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Dear jQuery: I Love You!

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Dear jQuery:

I love you. So, so much! You've made my life better. You've made my days easier. You've really turned into quite the friend, haven't you? All the time you've saved me has given me so much more time for other activities. Before I met you I spent days pulling out my (metaphoric) hair trying to do even basic document manipulation, and now I've got all this extra time for hobbies like baking, tandem bicycle riding, and napping. I love you, jQuery!

Are you the fastest engine on the track? The most streamlined? The newest cool kid on the block? No. Are you a little overweight? Aren't we all? But that doesn't mean you aren't spectacular. And we all know that a BMW isn't a Porsche but we'd still choose the BMW every time, amirite?

Does anyone have contact information for the first person to look at Javascript and say, "You know, I'm going to make a function named nothing but the dollar sign, and I'll pass all sorts of things in as parameters, and this magical function will know how to understand all sorts of interesting topics, and once I have this function I'll never stop using it." I'd like to buy that person a tall bottle of Chimay as a sign of my gratitude. Who was it? I think it was whoever created Prototype, but I'm not sure anymore. I really think we should celebrate that person's life contributions! Do they still throw ticker-tape parades in lower Manhattan?

Look, every piece of technology has its detractors. That's a given and to be expected. Every ying needs its yang, and every party needs its poopers. Take a jaunt over to StackOverflow some time and search for how to do something simple in jQuery. You're sure to find at least one person beating the drum of "Why would you want to use a library for that when you can do it with these 8 lines of code?!" along with a link to stats showing how much better "Vanilla JS" is than a library like jQuery. And they're right: anything you can do in jQuery really could be done in plain old javascript! But isn't simplification and reusability the whole point of tools in general? Just because I could walk everywhere doesn't mean my bicycle or the subway are bad. Just because I could build a home out of hand-cut logs and micro-carved interlocking double-notched joints doesn't make steel frames or drywall bad.

The best tools are the ones that aim for the intersection between performance improvement growth and expenditure reduction. In other words: What lets me achieve the most success possible in the smallest amount of time or money (or in the world of products and consulting, time-money). jQuery is the ultimate front-end dev tool in that regard. It adds a bit of overhead and takes a bit longer to load on a page (but still only milliseconds longer), but the development performance improvement gain is so substantial that it blows the excess cost out of the water.

So, dear jQuery, keep doing what you do. You make development easier and life happier.

Love, Tim

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