Every developer has a preferred method of code. For every C++ programmer who complains about whitespace-based languages like Python, there are Java programmers who have a love/hate relationship with the development crowd, who claim that it is a difficult and time-consuming programming language. Of course, others say that Java is unfairly hated. However, it’s jQuery by a landslide that generates the most negative opinions from seasoned development professionals.

jQuery, the lightweight javascript library that can ease the writing of javascript code by leveling the differences between browsers, gives a common, simplified syntax. So if it simplifies writing code, why does jQuery seem to be the most despised language of all?

Opinions vary widely on this topic, so we asked programmers Peter Fleming and Dennis Baker, who both work for the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA), to weigh in with their views. NASBA serves as an association dedicated to enhancing the effectiveness of the USA’s 55 state boards of accountancy.

Peter FlemingPeter Fleming, a Development Lead for NASBA, explains his job role as someone who solves problems. “Coding is problem-solving and solution design,” said Fleming. “I’ve been writing code for 30 years in most forms of business; experience and problem-solving are the programmer’s best friend.”

Dennis BakerDennis Baker develops websites in PHP and WordPress for NASBA. In his free time Baker pretends to be Denton Rose, the Elvis Ghost Impersonator. You can see some of Baker’s performances at http://www.jimvarney.org/dentonrose.html.


Do you use jQuery, and if so, why? What are the benefits of using it?

Fleming: I avoid jQuery as much as possible. It doesn’t provide what is required for writing real business applications.

Baker: It’s fairly easy to use and implement.

If you had to recommend one resource that could help a developer jump-start their journey into jQuery what would it be?

Fleming: I would advise avoiding it.

Baker: http://jquery.com/ is a central location for forums, downloads, and getting up to speed on the API.

jQuery seems to elicit strong emotion for and against. Why do you feel jQuery is so hated?

Fleming: Everyone hates JavaScript, and jQuery is tarred with the same brush.

Baker: jQuery is pretty much a library; some may see this as being limited in its use.

Are there any advantages to using jQuery combined with another language such as AJAX?

Fleming: jQuery and AJAX are completely different. jQuery is client side, AJAX is posting requests server side. Though jQuery can facilitate AJAX, it’s definitely not the best tool for it.

Baker: jQuery performs some commonly desired things so that authors don’t need to reinvent some common wheels. jQuery simplifies HTML document traversing, event handling, animating, and AJAX interactions for rapid web development. AJAX and jQuery are often used together because jQuery does all the work on the front end, and therefore you do not need a full understanding of AJAX in order to properly set up your page.

jQuery 1.9 is hailed as an important milestone in jQuery’s evolution. What do you think about the decision to abandon support for legacy versions of Internet Explorer?

Fleming: All versions of IE should be depreciated. Removing support for any version is a good thing.

Baker: IE is horrid; it should be banned.

What is the best piece of programming advice anyone has given you?

Fleming: “If it doesn’t work, plug it in” – Jim Dalton, Head of Computing, Glasgow College of Nautical Studies, Glasgow, Scotland.

Baker: If you can’t figure something out use the 15-Minute Rule; after 15 minutes, stop and find someone to help.

What are some other things you would change about jQuery if you could?

Fleming: Access to a backend engine like xajax, the open source PHP class library implementation of Ajax that gives developers the ability to create web-based Ajax applications using HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and PHP.

Baker: I agree with Peter, access to the backend would be good.

Do you have any opinions on the use of jQuery Mobile?

Fleming: jQuery Mobile is becoming pointless. Mobile devices can run full websites very well without jQuery.

Baker: No opinion on jQuery Mobile.

When you are not writing code or developing web applications, what do you do for fun?

Fleming: I drink beer to recover from the stupid things I have to fix with code; however, all things I say need to be taken with the right pinch of salt. I’m Scottish.

Baker: I pretend to be an Elvis Ghost Impersonator and also drink beer with Peter.