The team at jQuery recently announced the release of jQuery 1.11.0 and 2.1.0, now available on its content delivery network download page. The double update to the popular JavaScript library promises many new features and upgrades for smoother, more intuitive cross-platform HTML development.

JQuery has not skimped on providing consistent upgrades to its library, which underwent a major revision when the final version of jQuery 1.9 and the beta version of jQuery 2.0 were released in January 2013. JQuery 2.0 made its debut in April of last year.

The new updates continue jQuery's tradition of supporting all modern browsers, and both the 1.x and 2.x jQuery branches utilize the same application programming interface for easy development. The 1.11.0 update expands the horizons of 1.x backward, adding support for Internet Explorer versions 6, 7 and 8. The 2.x branch now supports non-traditional Chrome and Firefox plugins such as node.js.

New to jQuery 2.1 and 1.11
The jQuery team stated that its objective in the new versions wasn't to revamp the whole system and cause disruptive change to APIs. Its aim was to improve performance through bug fixes and key upgrades. Highlights include:

  • More flexibility in layouts: Places in the API in which the browser would be forced to conduct a time-draining layout have been eliminated. This will drive a significant performance upgrade for page loads.
  • Modular, granular builds: jQuery will now utilize asynchronous module definition, a JavaScript API that improves website performance through asynchronous loading.
  • Reduced overhead at startup: The layout flexibility in the API and the modularity at load decreases the amount of code that runs automatically. Now, if a feature is not detected, its code will not run.

The team also announced that it removed sourcemap comments from the minified file. Many developers have voiced confusion about the effects of sourcemaps and were occasionally led to believe that the library itself was malfunctioning. While sourcemap is not present in this release, the jQuery designers stated that they would like to see it return to the library when implementation seems more opportune.

For developers using jQuery to create desktop reporting tools and other applications, a decreased overhead can lead to a faster time to deployment. Enterprise software developers can also benefit from compatibility with more of the Internet browsers regularly used in the business world.

JQuery sites curiously blocked by Sky parental controls
Popularity doesn't always guarantee that there won't be some snafus. In an odd move, parental controls for users on the British network Sky kicked in whenever users tried to access sites using the "code.jquery.com" library, according to PC Pro. It was an error that Sky later rectified, but it serves as a reminder that fickle networks and browsers can end up erroneously wreaking havoc on certain applications and libraries. Reporting tools and HTML5 developers should be aware of potential unintended hiccups in the availability of their Web-based applications.

"This is yet another example of how Internet filters routinely get things wrong, blocking people from essential and non-adult information. It looks like Sky fixed this particular issue fairly quickly," stated Peter Bradwell, policy director at the Open Rights Group, according to PC Pro. "That's unsurprising given how well known JQuery is. ISPs should guarantee that it will be as easy to find out about and have fixed blocks on lesser known content or sites."