How to migrate from jQuery to ES6 ?

How to migrate from jQuery to ES6 ?


Fascinated by the sleekness of ES6 but stuck with jQuery? This article paves the path for a smooth migration, highlighting benefits like improved readability and native solutions for tasks you already know and love in jQuery. Dive in and discover how to trade in dated syntax for a future-proof codebase!

Migrating from jQuery to ES6 involves updating your codebase to use modern JavaScript features and standards. Here are the general steps to migrate from jQuery to ES6:

Understand the Differences:

Let's delve into more detail about understanding the differences between jQuery and ES6.


  • jQuery is a JavaScript library that simplifies common tasks related to DOM manipulation, event handling, AJAX requests, animations, and more.
  • It provides a concise and powerful syntax for selecting and manipulating DOM elements using CSS-like selectors.
  • jQuery offers utility functions and methods that abstract away browser inconsistencies, making it easier to write cross-browser compatible code.
  • It includes its own deferred objects and callback-based approach for handling asynchronous operations.
  • jQuery has its own module system for organizing and managing code.

ES6 (ECMAScript 2015):

  • ES6 is a standardized version of JavaScript that introduced significant enhancements to the language.
  • It introduced new syntax features such as arrow functions, template literals, destructuring assignment, and spread syntax, which make JavaScript code more concise and expressive.
  • ES6 includes new APIs and features like Promises for handling asynchronous operations, fetch for making AJAX requests, classes for object-oriented programming, modules for code organization, and more.
  • ES6 aims to improve the readability, maintainability, and performance of JavaScript code.
  • It has native support for modules, allowing for better code organization and dependency management.

Understanding the differences between jQuery and ES6 is crucial because it helps you realize that ES6 provides native solutions for many tasks that were traditionally handled by jQuery. ES6 introduces modern JavaScript features and APIs that can simplify your code, make it more efficient, and align with the evolving standards of web development.

By migrating from jQuery to ES6, you can take advantage of the native browser capabilities, improve code readability, reduce dependencies on external libraries, and open doors to using modern frameworks and tools that are designed around ES6.

Review Your Codebase:

Reviewing your codebase is an important step in the migration process as it allows you to assess the extent of your reliance on jQuery and helps you plan the migration effectively.

Here's a more detailed explanation of the review process:

  1. Analyze the Usage of jQuery: Take a comprehensive look at your codebase and identify areas where you heavily rely on jQuery functionality. Look for instances where jQuery is used for DOM manipulation, event handling, AJAX requests, animations, and utility functions. This analysis will give you a clear picture of which parts of your codebase need to be migrated.

  2. Evaluate the jQuery Specific Features Used: Pay attention to the specific jQuery features and methods that you are using. Determine if these features have direct equivalents in ES6 or if there are alternative approaches to achieve the same functionality. Some commonly used jQuery features include selector syntax ($()), DOM manipulation methods (addClass(), removeClass()), AJAX methods ($.ajax()), and utility methods (each(), grep(), etc.).

  3. Assess Browser Compatibility Requirements: Consider the browser compatibility requirements of your project. jQuery has traditionally helped abstract away browser inconsistencies, ensuring that your code works across different browsers. With the rise of ES6, modern browsers have better support for the new JavaScript features. Evaluate whether the browsers you need to support are compatible with the ES6 features you plan to use, or if polyfills or transpilation tools are necessary.

  4. Identify Performance Bottlenecks: Look for any performance bottlenecks in your jQuery code. jQuery, being a comprehensive library, might introduce some overhead in terms of file size and performance. Identify areas where the code could be optimized by replacing jQuery functionality with native or more lightweight alternatives provided by ES6.

  5. Prioritize Migration Efforts: Based on the analysis of your codebase, prioritize the areas that need to be migrated. Start with parts that heavily rely on jQuery and involve critical functionality. It's advisable to break down the migration into smaller, manageable chunks, focusing on one feature or module at a time. This approach allows you to gradually migrate your codebase while keeping the application functional.

