Visual Studio To Include jQuery Library

In a tip of its hand toward open source software development, Microsoft announced on Sunday that it will incorporate the jQuery JavaScript library into Microsoft Visual Studio and ASP.NET.

In addition, Nokia is showing similar enthusiasm for incorporating this open source library into its products. The cellular equipment provider plans to use JQuery in its WebKit and widget development platform, according to a blog post by John Resig, jQuery lead developer and Mozilla JavaScript evangelist.

Microsoft has its skeptics in the world of open source. However, the company perceived jQuery as a popular library solution "with a huge ecosystem and community" that would complement what developers wanted to see in ASP.NET AJAX, according to an account by Scott Guthrie, a leader in Microsoft's IIS, ASP.NET and Visual Web Dev products.

The jQuery JavaScript library doesn't replace ASP.NET AJAX. Instead, it adds a quick way to perform "selection and animation operations," Guthrie wrote. The two components can work together to make the developer's job a little easier.

"jQuery is a fantastic JavaScript library that focuses on DOM querying and manipulation, whereas the Microsoft Ajax Library focuses on building reusable components and interacting with ASP.NET web services," explained Bertrand Le Roy, a Redmond-based software design engineer.

Microsoft is embracing jQuery whole heartedly. It plans to contribute code and bug fixes back to the open source project's development team, which will have control on whether or not to incorporate the changes. Users trying to get assistance using jQuery in Microsoft's products will be able find it at Microsoft product support. The company also will abide by jQuery's licensing.

"We will distribute the jQuery JavaScript library as-is, and will not be forking or changing the source from the main jQuery branch," Guthrie stated. "The files will continue to use and ship under the existing jQuery MIT license."

The MIT license is permissive and allows code modification and redistribution, similar to the open source General Public License.

Microsoft will enable the use of its Intellisense code annotation capabilities in Visual Studio for the jQuery JavaScript library. That capability will be "available as a free web-download in a few weeks," Guthrie wrote. The capability will be part of the ASP.NET Model View Controller distribution, as well as in future new projects.

"Folks have said Microsoft would never include Open Source in the platform, I'm hoping this move is representative of a bright future," wrote Scott Hanselman, a Microsoft senior program manager. Hanselman provided a number of code samples that take advantage of the jQuery JavaScript library, which can be viewed here.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.