Microsoft and JQuery: A Nod To Open Source’s Mainstream Acceptance

So in the course of filtering through my Google Alerts, I came across what appeared to be a significant announcement by Microsoft to ship JQuery with its Visual Studio developer tool suite. As part of the deal, Microsoft said it would contribute tests, bug fixes, and patches to the JQuery open source project and that later this year it would extend support to JQuery.

For a news announcement that hasn’t received nearly any attention whatsoever in the tech press, I found it a notably open source play to say the least. Scott Guthrie, vice president of Microsoft’s developer division, who talked about the benefits in his blog post, had this to say:

A big part of the appeal of jQuery is that it allows you to elegantly (and efficiently) find and manipulate HTML elements with minimum lines of code. jQuery supports this via a nice “selector” API that allows developers to query for HTML elements, and then apply “commands” to them. One of the characteristics of jQuery commands is that they can be “chained” together – so that the result of one command can feed into another. jQuery also includes a built-in set of animation APIs that can be used as commands. The combination allows you to do some really cool things with only a few keystrokes.

To see Microsoft embracing an open source product and developer community to improve a product offering and to make money says something about a corner slowly being turned at Redmond, and more importantly, about the acceptance of the open source model as becoming the de facto standard in which software companies will be measured by moving forward.