By thoroughly reviewing your codebase, you gain a deeper understanding of the usage of jQuery and its specific features within your project. This analysis guides the subsequent steps of the migration process, enabling you to plan and prioritize your efforts effectively.

Replace jQuery Selectors with Native DOM Methods and ES6:

Certainly! Let's dive into more detail about rewriting jQuery functions with ES6 syntax during the migration process:

Rewriting jQuery functions with ES6 syntax involves identifying the jQuery-specific functions and methods used in your codebase and replacing them with their ES6 equivalents or alternative approaches. Here's a more detailed explanation of this step:

  1. Identify jQuery Functions and Methods: Review your codebase and identify the specific jQuery functions and methods that are being used. These could include functions for DOM manipulation (addClass(), removeClass(), etc.), AJAX requests ($.ajax()), event handling (on(), trigger(), etc.), utility methods (each(), grep(), etc.), and more. Make a list of all the jQuery functions and methods you need to replace.

  2. Find ES6 Equivalents: For each jQuery function or method, research the ES6 equivalent or alternative approach that achieves the same functionality. ES6 provides many built-in features and APIs that can replace the need for jQuery in certain cases. For example:

    • Replace $.ajax() with the fetch API, which provides a native and modern way to make AJAX requests in ES6.
    • Substitute $.each() with the Array.forEach() method, which is a built-in method for iterating over arrays in ES6.
    • Instead of using $.addClass() and $.removeClass(), utilize element.classList.add() and element.classList.remove(), which are native DOM methods in ES6.
  3. Adapt the Code: Update your codebase to use the ES6 equivalents or alternative approaches you found. Replace the jQuery function calls with the appropriate ES6 syntax. This might involve updating function names, adjusting the arguments passed to the functions, and making any necessary changes to the code logic.

  4. Handle Differences in API and Syntax: Keep in mind that the ES6 equivalents or alternative approaches might have slight differences in API or syntax compared to their jQuery counterparts. Pay attention to these differences and make the necessary adjustments. Refer to the documentation and resources available for the specific ES6 features or APIs you are using to ensure proper usage.

  5. Consider Compatibility and Polyfills: Be mindful of browser compatibility when using ES6 features. Certain ES6 features may not be supported in older browsers. If you need to support older browsers, consider using polyfills or transpilation tools like Babel to ensure compatibility.

  6. Test Thoroughly: After rewriting the jQuery functions with ES6 syntax, thoroughly test your codebase to ensure that everything is functioning as expected. Test all the areas where the jQuery functions were replaced and ensure that the desired functionality is maintained.

By rewriting jQuery functions with ES6 syntax, you leverage the modern features and native capabilities of JavaScript, reducing your reliance on jQuery and making your codebase more aligned with current standards. This step is crucial for the successful migration from jQuery to ES6.

    Use Promises and Async/Await:

    1. Promises: Promises are a core feature introduced in ES6 for handling asynchronous operations. They provide a more streamlined and readable way to deal with asynchronous tasks compared to jQuery's deferred objects and callback-based approach. Here's how you can use Promises:

      • Convert AJAX Requests: In jQuery, AJAX requests are typically handled using the $.ajax() method, which relies on callbacks. In ES6, you can use the fetch API, which returns a Promise that resolves with the response. You can then use methods like .then() and .catch() to handle the success and error cases respectively.

      • Creating Custom Promises: If you have custom asynchronous operations in your codebase, you can create your own Promises using the new Promise() constructor. Inside the Promise's executor function, you can perform the asynchronous task and resolve or reject the Promise accordingly.

      • Chaining Promises: Promises can be chained together using the .then() method, allowing you to perform multiple asynchronous operations in sequence. This helps avoid callback hell and improves the readability of your code.

    2. Async/Await: Async/await is a syntactic feature introduced in ES8 that works on top of Promises, providing a more synchronous-looking code structure for handling asynchronous operations. Here's how you can use async/await:

      • Async Functions: An async function is declared using the async keyword before the function definition. Inside an async function, you can use the await keyword before a Promise to pause the execution of the function until the Promise resolves. This allows you to write asynchronous code in a more sequential and readable manner.

