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