Differences Between jQuery and JavaScript

For those new to web development, the terms: jQuery and JavaScript might look like two competing programming languages with an obvious similarity that they start with J. Are there any more similarities you know between these two? Which one is a better choice for today’s web developers? Before we answer these questions, look at the below statement and let’s see what we can decode out of it.

“JavaScript is a scripting language, while jQuery is a library of JavaScript code.”

So, now you know that:

  • jQuery is not a programming language and;
  • both jQuery and JavaScript are basically written in JavaScript.

A comparison between JavaScript vs. jQuery is like “English” vs. “book written in English”. Makes sense?

Now let’s understand jQuery and JavaScript in a little more detail, one at a time.

What is JavaScript?

JavaScript (JS) is a high-level, dynamic and interpreted language that allows client-side scripts to interact with the users, control the browser, alter the displayed document content, and communicate asynchronously. It is a combination of ECMAScript programming language and Document Object Model (DOM). JavaScript is a great way to add interactive elements to the site, ranging from simple things like changing the text color when clicked to complex interactive elements, like a “clickable” button.

Previously, JavaScript was plagued with cross-browser compatibility problems. It had issues as each web browser had its own way of interpreting the code, this created bugs and required developers to spend more time fixing those errors. However, today with new standards enforced, all major web browsers conform to a standard meaning, eliminating the bug issue altogether.

If you ever had a chance to look and compare two snippets of code written in JavaScript and jQuery (don’t worry if you don’t understand the code, because it is not even required here!), for example, writing a function to change the background of a page,



$('body').css('background', '#ccc');



function changeBackground(color) {

document.body.style.background = color;



The above two snippets of code mark the main difference between JavaScript and jQuery – yes, it is the condensed form of the code we require in jQuery to do the same task, which required four lines of coding in JavaScript. Clearly, jQuery is fast and concise!

What is jQuery & why was jQuery born?

jQuery is a cross-platform JavaScript library designed to simplify the client-side scripting of HTML. Essentially, it is a framework built with JavaScript code to help JavaScript programmers doing common web tasks. It makes things like HTML document traversal and manipulation, event handling, animation, and Ajax much simpler with an easy-to-use API that works across a multitude of browsers.

jQuery features set of JavaScript functions, which are readily available for use to make things easier while manipulating DOM and a lot of other things as mentioned above. This is one reason why web developers find creating/altering a web-based application easier with jQuery over using JavaScript.

JavaScript required developers to create their own small frameworks. A group of developers then decided to create custom JavaScript frameworks that would allow them to work around specific bugs without wasting time debugging common features. They created a library of such JavaScript code sets and made it open source and free to use. That’s jQuery. 

There are many other JavaScript code libraries, such as MooTools, but jQuery is the most popular (used by over 80% of the 10,000 most visited websites) because it is so easy to use and extremely powerful.

So, which is better to use: jQuery or JavaScript?

The discussion of jQuery vs. JavaScript has long been the subject of many heated debates, and is still debatable. There is no clear answer to this question. While jQuery can be put to use in most web applications build today, and is clearly fast and concise, there will be times in your career as a developer when an application will need straight JavaScript coding. However, writing complex arrangement of code in JavaScript and then testing it will take more time and can slow down projects.

But skipping JavaScript totally would be similar to jumping on the tools without understanding what those tools are made up of. As a complete web developer, you need to gain some exposure on both the technologies. Using jQuery all the time will leave you uneducated about the nuances of JavaScript and how it affects DOM. But that also does not mean that you need to code using JavaScript when the world (and your competitors!) has already shifted to a quicker and smarter alternative. At the end, you have a make a decision of your own when choosing between jQuery and JavaScript based on the clients’ requirements at hand.

If you aspire to become a skilled front-end developer, it becomes all the more important to have a solid foundation to your skills and knowledge about jQuery and JavaScript programming. Make a smart decision by choosing QuickStart, a pioneer in IT skills and developer training.

Learn the Basics Right with QuickStart

QuickStart opens aspiring web developers to explore the world of JavaScript and jQuery with its jQuery And JavaScript Basics online course. This one-of-its-kind JavaScript and jQuery course from QuickStart has been carefully broken down into two sections: a) learning JavaScript and b) learning jQuery. The jQuery And JavaScript training course lets students learn about adding interactivity to the web pages.

With its personalized learning experience and team of jQuery And JavaScript experts, QuickStart is focused in shaping careers and boosting career growth. QuickStart ensures students get exposure to the latest technological developments while laying a strong foundation of the fundamentals.

This jQuery And JavaScript Basics course by QuickStart is designed for aspiring web development students and professionals with basic knowledge of programming and good familiarity with HTML and CSS. The high impact mentoring on each concept keeps QuickStart learners a step ahead in the race. Learn jQuery And JavaScript Basics at QuickStart and give a kick start to your career today!