there done with JavaScript so I don't want the overhead of having the user download the framework just to get some functionality on my site.
  3. SrWebDeveloper macrumors 68000


    Dec 7, 2007
    Alexandria, VA, USA
    The answer posed by angelwatt is the politically correct and most common and sensible suggestion to newbies regarding Javascript - always learn the core language first, and use the frameworks when applicable to extend functionality and make certain jobs easier.

    However, I disagree with this part: "overhead of having the user download the framework just to get some functionality on my site"

    Just so you know, JQuery can be downloaded in compressed format, plus you have the option of downloading only what you need in terms of the core and other modules needed for plugins. Compared to basic Javascript of course anything added above that is technically "overhead" but these days the JQuery modules are so small and the code it takes to accomplish something is also commonly small in size -- so it isn't a resource hog by any means when used properly.


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