Jquery vs React: Difference between jQuery and React [2021]

jQuery and React are both very popular JavaScript libraries which produce very similar results even though they use very different techniques. While jQuery is a utility library that enables developers to build web apps effortlessly using JavaScript, React is a library that allows embedding HTML within JavaScript.

However, there’s usually a lot of confusion and a number of questions surrounding both these libraries – what kind of project can one build with each of them, whether they can be used for the same project, or if one is, in any way, better suited for you than the other.

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There can’t be a straight answer to these questions. But, a close look at the differences between jQuery and React might just bring us closer to an answer. So, let’s do that!

What is jQuery?

jQuery is essentially a ‘lightweight’ JavaScript library. When it came out back in 2006, JavaScript was not as widely used, or even easy to use. But jQuery in a sense, revolutionized the industry, by wrapping many lines of JavaScript code into methods that you can call with a single line of code. The phrase ‘write less, do more’ can be exclusively used to define jQuery.

It also simplifies certain complex calls from JavaScript namely AJAX and DOM manipulation. So, it actually made it painless to shift from creating traditional websites to developing really dynamic web apps.

jQuery is till date the most popular and the most extendable JavaScript library. Many big companies like Google, Microsoft, and IBM use jQuery on the Web. 

jQuery Features

  • jQuery supports HTML/DOM manipulation
  • It also wraps HTML event methods
  • It provides CSS manipulation
  • It is easier to use effects and animations with jQuery
  • AJAX calls are simplified on jQuery
  • It is a library full of different utilities, including plugins for almost any kind of task out there
  • jQuery runs exactly the same on almost all major browsers

What is React?

React is an open source, declarative, efficient and extremely flexible JavaScript library that was created by Facebook in 2011, essentially for the purpose of building interactive UI elements. Before React developers used to build UIs by hand using raw JavaScript or using React predecessors like jQuery, which meant longer time and less accuracy. With React, all that changed. 

React provides reusable library code which cuts down on the total development time and also shortens the scope of errors. With React, developers can build large-scale, dynamic-looking single page applications that are sophisticated but convenient to use.

In addition to these, React has two key features that differentiates it from other libraries – JSX and Virtual DOM.

Companies like Airbnb, TripAdvisor and obviously Facebook and Instagram use React.

React Features

  • Using React gives the developer access to React code snippets and components, thus they can create specific parts of an User Interface
  • By using JSX you can directly manipulate DOM
  • It also provides a Virtual DOM to improve the performance of the website
  • It is an open source project
  • There is a React library to attend to whatever specific UI function a developer needs to address
  • The React library is growing exponentially, along with the community’s curated library add-ons

Read: Vue vs React

jQuery vs React
jQuery React
jQuery directly interacts with the DOM which results in a slightly lower performance than React. Traditional DOM amis also slower at providing updates.  React uses virtual DOM for better speed, performance and user experience.
jQuery is not suitable for large size applications. It leads to the generation of spaghetti code and traditional DOM doesn’t support complex codes either. The components-oriented architecture and virtual DOM implementation in React makes it suitable for building large-sized applications.
jQuery and React are relatively alike when it comes to ease of use, however, their objectives are different. jQuery gets the job done extremely effortlessly, for certain kinds of projects, like building a simple website with animated navigation menus, triggering events with a button and like. React, being a UI-specific library, specializes in building web apps with complicated functions and a variety of views.
jQuery has been around for 7 years longer than React. But the number of NPM packages for jQuery is significantly low. This might be because NPM came out in 2019, when a large chunk of developers had already started shifting from jQuery to other platforms. React is loaded with NPM packages, which are significantly higher than jQuery. Hence, React developers get a head start  when working with third-party libraries.
The size of the library has the most effect on user end experience, as no one likes to sit and wait for loading a page. The jQuery library is just 75KB, which is almost 18% lower than React. The React library is somewhere about 95KB in size, which becomes the reason for frequent protest from React developers. It loads almost 20% less in terms of speed on a mobile device.
Although jQuery is one of the most used JavaScript libraries till date, it is limited in certain aspects.  Lately, React has been growing exponentially, and over the years, web developers have been shifting from jQuery to React or Angular. Loads of companies have also been adapting to the React ecosystem to reap its benefits. 

jQuery vs React: Which is better?

Now that you have gone through the basic features and strengths of jQuery and React, let’s come back to our original question – Is jQuery better than React or vice versa? This question can be answered on the basis of 2 notions.

If you are a developer, the problem has no clear solution because each platform is better suited for their respective fields. While jQuery is a fine choice for simple web building, using animations and effects, React helps you perform more sophisticated functions and principally highlights UI development, DOM manipulation and the likes. 

However, in terms of job aspects and career opportunities, React definitely wins the game and is, at the same time, future sealed. Although jQuery is still used massively, React, backed by Facebook, is growing exponentially and it seems like it is going to be there for a significant amount of time in the coming years.

Also Checkout: Node JS vs React JS

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