Dear WordPress Plugin/Theme Devs, You Don’t Need jQuery!

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When I started coding in JavaScript back in 2013’s, I thought jQuery is the actual “JavaScript” and jQuery should be included in every page to execute my JS code.

But why? Because every code I copied from StackOverflow worked only after importing jQuery! 😅

What’s wrong with jQuery

jQuery is 90 KB, but when minified it’s only 32 KB.

That’s so small. A good CDN can deliver it in less than 50ms!

But it’s not about the size. jQuery has around 10k lines of code. You might not be using even 10% of it.

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Every line has to be parsed and evaluated by the browser which is resource-intensive. This process affects render time, especially in mobile.

To see the actual difference, here is the same functionality written in pure jQuery and vanilla JavaScript:


<body>   <div id="hello-div"></div>   <script src=""></script>   <script>     // jQuery     const div = $("#hello-div");      for (let i = 0; i < 10000; i += 1) {       div.append("<p>Hello world</p>");     }   </script> </body>

Vanilla JavaScript:

<body>   <div id="hello-div"></div>   <script>     // Pure JavaScript     const div = document.getElementById("hello-div");      for (let i = 0; i < 10000; i += 1) {       const p = document.createElement("p");       p.textContent = "Hello world";       div.appendChild(p);     }   </script> </body>

Here is the performance difference:

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Vanilla JavaScript

While jQuery took 2.4s, pure JavaScript only took 0.8s. That shows vanilla JavaScript is 4x faster than jQuery.

Why you don’t need jQuery

A few years back writing standard functions in vanilla JavaScript was pain and jQuery made our lives easier.

But web browsers have evolved a lot. Most of the functions that you wrote in jQuery can be written in pure JavaScript.

Here are a few examples:

1. Ajax Requests

Fetching data from a URL:


$.ajax({   url: '/api.json',   type: 'GET'   success: (data) => {     console.log(data)   } })

Vanilla JavaScript:

fetch('/api.json')   .then(response => response.text())   .then(body => console.log(body))

2. Find Elements & Manipulate

Find some elements from DOM (HTML) and change color:


<p><span>Hello</span>, how are you?</p> <p>Me? I'm <span>good</span>.</p>  <script>   $("p").find("span").css("color", "red"); </script>

Vanilla JavaScript:

<p><span>Hello</span>, how are you?</p> <p>Me? I'm <span>good</span>.</p>  <script>   document     .querySelectorAll("p > span")     .forEach((elem) => ( = "red")); </script>

3. Show/Hide Elements

Common use case of jQuery, show/hide something on click:


<button id="button">   Hide me </button>  <script>   $("#button").click(function () {     $("#button").hide();   }); </script>

Vanilla JavaScript:

<button id="button">   Hide me </button>  <script>   document.getElementById("button").addEventListener("click", function () {     document.getElementById("button").style.display = "none";   }); </script>

4. Animate


<button id="button" class="animate">   Hide me </button>  <script>   $("#button").click(function () {     $("#button").hide("slow");   }); </script>

Vanilla JavaScript:

<style>   .animate {     opacity: 0;     transition: opacity 0.5s ease;   } </style>  <button id="button">   Hide me </button>  <script>   document.getElementById("button").addEventListener("click", function () {     document.getElementById("button").classList.add("animate");   }); </script>

You can find a lot more similar examples in:

What about Browser Support?

Most of the functions I used above are widely supported in all major browser.

It’s usually Internet Explorer and Opera Mini which doesn’t support some of them.

If you still want to support such old browsers, you can detect the browser and add polyfills. Here are a few polyfills for such common functions:

Browser support for querySelector:

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Browser support for fetch:

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Everyone is moving away, except WordPress

Thanks to advancement made in front-end development tools and browser support, we’re now able to drop jQuery as a dependency, but you’d never notice otherwise

Bootsrap 5 – blog post also removed jQuery in 2018 – Removing jQuery from frontend.

While everyone has started moving away from jQuery, it’s pretty tricky in WordPress due to the vast number of plugins and themes.

From the recent blog post of Updating jQuery version shipped with WordPress:


WordPress should deprecate jQuery and gradually migrate to vanilla JavaScript.

You might not need JavaScript too

As I said before, the web and JavaScript is evolving fast. Similarly CSS.

Many functions which were done via JavaScript be done via CSS now. This gives another performance boost.

Some of them which can be done in pure CSS:

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