jQuery 2.0 will not support IE6, IE7 and IE8

When jQuery 2.0 ships, it will not support IE6, IE7 and IE8. For those that need this support, they may include version 1.9 using IE conditional comments as follows:

<!--[if lt IE 9]>
   <script src="jquery-1.9.0.js"></script>

<!--[if gte IE 9]>
   <script src="jquery-2.0.0.js"></script>

By dropping support for IE6/7/8, jQuery will become leaner and more versatile. It will be able to accommodate more advanced new features as it moves forward and it will not have a bloated file size. That’s why I shout from the top of my lungs: “Totally unacceptable!”. Yes, you read that last phrase correctly.

Some will agree with jQuery’s team’s decision and some will not. To find out what the correct approach and point of view is, we only have to answer one question: What should jQuery’s primary purpose be? There are two possible answers to this question.

  • First answer: jQuery’s primary purpose is to hide the browser differences from the JavaScript developer.
  • Second answer: jQuery’s primary purpose is to hide JavaScript’s difficulty from the JavaScript developer.

Those that support the first answer, view jQuery as a tool that should mainly provide cross-browser compatibility. With jQuery, they expect to write once and run everywhere.

Those that support the second answer, view jQuery as a tool that helps them write JavaScript more easily. With jQuery, they expect to avoid the JavaScript hassles and quirks.

OK, jQuery is good at both, but which one of the two should be jQuery’s primary purpose? I think that the first issue is way more difficult than the second. So, I think that jQuery should mainly address the first issue. Also, jQuery had to have some kind of notation and philosophy from the get-go. So the second issue is something that is being addressed by jQuery’s team anyway.

Granted, by dropping support for IE6/7/8, jQuery will be able to better focus on cross-browser compatibility for newer versions of browsers. Cross-browser compatibility is a complicated beast and I am sure that jQuery’s team found this change to be inevitable and necessary for them in order to better concentrate on newer challenges.

Anyway, what’s done is done. The decision has been taken and it may be for the best. jQuery will have a smaller file size, will be able to accommodate advanced new features more easily and jQuery’s team will be able to better manage their code base. This move may also persuade more developers to drop support for IE6/7/8. So, everyone wins. Now go tell that to the users of “oldIE” browsers.

About Dimitrios Kalemis

I am a systems engineer specializing in Microsoft products and technologies. I am also an author. Please visit my blog to see the blog posts I have written, the books I have written and the applications I have created. I definitely recommend my blog posts under the category "Management", all my books and all my applications. I believe that you will find them interesting and useful. I am in the process of writing more blog posts and books, so please visit my blog from time to time to see what I come up with next. I am also active on other sites; links to those you can find in the "About me" page of my blog.
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