jQuery 3.0: The Next Generations

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It’s hard to believe it’s been nearly eight years since jQuery was released. Web development has changed a lot over the years, and jQuery has changed along with it. Through all of this time, the team has tried to walk the line between maintaining compatibility with code from the past versus supporting the best web development practices of the present.

One of those best practices is semantic versioning, or semver for short. In a practical sense, semver gives developers (and build tools) an idea of the risk involved in moving to a new version of software. Version numbers are in the form of MAJOR.MINOR.PATCH with each of the three components being an integer. In semver, if the MAJOR number changes it indicates there are breaking changes in the API and thus developers need to beware.

The concept of versioning gets a little more nuanced with jQuery, where browser compatibility can be just as important as API compatibility. In order to create a slimmer jQuery, the team started shipping two versions in 2013. The first version remained numbered in the 1.x line and, currently at 1.11.1, maintains compatibility with a maximal number of browsers. The second version, starting with 2.0.0 and now at 2.1.1, dropped support for browsers like IE8 or lower in order to streamline the code. Both the 1.x and 2.x versions of jQuery have the same public APIs, even though they differ somewhat in their internal implementations.

Our next releases will use a different nomenclature. As before, there will be two different released files. The successor to what is now version 1.11.1 will become jQuery Compat 3.0. The successor to jQuery 2.1.1 will be jQuery 3.0. There are two different packages on npm and Bower, but they share the same version to indicate they have the same API behavior.

We’ll also be re-aligning our policy for browser support starting with these releases. The main jQuery package remains small and tight by supporting the evergreen browsers (the current and previous versions of a specific browser) that are common at the time of its release. We may support additional browsers in this package based on market share. The jQuery Compat package offers much wider browser support, but at the expense of a larger file size and potentially lower performance.

Despite the big version number jump, we don’t anticipate a lot of migration issues for most current jQuery code. We’re just being good semver citizens with this version bump. Changes such as removing deprecated methods will be detected by a new version of the jQuery Migrate plugin to make them easy to find and fix. We’ll have more details on the changes in future blog posts.

So, here’s the TL;DR for version 3.0 of the jQuery API:

  • If you need support for the widest variety of browsers including IE8, Opera 12, Safari 5, and the like, use the jQuery-Compat 3.0.0 package. We recommend this version for most web sites, since it provides the best compatibility for all website visitors.
  • If your web site is built only for evergreen leading-edge browsers, or is an HTML-based app contained in a webview (for example PhoneGap or Cordova) where you know which browser engines are in use, go for the jQuery 3.0.0 package.
  • Until we announce otherwise, both packages will contain the same public APIs in correspondingly-numbered major and minor versions. This should make it easy for developers to switch between the two and be maximally compatible with third-party jQuery plugins.

With each future release, we’ll be making both packages available on npm and bower. Both packages will also be available as single-file builds on the jQuery CDN. Using them from there is as simple as including either jquery-compat-3.0.0.js or jquery-3.0.0.js depending on your needs. We’ve talked with the folks who run Google’s CDN and they will also be supporting both packages.

As we make further progress on version 3.0, we will update everyone with the details about code changes, supported browsers, and the like. Stay tuned!

jQuery Foundation Adopts Mousewheel Plugin

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The jQuery Foundation is pleased to announce that Brandon Aaron has donated his jquery-mousewheel plugin to the jQuery Foundation. Brandon is a jQuery team alumnus and he leaves the plugin in great shape with very few open issues. It’s a very popular plugin, one that’s often used along with jQuery UI and other widgets.

Adopting the mousewheel plugin is part of the jQuery Foundation’s mission to make a web developer’s work easier. We want to ensure that web developers can use this plugin and be confident it will be supported into the future. We can’t do this alone, of course, and encourage the community to pitch in with pull requests and by providing support to the jQuery Foundation. You can find it at https://github.com/jquery/jquery-mousewheel/.

Abandoned or neglected open source projects can be a thorn in the side of web developers. When a developer’s personal project becomes wildly popular, it often exceeds that person’s ability to maintain and support it. More developers should take the step that Brandon did, seeking out someone who can take over the reins when they no longer have the time. As Eric Raymond says in The Cathedral and the Bazaar, “When you lose interest in a program, your last duty to it is to hand it off to a competent successor.”

jQuery.com September 2014 Security Retrospective

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During the last two weeks of September, we found our way into the headlines due to a series of attacks on our web servers. Today, we wanted to give everyone a brief update on the status of our websites and a recap of what happened over the last two weeks.

jQuery Under Siege

Early on the morning of September 18th we were hit with a DDoS and went offline. We were down for a couple of hours. The sites were brought back up later that day on September 18th and all seemed well.

