jQuery vs React: Which one to Learn in 2023?

  • 8 mins read

jQuery vs React: Which one to Learn in 2023?

jQuery vs React is a topic that often causes confusion among developers when it comes to choosing the right framework for web development. With both offering unique features and benefits, it can be difficult to determine which one is the best fit for a project. In this article, we’ll delve into the key differences between jQuery and React, exploring their intended use cases and what each one excels at. Whether you’re a seasoned developer or just starting out, this article will provide you with a clear understanding of the pros and cons of these two libraries, so you can make an informed decision for your next project.

What is jQuery?

In essence, jQuery is a “lightweight” JavaScript library. When JavaScript first debuted in 2006, it wasn’t as popular or even as simple to use. By encapsulating several lines of JavaScript code into functions that can be called with a single line of code, jQuery, in a way, changed the business. The only way to describe jQuery is as “write less, do more.”

Additionally, it simplifies several difficult JavaScript calls, such as those for AJAX and DOM manipulation. As a result, you can use jQuery to create tons of cool effects using very little code.

The most widely used and extensible JavaScript library to date is actually jQuery. Many large organizations, including Google, Microsoft, and IBM, use jQuery on the web. Here are some features of jQuery that make it one of the best libraries for web development.

HTML/DOM Manipulation:

jQuery makes manipulating the HTML Document Object Model (DOM) so much easier for you. While JavaScript gives you plenty of options for DOM manipulation, like getElementById and other methods, jQuery makes it even easier. 

You can select, add, remove, and update elements on any web page with so much ease. This just makes the process of building a dynamic web application much simpler, and the best thing is that it saves up your time, too, in case you have to make some changes to the website.

HTML Event Methods:

It’s not just DOM Manipulation that jQuery simplifies, it also wraps HTML event methods which makes it so much easy for you to handle events such as clicks, hovers, hovers, and form submissions.

Simplified AJAX Calls:

Ajax calls can sometimes get messy, right? Well, no more, because one of the best things about jQuery is that it just simplifies the process of making Ajax calls. You can use jQuery.ajax() method to make an asynchronous request to a server and retrieve data, making it easy to build dynamic and interactive web applications.

Here’s a code snippet that shows how you can use Ajax Calls

Code:

$.ajax({
  type: "GET",
  url: "your-url-here.php",
  dataType: "json",
  success: function(data) {
    // handle the returned data here
  }
});

Over here, we’re using the $.ajax() method to make a GET request to the specified URL. The data type expected in the response is JSON, and the success function is executed when the response is received successfully. This simple code demonstrates how easy it is to make AJAX calls using jQuery and how it helps simplify the process of building dynamic and interactive web applications.

Cross-Browser Compatibility:

Imagine writing a code that will be compatible with almost every browser there, feels good right? Well, you just don’t have to imagine anymore because one of the key benefits of jQuery is its compatibility with almost all major browsers, including older versions of Internet Explorer. This makes it a popular choice for organizations and developers who need to support a wide range of devices and platforms.

What is React?

React is a JavaScript framework that is open source, declarative, effective, and very adaptable Facebook developed that in 2011 primarily for the creation of interactive UI components. Developers previously created user interfaces by hand using vanilla JavaScript or React precursors like jQuery, which took more effort and produced less accurate results. That all changed with React.

React offers reusable library code that reduces overall development time and the potential for mistakes. With React, programmers can create complex yet user-friendly single-page apps that are huge in scope and dynamic appearance.

In addition to these, JSX and Virtual DOM are two more important characteristics that set React apart from other web development frameworks.

Here are some features of React that make it one of the best JavaScript libraries.

Reusable Components

Let’s be honest nobody wants to write the same code over and over again, right? Here’s when React makes things so much easier for you. Reusable Components are one of the key features of React, what it means is that React allows you to build complex user interfaces by breaking down the user interface into small modular pieces. 

These components are then combined to create a full web page. The ability to reuse components not only speeds up the development process but also makes it easier to maintain the code. For example, if a change needs to be made to a component, it can be updated in one place, and the changes will be reflected throughout the application.

JSX

Things would be easier if your framework had a code similar to that of HTML, right? Well, in that case, React is really for you. JSX is a syntax extension that allows you to write HTML-like code in your JS application

What it does is make it easier for you to manipulate the DOM and create complex user interfaces. When used in conjunction with React, JSX provides a way for you to describe the structure and appearance of the UI components, making it easier to visualize and understand the code.

One of the benefits of using JSX with React is that it makes it possible to write code that looks more like HTML, which is familiar to many developers. This makes it easier for you to understand what is happening in the code and to debug any issues.

Here’s an example code snippet of JSX in React:

import React from 'react';

function HelloWorld() {
  return (
    <div>
      <h1>Hello World</h1>
      <p>Welcome to the world of React!</p>
    </div>
  );
}

export default HelloWorld;

In this example, the HelloWorld function returns a div element containing an h1 and a p element. When this code is rendered, it will create the HTML structure and display the text “Hello World” and “Welcome to the world of React!”

Open Source

React is actually developed by Facebook, which well is surprisingly one of the biggest organizations to exist. What makes React so popular is the fact that React is an open-source project, making it easily accessible to developers and contributing to its growing community and library of add-ons.

Extensive Library: 

Nobody even comes close to React when we talk about building user interfaces. React has a vast set of the library of components and add-ons.  Developers all around the globe have really helped to curate and expand React community, which does wonders for you. You get to find pre-built components that you can instantly use in your app.

And if you want to get started with React, the devs make it super easy, with an awesome tutorial on their website.

What is the difference between jQuery vs React?

Although both jQuery and React are JavaScript libraries, their functions are distinct. With the help of a library called jQuery, dynamic modifications to a website or application, including animating items or sending AJAX queries, may be made more easily. It offers a variety of capabilities for working with the DOM and modifying the user experience.

React is a powerful JavaScript library for developing user interfaces. It breaks down complex interfaces into smaller, reusable components, making it easier to create and maintain. With React’s virtual DOM, updates to the user interface are fast and efficient, avoiding slow and costly DOM operations. Additionally, React includes JSX, a syntax extension that allows developers to include HTML-like code within their JavaScript.

jQuery vs React: Comparison

  • Query interacts with the DOM directly, resulting in slower performance compared to React’s virtual DOM implementation.
  • React is better suited for large-scale applications due to its component-oriented design and fast virtual DOM performance.
  • While both jQuery and React aim to simplify development, their goals and target use cases differ. jQuery is ideal for basic websites with animated navigation and button-triggered events, while React is better suited for complex web applications with multiple views.
  • React is a relatively newer platform compared to jQuery, with a larger number of NPM packages available for integration with external libraries.
  • jQuery has a limited number of NPM packages, possibly due to a significant number of developers switching to other platforms before the release of NPM.

Alternatives to jQuery and React

There are many alternatives to both jQuery and React. Here is a list of them

Alternatives to jQuery:

  • Vanilla JavaScript: 
  • Lodash: 
  • Axios

Alternatives to React:

Is jQuery better than React?

Now thats a really difficult question–we really can’t say one is better than another because both of them are used for different purposes. jQuery is a library that simplifies the process of making dynamic changes to a website or application, while you can think of  React as a library for building user interfaces using components and a virtual DOM.