Microsoft to add jQuery in Visual Studio: Why I think it’s great

.NET, ASP.NET, JavaScript, Technical stuff, Work
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The news took the community by surprise and the reactions are overwhelmingly positive: Microsoft is going to ship jQuery with the ASP.NET MVC framework (very soon) and with Visual Studio (in a near future). For more details, ScottGu and Scott Hanselman are talking about that in a very complete way.

I think it’s great news on many levels. First, because I hear that jQuery is a great framework. I must admit I never used it, because I didn’t do much web development lately (but I will get back to it in a number of private projects soon) and also because I am usually wary of frameworks and prefer to develop my own JavaScript. Of course this is only viable because I used JavaScript mainly on small private projects for the past few years, and I wanted to have the learning effect of programming against it directly instead of having a higher level framework to “talk to”. I think that now is the time for me to look more into it, however, and this is just what I will do for my site which needs a rather heavy facelift anyway.

But more importantly, it’s a major step forward for Microsoft. There was a request for similar functionality in ASP.NET AJAX. This was on the list of requirements for a future version. And yet, instead of using the vast resources at their disposal, Microsoft decided to use an existing, widely acknowledged open source framework. They also plan to contribute patches to jQuery, but will do so following the standard procedure that this open source framework is already using.

This is really newsworthy because there are many other areas where such a decision could also be taken. I don’t even want to talk about the Entity Framework vs NHibernate fiasco that so many others already dissected. But think about all the other areas: Testability immediately comes to mind…

Of course this also raises questions. Scott Koon already mentioned some of them, the one that I particularly appreciate being: “How will companies who are normally allergic to OSS code react to this […]“. After having worked for almost 13 years for Siemens, I know what he means. Every time we proposed an OSS technology, the question was always: Is that really safe. And I have to admit that, given the development timespan of some of our projects (typically 2 years between variant analysis and first release) and the lifespan of our products (typically more than 10 years and often much more than that), sometimes I have been careful with that too. See what happened to NDoc for example.

Still, there are so many other projects where OSS totally makes sense, and where Microsoft can save time and energy instead of reinventing the wheel. I am really glad to see that happening today, and think it’s a great sign for Microsoft and for all .NET developers out there.

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