      • Error Handling: Async/await simplifies error handling by allowing you to use try-catch blocks. Any error thrown within an async function can be caught and handled using regular try-catch syntax, making error handling more straightforward compared to callback-based approaches.

      • Utilizing Async/Await with Promises: Async/await can be used in combination with Promises. You can await Promises within an async function, allowing you to write asynchronous code in a more linear and readable fashion.

    By utilizing Promises and async/await, you can migrate from jQuery's callback-based approach to a more modern and readable way of handling asynchronous operations. Promises provide a standardized and consistent way to handle asynchronous tasks, and async/await simplifies the syntax and structure of asynchronous code, making it more similar to synchronous code. This improves the readability, maintainability, and overall quality of your codebase.

    Utilize ES6 Modules:

    ES6 introduces native support for modules, which is a standardized way of organizing and managing JavaScript code. Modules promote modularity, encapsulation, and reusability, making your codebase more maintainable and scalable. When migrating from jQuery to ES6, utilizing ES6 modules can significantly improve the organization and structure of your code. Here's a breakdown of the key points:

    1. Exporting and Importing: ES6 modules allow you to export and import functions, objects, and variables between different modules. To export something from a module, you use the export keyword followed by the names of the entities you want to export. For example:

      // utils.js export function add(a, b) { return a + b; } export const PI = 3.14;

      To import the exported entities into another module, you use the import keyword followed by the names of the entities you want to import. For example:

      // app.js import { add, PI } from './utils.js'; console.log(add(2, 3)); // Output: 5 console.log(PI); // Output: 3.14
    2. Default Exports and Imports: ES6 modules also allow you to have a default export and a default import. The default export is used when a module wants to export a single entity as the default export. For example:

      // utils.js export default function sayHello() { console.log('Hello!'); }

      The default import can be used to import the default export from a module without specifying its name. For example:

      // app.js import sayHello from './utils.js'; sayHello(); // Output: Hello!
    3. Module Resolution: ES6 modules follow a static module resolution, which means that the module dependencies are resolved at the time the code is parsed, rather than at runtime. This allows for better optimization and tooling support. Module resolution is handled by the browser or build tools like webpack or Rollup.

    4. Benefits of ES6 Modules:

      • Code Organization: ES6 modules provide a clear and structured way to organize your codebase, making it easier to navigate and understand the relationships between different modules.
      • Dependency Management: Modules allow you to explicitly declare and manage dependencies between different parts of your application, reducing the risk of global scope pollution and conflicts.
      • Reusability: By exporting and importing specific entities, you can reuse code across different modules and projects, promoting code reuse and reducing duplication.
      • Tooling Support: ES6 modules are well-supported by modern build tools and bundlers, enabling efficient dependency resolution, tree shaking, and code optimization.

    By utilizing ES6 modules, you can improve the organization and maintainability of your codebase when migrating from jQuery to ES6. Modularizing your code helps in managing dependencies, promoting reusability, and taking advantage of the optimized workflows offered by modern tooling.

    Consider Using Modern JavaScript Libraries or Frameworks:

    When migrating from jQuery to ES6, you have an opportunity to explore and leverage modern JavaScript libraries or frameworks that align with the latest web development practices. Here's a closer look at this step:

    1. Assess Project Complexity and Requirements: Consider the complexity and requirements of your project. Modern JavaScript libraries and frameworks are often well-suited for complex applications with rich user interfaces and advanced functionality. Evaluate whether your project would benefit from the additional features and optimizations provided by these tools.

    2. Explore Popular JavaScript Libraries and Frameworks: Research and explore popular JavaScript libraries and frameworks such as React, Vue.js, Angular, or Ember.js. These frameworks embrace the use of ES6 syntax and provide extensive capabilities for building robust and scalable web applications. Assess their features, community support, learning curve, and compatibility with your project requirements.

