jQuery Version and Plugin Usage Report

BuiltWith.com downloaded the top million sites to determine the version usage of jQuery and jQuery plugins. The report details the most popular jQuery versions and plugins in use on the web today.

Introduction

jQuery is the most popular javascript library in use on the web today. Its growth has increased on a monthly basis since 2008 based on our  tracking. Today, jQuery is in use on more than 50% of the top 10,000 sites on the Internet and on 30% of the top million1.

jQuery History

John Resig launched jQuery on approximately the 16th January 2006 – John wrote on his blog – “Making it to both del.icio.us popular and the front page of digg just shows how badly Javascript programmers want a better library for writing code with.”2

Just over a week later Michael Geary had written the first third-party jQuery plugin, a JSON manipulation function which would later be added to the main jQuery library.

Version 1.0 of jQuery was released on August 26th 2006 and since then there have been 33 increment releases, with the current version at 1.6.4, released on September 12th, 2011.

Trends

BuiltWith.com has been compiling weekly trends of website technology usage since 2008. The following chart shows jQuery usage in the top 10k sites on the Internet –

jQuery Usage in the Top 10k Sites since December 2008

jQuery Version Usage

In the top million sites as provided by Quantcast, 311,654 sites report using jQuery, 60% of those use 5 different versions of the jQuery library.

Top 5 Versions of jQuery in use in the Top Million Sites

Version 1.4.2 is the most popular version of jQuery in use, shortly followed by version 1.3.2. The release cycle of jQuery is typically quite short, ranging from a few days (bad build fixes) to a few months. Version 1.3.2 was the stable version of jQuery until 1.4 was released  11 months later. Version 1.4.2 was also the latest released version for 8 months. The amount of time these were the latest versions of jQuery may be a contributing factor in their increased usage.

291 sites out of the top million reported using version 1.6.4 which was available 7 days after the report was generated.


jQuery Version Changes over 2011 (large version)

The area chart above shows the changes in version usage since January 2011 to October 2011 in the top million sites. It shows how version 1.3.2 and 1.4.2 are being replaced by more fragmented versions of jQuery versions 1.4.3 and above.

Popular jQuery Plugins

jQuery plugins provide additional functionality off the back of the jQuery library. Plugins build on jQuery functionality to provide many different functionality aspects, such as widgets, validation, fixes for older browsers and many more functions.

Popularity of the Top 10 jQuery Plugins in the top million sites3

jQuery UI is the most popular plugin for jQuery. Developed by the jQuery team, it extends jQuery by providing tabs, sliders, calendars many other widgets and a themeing framework.

Mike Alsup’s Cycle plugin, the slideshow plugin, is the second most popular jQuery plugin followed by the Form plugin developed by the same author.

Conclusion

BuiltWith found over twenty thousand different jQuery related files used in the top million sites showing jQuery has a very active third party developer following.

jQuery is helping to shape the next generation of websites. As web sites move into HTML5, CSS3 development and uptake of modern web browsers such as Google Chrome, Firefox and IE9 continues, jQuery is an indispensable tool and is the de facto tool for website development.

Methodology

The research for this report was carried out by looking for jQuery related javascript files embedded into the homepage of the top million sites. jQuery related files were any which contained the word jquery. From those, if a version number could not be detected in the filename (such as jquery.js) the file was then downloaded to find the version number in the javascript file itself. The historical JQuery usage chart is based on version numbers in JQuery file names only.

The coverage does not include sites which embed jQuery in files which are not named jQuery and also only reported entries where the version number could be identified.

The plugin detection was found in a similar way, this report does not cover any jQuery extensions that do not use the word jQuery in the filename.

References

1. jQuery Usage Statistics
http://trends.builtwith.com/javascript/jQuery

2. John Resig – Announcing the jQuery Blog
http://blog.jquery.com/2006/01/24/jquery-blog/

3. Quantcast Top Sites
http://www.quantcast.com/top-sites-1

4. JavaScript Usage Statistics
http://trends.builtwith.com/javascript

Gary

Founder at BuiltWith
Gary is co-founder of BuiltWith and lives in Sydney, Australia.

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