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Jquery vs React: Difference between jQuery and React [2024]

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21st Nov, 2022
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Jquery vs React: Difference between jQuery and React [2024]

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!

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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.

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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. 

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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

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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.

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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

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Read: Vue vs React

jQuery vs 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. 

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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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React, and jQuery are full stack developer programming languages that have their advantages. 

Reasons why you should use React- 

You have learned what React is and what its features are. Now let’s understand the advantages and disadvantages of React and why you should learn full stack React

  1. Easy to use – ReactJS is considerably simpler to use and learn. It includes a substantial amount of instruction manuals, guides, and training materials. Any developer with experience in JavaScript can quickly learn React and begin using it to build web applications.
  2. Its features are reusable – Each of the various components that make up a React web application has its own logic and controls. These parts are in charge of producing a brief, reusable chunk of HTML code that you may use anywhere you need it. Reusable code makes it simpler to create and update your apps. The ability to nest these components with other components enables the construction of complex applications from basic building blocks.
  3. Easy to make web applications – Due to the complicated scripting required, it was difficult to construct web applications using HTML strings, but React has made it simpler. It offers more functionality with less coding. It makes use of the JavaScript Extension (JSX), a specific syntax that enables the rendering of specific subcomponents using HTML quotes and HTML tag syntax.
  4. SEO-friendly – Traditional JavaScript frameworks need help to handle SEO. JavaScript-heavy applications typically have problems being read by search engines. This issue has received a lot of complaints from web developers. Full stack React addresses this problem by making it easier for developers to be found on different search engines.
  5. Enhances performance – Performance is enhanced with ReactJS thanks to the virtual Document Object Model or DOM. The DOM is a programming API that works with HTML, XML, or XHTML. When the DOM was upgraded, the majority of developers encountered a bug that caused the application’s performance to suffer. ReactJS introduced virtual DOM to address this issue. The React Virtual DOM is a representation of the DOM found in web browsers, and it exists entirely in memory. As a result, we didn’t write directly to the DOM while creating a React component. Instead, we create virtual components that, when activated, transform into the DOM, resulting in a faster and more fluid performance.
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Reasons why you should use jQuery – 

Let’s understand the use case of this, one of the most used full stack developer languages

  1. SEO friendly – Even if your website is the most visually pleasing, does it really matter if you trade design for SEO? How your website is coded greatly impacts how Google, Bing, and other search engines will index it. As previously said, jQuery can be optimized for search engines, and developers can use a variety of plug-ins to help them. Unordered list embedding is a good, SEO-friendly technique for jQuery elements.
  2. It is simple – Since jQuery, one of the best full stack developer languages, is based on shorter, simpler code, developers find it intuitive and simple to understand. Using open coding standards and easy syntax, developers may deliver an application or website more quickly. In addition, web designers and programmers don’t necessarily need to be specialists in producing beautiful layouts for their websites. Anyone who has spent hours creating and testing CSS files will value the straightforward implementation that jQuery offers.
  3. jQuery can make animated apps – Flash programmers can be unaffordable. It can take years of effort for the typical developer to be able to produce the movie-like masterpieces that made Flash famous. Flash development has a steep learning curve. On the other hand, jQuery is free and only needs familiarity with HTML and JavaScript.
  4. It is quick – Speed is one of several aspects affecting SEO that Google and other search engines take into consideration. (More to follow on that.) Every developer should make an effort to write code that is as short and simple as possible for these and many other reasons. The best approach to achieve this is to make your code smaller. If your website is built on an HTML and CSS foundation, it will be simple to make universal code changes that will reduce the size.
  5. Open source library – jQuery is a library that is open-source, cost-free, and well-supported across numerous applications. This implies that no license or compatibility concerns are necessary for anyone to utilize this language in their applications. Additionally, Microsoft has formally incorporated jQuery into the IDE Visual Studio 2010. Additionally, Visual Studio 2010 now has strong support for JQuery, one of the best full stack developer programming languages.

What Next?

If you’re interested to learn more about react, full stack development, check out upGrad & IIIT-B’s Executive PG Program in Full-stack Software Development which is designed for working professionals and offers 500+ hours of rigorous training, 9+ projects and assignments, IIIT-B Alumni status, practical hands-on capstone projects & job assistance with top firms.


Rohan Vats

Blog Author
Software Engineering Manager @ upGrad. Passionate about building large scale web apps with delightful experiences. In pursuit of transforming engineers into leaders.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1What is React Js?

React is a library for building user interfaces. It's great to build highly interactive web applications. It was introduced by Facebook. React is simple, declarative and component based. React uses a virtual DOM and makes use of the latest JavaScript features. You can build your application using vanilla JavaScript or Jsx, a syntactical sugar that makes it easy to express complex components. It is a JavaScript library for building user interfaces. It favors a declarative programming style which makes it easier to reason about your code.

2What is Document Object Model (DOM)?

Document Object Model (DOM) is a cross platform, cross language mechanism for manipulating and accessing document object trees. The W3C's Document Object Model (DOM) Specification defines an API for accessing and modifying the content and structure of documents. The DOM defines a uniform interface that allows programs and scripts to dynamically access and update the content, structure and style of documents. The DOM is implemented in popular web browsers so that web applications have the ability to dynamically access and change web pages. XML web services take advantage of the DOM to allow programs to dynamically access and update XML content.

3What is jQuery?

jQuery is a fast, small, and feature-rich JavaScript library. 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. With a combination of versatility and extensibility, jQuery has changed the way that millions of people write JavaScript. It is an easy-to-use JavaScript library for DOM manipulation, event handling, animation, and Ajax functionality. It allows web designers and programmers to create a wide variety of effects and plugins that can be used with a single code on any HTML page. The library is written in JavaScript and uses the DOM for selecting and manipulating documents. It also supports AJAX, CSS, HTML and XML.