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Microsoft has upped its ante in support of the open source JavaScript library known as jQuery

Microsoft has upped its ante in support of the open source JavaScript library known as jQuery.

At its MIX 2010 conference here, Microsoft announced that it will contribute to the development of new features and enhancements in the jQuery JavaScript Library and shared the release of new software development kits (SDKs) for the Open Data Protocol (OData) that make it easier for developers to access data from the cloud to create more compelling cross-platform Web applications.

As part of Microsoft’s broad engagement with open source communities, corporate vice president Scott Guthrie announced that Microsoft is investing resources to contribute to the development of the jQuery JavaScript Library to help improve the development process of standards-based Web applications. Microsoft will also work to provide better interoperability between ASP.NET and the jQuery JavaScript Library by enhancing ASP.NET so .NET developers can better incorporate jQuery capabilities. In addition, Microsoft will actively promote and distribute versions of the jQuery JavaScript Library by packaging it with popular products such as Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 and ASP.NET MVC 2.

As a first step, Microsoft will contribute a templating engine to the jQuery JavaScript Library Team to simplify Web applications.

During Guthrie’s portion of the MIX10 keynote on 16 March, John Resig, the creator of jQuery took to the stage to express his enthusiasm for Microsoft’s support for the jQuery project. Microsoft support for jQuery is not new; the company has used it and supported it for more than a year.

“We’re really excited to be working with Microsoft here on jQuery,” Resig said. “We’re very happy Microsoft has taken the opportunity to enhance it and build an excellent library.” Resig said the jQuery team started working with Microsoft on an experimental templating project, “and we’ve been using the traditional jQuery development process on GitHub.”

Brian Goldfarb, director of developer platform marketing at Microsoft, said the jQuery news was a big highlight for his team, as Microsoft has been investing in open source technology in an ongoing way and doing it “in a way that’s compatible with the community.” He said his team has contributed “people resources” to the jQuery effort in the form of Microsoft staff who have worked on the jQuery initiative on a full-time basis.

Indeed, Goldfarb will take part in a panel at the Open Source Business Conference in San Francisco on March 18 where he said he plans to make the case that Microsoft is in the unique position to be able to invest in and support open source software in ways that few other companies can.

Moreover, in its relationship with jQuery, Microsoft also offers full support for the jQuery technology when it comes to Microsoft customers, Goldfarb said. Also, Goldfarb said Microsoft’s work with jQuery is very much in line with the company’s strategy of meeting open source where it is. For instance, with its work with the CodePlex Foundation, Microsoft is working to support open source efforts that touch Microsoft platform technology.

However, that technology resides with the CodePlex Foundation or even in Microsoft’s internal CodePlex open source project hosting site. Yet, in the jQuery case, Microsoft is working through jQuery’s existing GitHub arrangement.

In response to an article about the Microsoft/jQuery relationship on, a poster identified as Jadet, said: “That seals the deal, jQuery wins. I should probably be porting stuff over right now. Microsoft wanting to invest resources in open source is a nice change, not sure how I feel about that yet, hopefully it doesn’t hurt the library in the end. Personally, jQuery is getting a bit old for me; I think resources are better spent on something fresh. Looking back we can do better these days. I’m looking forward to the day we can all get hyped over a new generation of JavaScript frameworks.”

Another responder identified as NerdInACan, said: “I REALLY don’t want to see Microsoft sneaking any of their poorly-architected mess into an otherwise fantastic library. I have yet to see any Microsoft code library show up without a bunch of proprietary strings attached. Sure it all works ok if you use their browser, their integrated security, yada yada. As soon as you want to do anything like grown-up, however, things get a lot more convoluted, and that’s when Microsoft code fails. Every time.”

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