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JavaScript vs. jQuery: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Updated on October 15, 2023
JavaScript is a versatile programming language for web development, while jQuery is a library built on JavaScript to simplify DOM manipulation.

Key Differences

JavaScript is a scripting language primarily used for adding interactivity to web pages. It's a core part of web development and can run in most web browsers without requiring any special plugins. This ability to run client-side makes websites dynamic, allowing user input to be processed in real-time.
On the other hand, jQuery is a popular JavaScript library designed to streamline and simplify many of the tasks in web development. By using jQuery, developers can easily handle tasks like DOM manipulation, event handling, and animation with fewer lines of code. It's often said that "write less, do more" is the philosophy behind jQuery.
JavaScript, being the foundational technology, is broader in scope. It can be used both on the client side (in browsers) and server side (using environments like Node.js). Thus, while JavaScript forms the basis of web interactivity, it's also been extended to various other computing environments.
In contrast, jQuery is specifically aimed at making the client-side scripting of HTML concise. By abstracting many of the complexities of raw JavaScript, jQuery allows developers to easily create dynamic web page effects and handle events. It's not a language in itself but is built upon JavaScript, providing a set of tools for faster development.
While JavaScript stands as a pillar of web development, jQuery provides a set of tools built upon it, making certain tasks more straightforward. While jQuery simplifies many processes, a solid understanding of JavaScript is still crucial for web developers.

Comparison Chart


A scripting language.
A library built on JavaScript.


Front-end and back-end web development.
Simplifying tasks like DOM manipulation in front-end development.


Standalone and foundational for web scripting.
Depends on JavaScript to function.


Broad, used in various computing environments.
Specific to simplifying JavaScript tasks on the web.

Learning Curve

Can be complex due to its wide range of functions and structures.
Easier for beginners, especially those familiar with JavaScript.

JavaScript and jQuery Definitions


JavaScript enables real-time processing on web pages.
Form validations are often done using JavaScript to give instant feedback.


JQuery is a library that simplifies JavaScript programming.
Developers use jQuery to quickly animate web page elements.


JavaScript is part of the trio of foundational web technologies alongside HTML and CSS.
While HTML structures the content and CSS styles it, JavaScript makes it interactive.


JQuery provides a concise way to handle events and DOM manipulation.
With jQuery, fading out an element can be done in a single line of code.


JavaScript is a dynamic programming language primarily for web development.
By using JavaScript, developers can create interactive websites.


JQuery abstracts browser differences, offering a consistent interface.
Handling cross-browser event differences becomes easier with jQuery.


JavaScript is versatile, running both on client and server sides.
With Node.js, JavaScript can power server-side applications.


JQuery integrates well with other libraries and frameworks.
Many web developers combine jQuery with Bootstrap for enhanced functionalities.


JavaScript allows the creation of complex web applications.
Modern web apps like Google Docs heavily rely on JavaScript for functionality.


JQuery operates with a "write less, do more" philosophy.
Complex DOM selections can be achieved with minimal jQuery code.


How does jQuery relate to JavaScript?

jQuery is a library built on JavaScript to simplify web development tasks.

Is JavaScript the same as Java?

No, JavaScript and Java are distinct languages with different purposes.

What does DOM manipulation mean in jQuery?

It refers to changing the structure, style, or content of a web page dynamically.

How do I include jQuery in my project?

You can include it via a CDN link or download and host the library locally.

How has JavaScript evolved over the years?

It has grown with features, with ES6/ES2015 being a major update.

Does jQuery work with mobile web development?

Yes, and there's also jQuery Mobile tailored for mobile web apps.

Can you use jQuery without knowing JavaScript?

A basic understanding of JavaScript is recommended before diving into jQuery.

Why do developers use jQuery?

jQuery streamlines many web development tasks, making them more concise.

Is JavaScript only for web development?

While primarily for web, JavaScript can be used in other environments, like server-side with Node.js.

Is jQuery still relevant with modern frameworks?

While some prefer raw JavaScript or newer frameworks, jQuery is still widely used.

What is JavaScript primarily used for?

JavaScript is used for adding interactivity to web pages.

Are there alternatives to jQuery?

Yes, there are other libraries like Zepto.js and frameworks like React or Vue.js.

Does JavaScript support object-oriented programming?

Yes, JavaScript supports both object-oriented and functional programming paradigms.

How does jQuery handle events differently than raw JavaScript?

jQuery abstracts and streamlines event handling, making it consistent across browsers.

Can you run JavaScript outside the browser?

Yes, environments like Node.js allow JavaScript to run server-side.

What's the main advantage of using jQuery?

Simplifying and speeding up web development tasks.

Is jQuery a programming language?

No, jQuery is a library built on the JavaScript language.

How does JavaScript handle asynchronous operations?

With features like callbacks, promises, and async/await.

How does jQuery make animations easier?

It provides built-in methods for common animations, abstracting the complexities.

Is learning JavaScript essential for web development?

While not mandatory, it's highly recommended for dynamic, interactive web content.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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