JavaScript Vs. jQuery: What Is The Difference? (With FAQs)

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 30 September 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Web developers often use JavaScript and jQuery to create and enhance websites, applications and advanced web features. While related, each serves its own purpose and can benefit web development projects in different ways. Exploring what they are and the differences between them can help you decide which one to learn and use for your next project. In this article, we define JavaScript and jQuery, explain the differences between JavaScript vs. jQuery and answer frequently asked questions about these web development tools.

JavaScript Vs. JQuery

When learning about JavaScript vs. jQuery, it is essential to understand what they are and their purposes. Here are the definitions of these resources:

What is JavaScript?

JavaScript is a scripting language that allows web developers to create dynamic websites and applications with interactive features. This language expands on HTML or CSS, which define the structure and appearance of a website. Written primarily in C, JavaScript enables them to write a single script that works on all platforms and browsers. Some features they may add using JavaScript include:

  • Drop-down menus

  • Dynamic backgrounds

  • Contact forms

  • Interactive maps

  • Scrolling galleries

  • Animated effects

Related: What Is JavaScript?

What is jQuery?

jQuery is a free, open-source JavaScript library that developers can use to simplify the addition of interactivity to a website or application. It is not a programming language but a collection of JavaScript code designed to make using the language faster and easier. As a compilation of JavaScript code, it allows developers to access pre-written components they can use to add features to existing websites or applications quickly.

Related: jQuery Interview Questions And Answers: General And Expert Level

Differences Between JavaScript And JQuery

Here are some of the key differences between JavaScript and jQuery:


As a language, JavaScript is a structured set of rules containing many basic characters called commands that each have their own purpose. Developers write JavaScript code by combining commands to create functions, or reusable blocks of code that perform certain tasks. While JavaScript requires developers to do their own scripting, jQuery consists of accessing function developers have already written from a library of JavaScript code.

Related: How To Learn Coding And Programming (Steps And Benefits)


Developers implement JavaScript code by writing it within the HTML. They first add script tags in the section of the HTML where they want to include a feature and then write the JavaScript code between the tags. Developers use the same process for jQuery, but instead of writing the entire code, they retrieve it from the library and enter it into the HTML. Accessing this code requires developers to first download the jQuery library.

Related: What Is C Programming Language? Benefits And Career Advice


JavaScript and jQuery function across browsers, but they sometimes require different processes for ensuring compatibility. Developers sometimes write additional JavaScript code to enable cross-browser compatibility. As jQuery is pre-written, the code allows for compatibility with any browser without the requirement to add more code.

Related: How To Become A Java Developer (With Skills And Duties)


Developers rely on both JavaScript and jQuery for speed and performance. JavaScript is fast because the code accesses the programming interface, called the Document Object Model (DOM), directly. jQuery is also fast, but it requires slightly more time to run than JavaScript because it converts to JavaScript before accessing the DOM.

Related: How To Learn JavaScript (With Advantages And Functions)


The weight of code matters in development because it can affect the amount of memory a website or application requires for a user to access it on a device. Languages typically weigh more than libraries because they contain all the components of the code instead of just snippets. For this reason, JavaScript is heavier than jQuery, but it is still lighter than many other languages.

Related: 13 Advanced JavaScript Interview Questions With Answers


Developers can create animations for websites and applications using both JavaScript and jQuery, but the processes are different. Adding animations using JavaScript requires manipulating the style of an HTML webpage using lengthy sections of code. jQuery contains many of these reusable sections, so developers can add them to create animations without writing extensive code.

Related: Top 50 JavaScript Interview Questions And Answers


Verbosity refers to the amount of code required to create and implement features. Writing JavaScript involves customising features by writing extensive code that defines each element of the feature. Developers can use jQuery in its compressed or uncompressed form depending on the task, but they typically use the compressed version to implement interactive features. This makes jQuery less verbose than JavaScript.

Related: 12 Important Web Development Tools (With Examples)


The ability to reuse and maintain code is a significant consideration for developers because it involves time and potential challenges. Developers can maintain and reuse JavaScript code, but it may require additional time and steps because of its verbosity. jQuery is easy to maintain because it involves fewer lines of code, which also makes it easier to reuse.

Related: How To Become A Coder Online (With Salary And Skills)

FAQs About JavaScript Vs. JQuery

Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about JavaScript and jQuery:

What are some pros and cons of JavaScript?

JavaScript is a common and versatile scripting language, but developers may face certain challenges when using it. JavaScript is compatible with many browsers, but it sometimes requires extensive testing on different platforms to ensure it meets the requirements of each browser. While many consider JavaScript a language that makes operation fast, some find its features slower than other languages. JavaScript may also affect whether a website functions, as a JavaScript error can shut down the website.

Developers often find there are more advantages of JavaScript than disadvantages, and experienced users may have the knowledge and skills to avoid common challenges. One of the primary advantages of JavaScript is that it may be easier to learn than other languages. Many developers also find it easier to identify and correct coding errors. Modern browsers contain a component that executes JavaScript code, so it does not require compiling, which can take up extra space and time.

What are some pros and cons of jQuery?

jQuery is a useful tool for developers who use JavaScript, but it has some challenges. There are many versions of jQuery, and not all versions are compatible with others. This can make using multiple versions at once challenging at first. jQuery is sometimes slower than JavaScript because of the time required to download the library and convert it to JavaScript, and it requires precise code application to avoid size and maintenance issues.

Developers can avoid or overcome many of these challenges by gaining experience using jQuery in its different versions. The primary advantage of jQuery is that it allows developers to implement JavaScript quickly and easily. As a JavaScript library, it is compatible with common browsers and has been a reliable coding tool for many years. Although the speed of jQuery may be a challenge, developers can take specific steps, such as minifying scripts and using chaining, to make it faster.

How do developers choose between JavaScript and jQuery?

Developers typically learn both JavaScript and jQuery, but the one they learn first depends on many factors. If they are learning to code through a boot camp or educational programme, instructors may teach one before the other to help students understand the relationship between the two. Some experienced developers recommend learning jQuery first, as it is easier to use than JavaScript. Others find learning JavaScript first more beneficial, as jQuery consists of JavaScript code. If you want to learn independently, you can choose which one to pursue first based on your interests and goals.

When choosing whether to use JavaScript or jQuery, developers often consider the project. If they are new to the field, working on a simple project or want to make changes and updates urgently, they may choose jQuery over JavaScript. If they are starting full development projects, they may use JavaScript instead.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are associated with Indeed.

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