Developing with jQuery in Microsoft Visual Studio 2008

Microsoft is fully supporting jQuery, the open-source JavaScript library, in Visual Studio 2008. Though jQuery has been popular with Web application developers for two years, Microsoft until now has not given it full support. Now, with the help of IntelliSense, writing jQuery code in Visual Studio just got a lot easier.

jQuery is an open-source JavaScript library that simplifies the coding and manipulation of HTML elements on a Web page. Without jQuery, developers can still access all the elements in the Document Object Model, but jQuery makes it much quicker and easier.

jQuery initially was created in early 2006, and has become popular with Web developers. On the other hand, for many years, Visual Studio has been extremely popular with ASP.NET developers, but was limited in its handling of JavaScript in general, with little or no support for third-party JavaScript libraries. This is probably because early versions of ASP.NET primarily focused on server-side development.

In fact, although Microsoft never explicitly discouraged client-side development with JavaScript in conjunction with ASP.NET, the company tried to control JavaScript coding by forcing developers to go through a cumbersome set of APIs to generate JavaScript code. (Interestingly, this set of APIs was a precursor to ASP.NET's support for AJAX.)

Click here for an eWEEK Labs walk-through of using jQuery in Microsoft Visual Studio 2008.

That has changed with Visual Studio 2008, released Nov. 19, 2007, as Microsoft has added significant support for JavaScript to its Visual Studio platform. Still, until recently, Visual Studio had no knowledge or understanding of third-party libraries, even though most client-side Web development is now done with the help of such third-party libraries.

However, that has changed as well. In September, Scott Guthrie, corporate vice president for Microsoft's .NET Developer Division, announced on his official blog that from now on Visual Studio will have full support for jQuery.

In this article, I'm going to take the jQuery aspects of Visual Studio for a spin and see what I find. I ran my tests on a Satellite U305 system powered by an Intel Core 2 Duo 1.8GHz, with 2GB RAM, running Windows Vista with Visual Studio 2008 and Internet Explorer 7.