jQuery is a multi-browser (cf. cross-browser) JavaScript library designed to simplify the client-side scripting of HTML.  It was released in January 2006 at BarCamp NYC by John Resig. It is currently developed by a team of developers led by Dave Methvin. Used by over 65% of the 10,000 most visited websites, jQuery is the most popular JavaScript library in use today.
jQuery is free, open source software, licensed under the MIT License. jQuery’s syntax is designed to make it easier to navigate a document, select DOM elements, create animations, handle events, and develop Ajax applications. jQuery also provides capabilities for developers to create plug-ins on top of the JavaScript library. This enables developers to create abstractions for low-level interaction and animation, advanced effects and high-level, theme-able widgets. The modular approach to the jQuery library allows the creation of powerful dynamic web pages and web applications.
The set of jQuery core features — DOM element selections, traversal and manipulation —, enabled by its selector engine (named “Sizzle” from v1.3), created a new “programming style”, fusing algorithms and DOM-data-structures; and influenced the architecture of other Javascript frameworks like YUI v3 and Dojo.
Microsoft and Nokia have announced plans to bundle jQuery on their platforms. Microsoft is adopting it initially within Visual Studio for use within Microsoft’s ASP.NET AJAX framework and ASP.NET MVC Framework while Nokia has integrated it into their Web Run-Time widget development platform.[8] jQuery has also been used in MediaWiki since version 1.16.
For more info, see this page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JQuery

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