    3. Evaluate Component-Based Approaches: Many modern JavaScript frameworks, like React and Vue.js, follow a component-based architecture. This approach allows you to build reusable and encapsulated components, resulting in a more modular and maintainable codebase. Evaluate if your project can benefit from a component-based approach and consider frameworks that excel in this area.

    4. Consider Performance and Optimization: Modern JavaScript libraries and frameworks often come with performance optimizations built-in. They leverage virtual DOM diffing algorithms, lazy loading techniques, and code splitting strategies to optimize rendering and improve overall performance. If performance is a critical factor for your project, evaluate how these frameworks can help address your specific performance requirements.

    5. Examine Community and Ecosystem Support: Consider the community and ecosystem support surrounding the libraries or frameworks you are considering. A vibrant and active community ensures ongoing development, updates, and availability of resources, tutorials, and plugins. The community support can be instrumental in troubleshooting issues and finding solutions during the migration process.

    6. Plan for Learning and Migration Efforts: Migrating to a modern JavaScript library or framework may require additional learning and refactoring efforts. Take into account the learning curve and the effort required to refactor your existing jQuery code to work with the chosen framework. Plan for training, documentation review, and allocate resources accordingly.

    7. Gradual Migration Approach: If your project is substantial or time-sensitive, consider adopting a gradual migration approach. This involves integrating the new framework or library into specific parts of your codebase while leaving other parts in jQuery. This way, you can gradually transition your codebase and leverage the benefits of modern tools while keeping your application functional.

    By considering the use of modern JavaScript libraries or frameworks, you can benefit from their advanced features, performance optimizations, and the vibrant ecosystems surrounding them. However, it's important to carefully evaluate their suitability for your specific project requirements and allocate resources for learning and migration efforts.

    Update Build Tools and Dependencies:

    Ensure that your build tools (e.g., webpack, Babel) are properly configured to handle ES6 code. Update your project's dependencies, including jQuery, to the latest versions compatible with ES6.

    1. Assess Your Current Build Tools: Take stock of the build tools you are currently using in your project. Common build tools include webpack, Babel, Grunt, Gulp, or any other tool that assists in compiling and bundling your code. Ensure that these tools are compatible with ES6 and capable of handling the new syntax and module system.

    2. Upgrade or Configure Babel: Babel is a popular JavaScript compiler that allows you to write ES6 code and transpile it to ES5, ensuring backward compatibility with older browsers. Check if you are already using Babel and update it to the latest version. If you haven't been using Babel, set it up in your build process. Configure Babel to include the necessary presets and plugins for transpiling ES6 syntax, such as @babel/preset-env.

    3. Update Package Dependencies: Review the dependencies listed in your package.json file or any other package management configuration file you are using (e.g., yarn.lock or npm-shrinkwrap.json). Check if there are newer versions available for the libraries and frameworks you are using, including jQuery. Update these dependencies to their latest compatible versions that support ES6. This ensures that you can leverage any bug fixes, performance improvements, and new features provided by these libraries.

    4. Configure Webpack or Other Build Tools: If you are using webpack or a similar bundler, update your configuration to handle ES6 modules and transpile the code using Babel. Ensure that webpack is set up to process JavaScript files, apply Babel transformations, and generate a final bundled file that is compatible with your target browsers.

    5. Consider Tree Shaking: Tree shaking is a technique that eliminates dead code from your JavaScript bundle during the build process. With ES6 modules, tree shaking becomes more effective as it allows the bundler to analyze and remove unused code. Configure your build tools, such as webpack, to enable tree shaking. This optimization reduces the final bundle size and improves overall application performance.

    6. Check Compatibility with Other Tools and Plugins: Review any additional tools or plugins you are using in your build process, such as CSS preprocessors, linting tools, or testing frameworks. Ensure that they are compatible with ES6 and do not cause any conflicts or issues during the migration process. Update these tools and plugins to their latest versions if needed.