Later, during the afternoon of September 18th, we were contacted by a security company named RiskIQ reporting that their crawler had reported malware being served by our content sites. There were never any reports that the jQuery libraries nor the CDN were ever compromised. Immediately upon receiving that report, we completely destroyed and reimaged all of those machines, revoked and reissued all associated SSL certificates, and confirmed that there was no suspicious content being served at that point. Since then, our own team and security folks from Mozilla and MaxCDN have worked to analyze logs and attempt to confirm the impact of this attack.

On September 23rd, RiskIQ went public with their report which picked up steam throughout the day on various media outlets and Twitter. The next morning, September 24th, as DDoS attacks on our properties continued to increase both in frequency and magnitude, CVE-2014-6271, otherwise known as the ShellShock vulnerability, was issued. As we continued to respond to the media discussion and communicate to the community what had happened on September 18th, we were victimized again in a series of much more public attacks involving the repeated defacing of jquery.com.

Investigations into our systems have yet to find the initial attack vector. However, we did take some steps to make ourselves more secure. For instance, some of our WordPress installs were out of date, all of our servers were vulnerable to the recent shell vulnerabilities, NGINX was slightly out of date as well as maybe a few other patches etc. that needed to be made. The infrastructure team dove in and began making those changes and started building new, fully patched and secured servers to host our sites. It appears these changes were effective as the defacing stopped and we have not seen any evidence of intrusion since.

Later on September 24th, a massive and unrelenting DDoS attack began. It seemed as though it would come in waves, but did not stop until late on September 28th. Most of the time on September 26th and 27th was spent trying to implement various products and solutions in order to keep the servers alive. We fought day and night to try to keep the sites up. We have to commend Corey Frang, Adam Ulvi, the rest of the infrastructure team, and others; they worked through the nights and in alternating shifts to try to keep us on the internet. Without their efforts, we would not have had the short amounts of uptime we did. One significantly important step that we took was to reach out to CloudFlare, who generously and rapidly gave us access to their Enterprise service which has helped tremendously in mitigating these attacks.

Moving Forward

jQuery and the jQuery Foundation are important to the web ecosystem, as is evident from the amount of press and the number of concerned individuals and organizations that have reached out to ask questions about this attack. The jQuery Foundation works on a daily basis to maintain and improve our projects and the infrastructure around those projects. The goal of this work is to continue to make web developers’ jobs easier and make sure they have a voice in the world of standards and browsers. However, these objectives take a large quantity of resources. Whether those resources are provided by access to expertise of a company’s employees or services, or through financial support, we would be unable to continue this important work without the support of the open source community and our supporting members.

We have been asked several times throughout this ordeal about why we didn’t have XYZ service in place or why we didn’t have our security team keeping a closer eye on these types of risks. The simple answer is that our budgets are tight and resources are limited. Our infrastructure team, and most of our teams for that matter, are made up of volunteers who give their time for free to make sure things keep running. The Heartbleed and ShellShock vulnerabilities are recent examples of how badly things can go when open source projects are taken for granted and just assumed to be OK. Eventually something is going to fall through the cracks and those cracks become larger and more frequent when people are doing what they can in their spare time.

So how can you help? As an individual, get involved in one of our projects. We can always use help writing code, designing, maintaining servers, working on events and the list goes on. Take a look at contribute.jquery.org or come say hi on IRC in one of our many channels listed on irc.jquery.org. As an organization, we would love to hear about any service you may be willing to donate, any developers or other skilled professionals that you could spare for a few hours a week or if you can help financially. Send us a message at [email protected] and let us know how you can help.

We haven’t wanted to say too much about these attacks as they have been happening because we remain a juicy target in the eyes of hackers who are continuing to attempt to infiltrate our servers even as of this writing. In sharing all of this information with the community now, we’ve tried to balance the need to explain what’s been happening with the potential backlash that could happen as a result of coming out publicly and saying that we believe we have the situation under control.

That said, we do at this point believe that we have the situation under control. For this, a huge thanks is due to the entire jQuery infrastructure team, who rolled up their sleeves and worked tirelessly on these issues to get us back to a good place. We will continue to be vigilant in ensuring the reliability and safety of all of our resources for our community of users.