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jQuery Surprise

Give Microsoft this: The company knows how to fill a news cycle. Over the past week, we've seen new information released about .NET Framework 4.0, Visual Studio 2010 and the new Dublin app server technologies. All of this, of course, just a few weeks ahead of the dev-apalooza that will be PDC 2008.

But lost among all the talk of fresh IDEs and frameworks is this little gem from Microsoft Dev Div chief Scott Guthrie about the jQuery JavaScript library, which will be incorporated into Visual Studio and ASP.NET:

"I'm excited today to announce that Microsoft will be shipping jQuery with Visual Studio going forward. We will distribute the jQuery JavaScript library as-is, and will not be forking or changing the source from the main jQuery branch. The files will continue to use and ship under the existing jQuery MIT license."

That sound you just heard was a million Web developers collectively shouting, "Hell yeah!"

As Kurt Mackie reports for, jQuery is a lightweight and simple JavaScript library that enables interaction between JavaScript and HTML. While jQuery is an intriguing tool for AJAX-bound Web developers, the most remarkable thing was Microsoft's decision to forego creating a planned jQuery alternative of its own and to adopt the open source JavaScript library instead.

Guthrie wrote in his blog entry: "Rather than duplicate functionality, we thought, wouldn't it be great to just use jQuery as-is, and add it as a standard, supported, library in VS/ASP.NET, and then focus our energy building new features that took advantage of it?"

Andrew Brust is a Microsoft Regional Director and chief of New Technology at consultancy twentysix New York. He's clearly impressed with Guthrie's stance in this and, honestly, so am I. As Brust noted in his BrustBlog entry:

"Scott's quote demonstrates an uncanny display of common sense that is not necessarily, ummm...Microsoft's hallmark. I believe strongly that this pragmatist, apolitical approach to making .NET better and working with the broad developer community to serve their interests has a strong believer and advocate in Scott Guthrie and that his rising influence in the developer division means we'll continue to see such announcements made and measures taken. This is Microsoft at its best. Bravo."

Bravo, indeed, Microsoft.

What do you think of Microsoft's jQuery decision and how might jQuery fit into your development efforts? E-mail me at [email protected].

Posted by Michael Desmond on 10/02/2008 at 1:15 PM

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