    7. Test and Validate the Build Process: Once you have updated your build tools and dependencies, thoroughly test the build process to ensure that everything is working correctly. Run your build commands and verify that the ES6 code is properly transpiled, bundled, and compatible with your target browsers. Verify that any other build steps, such as minification or asset optimization, are also working as expected.

    By updating your build tools and dependencies, you ensure that your project is properly configured to handle ES6 code. This allows you to take advantage of the modern JavaScript syntax and features while maintaining backward compatibility with older browsers. Keeping your build tools and dependencies up to date also ensures that you benefit from the latest optimizations, security patches, and performance improvements available in the ecosystem.

    Test and Refactor:

    Testing and refactoring are crucial stages in the migration process to ensure that your codebase functions correctly and efficiently in its new ES6 implementation. Here's a more detailed explanation of these steps:

    1. Test Your Migrated Codebase: Thoroughly test your migrated codebase to ensure that all functionality works as expected. Develop and execute comprehensive test cases that cover the areas you have migrated from jQuery to ES6. This includes testing DOM manipulation, event handling, AJAX requests, animations, and any other features affected by the migration.

      • Unit Testing: Write unit tests to verify the behavior of individual functions or modules that have been migrated. Test edge cases, handle different input scenarios, and verify the expected outputs.

      • Integration Testing: Conduct integration testing to ensure that the different components of your application work seamlessly together after the migration. Verify that the interactions between modules, event handling, and API integrations function correctly.

      • Cross-Browser Testing: If you have browser compatibility requirements, conduct thorough testing across the target browsers to ensure that your migrated code works consistently across different environments. Test on multiple browsers and versions to detect any browser-specific issues.

      • User Acceptance Testing: Involve stakeholders or end-users to perform user acceptance testing and gather feedback. This step helps identify any functional or usability issues that may have been introduced during the migration.

    2. Refactor as Necessary: As you test your migrated codebase, identify areas where you can further refactor your code to improve its structure, readability, performance, and maintainability. Some considerations for refactoring include:

      • Simplify Code: Take advantage of ES6 features to simplify your code. Replace verbose code patterns with concise ES6 syntax, such as using arrow functions, template literals, and destructuring assignments. This enhances code readability and maintainability.

      • Optimize Performance: Assess your code for any performance bottlenecks introduced during the migration. Optimize where necessary, using native ES6 methods or libraries specifically designed for performance, such as leveraging Array methods (map, filter, reduce) instead of jQuery's utility functions.

      • Enhance Error Handling: Review your error handling mechanisms and ensure they are robust. Consider using ES6's error handling features, such as try-catch blocks and custom error classes, to handle exceptions and provide more informative error messages.

      • Improve Modularity: Look for opportunities to further modularize your codebase. Refactor large functions or modules into smaller, more focused units that can be independently tested and maintained. Leverage ES6 modules to improve code organization and encapsulation.

      • Maintain Compatibility: If your codebase still needs to support older browsers or environments that lack ES6 support, consider using transpilers like Babel to convert ES6 code into backward-compatible versions that can run in older environments.

    3. Regression Testing: After refactoring your code, rerun your tests, including unit tests, integration tests, and cross-browser testing, to ensure that the changes introduced during the refactoring process did not introduce new bugs or regressions.

    4. Continuous Testing and Refactoring: Remember that testing and refactoring should be an ongoing process throughout the migration and beyond. As you continue to develop and enhance your application, perform regular tests and refactorings to ensure code quality and maintain a stable codebase.

    Testing and refactoring are critical steps to validate the correctness and efficiency of your migrated code. It helps uncover and fix any issues introduced during the migration process and ensures that your codebase remains reliable, performant, and maintainable in its new ES6 implementation.

    Remember, migrating from jQuery to ES6 is not just a one-time process; it's an ongoing effort to embrace modern JavaScript practices and stay up-to-date with the evolving web standards.

    Also, read: Working with arrays in JavaScript