jQuery vs JavaScript

JavaScript is a client/server-side programming language to make interactive web pages. The HTML and CSS work on the structure and styling of webpages whereas JavaScript adds interactive flavors to engage end-users. JavaScript incorporates various libraries to get to this milestone.

JQuery is an open-source JavaScript library intended to manipulate the HTML DOM in an effective way. HTML DOM is the key ingredient that jQuery uses to interact with HTML elements. Moreover, jQuery assists the developers in easily exercising the JavaScript code.

Although jQuery is a kind of subset of JavaScript, they do have some commonalities and differences. Keeping in view the importance of both terms, this article is designed to provide the following learning outcomes.

  • Basics of jQuery
  • Basics of JavaScript
  • Difference between jQuery and JavaScript


It is a JS library that has provided the core functionality of JavaScript in less time (as jQuery has a shorter syntax than JS). The developers write the code using jQuery and it is converted to JS internally. Being a feature-rich JS library, jQuery has the following notable features.

  • Uses DOM library to manipulate the HTML elements
  • Supports all well-known browsers
  • Supports JS plugins
  • Allows building website using AJAX
  • Predefined CSS method to style HTML elements


JavaScript is a scripting language intended to provide interactive interfaces. According to a survey, more than 95% of website’s practices JS to build user-friendly web pages. The JS comes with the following distinctive features.

  • A lightweight scripting language intended to handle data in browsers
  • Provides an in-time compilation
  • Cross-platform support to run scripts anywhere
  • Supports various common data types and functions

JQuery vs JavaScript

As JavaScript is the parent language of jQuery, they do share some commonalities, but they have differences as well. Let’s have a look at them:

Dependency: JavaScript is an independent language and exists on its own. However, jQuery is the library of JavaScript and is dependent on JavaScript (as jQuery code is converted to JS first).

Complexity: jQuery can process the tasks with the least lines of code as compared to JS. Thus, making JavaScript more complex than jQuery.

Speed: JS is processed by the browser directly without any hindrance, but the jQuery code is converted to JS and then it is processed. Thus, making JS faster than jQuery.

Reusability: As the complexity of the JS is greater than jQuery, therefore, it would be difficult to reuse the JS code. Contrary to this, the jQuery code can be reused easily.

Size: JavaScript is a full-fledged scripting language whereas jQuery is a library of JS. Therefore, jQuery is lighter than raw JS and its other libraries.

Language: JavaScript is a high-level interpreted language composed of ECMA and DOM. On the other hand, jQuery just relies on DOM (Document Object Model).

Note: ECMAScript specification guides to create a scripting language and JS implements ECMAScript specifications. Whereas the DOM acts as a bridge between JS variables and the HTML elements.


JavaScript is a widely used front-end scripting language with backend support as well. While, jQuery is a JS library that is used to exercise JS functionalities with the least lines of code. Although the building block of jQuery is JS, due to the “write-less, do-more” feature of jQuery, it is accepted widely nowadays. Keeping in view the importance of both, this guide aims to provide a detailed comparison of jQuery and JavaScript. Alongside their comparison, you would also get the list of distinctive features provided by jQuery and JavaScript.

About the author

Adnan Shabbir