Getting jQuery into Big Corporations

Big corporations are typically resistant to adopting change – and for good reason. They have to work at keeping stable a large amount of applications in one environment. Internal IT teams will usually only adopt something if it doesn’t interfere with their jobs or make them more difficult. You must have a really good reason to bring something new in. I understanding that, so how do you get them to approve you using a relatively new library like jQuery?

The Easy Way

The simplest way I’ve found to get jQuery into projects is use it for doing something very specialized. Creating tabbed panes, graphing data, or maybe some simple animation effects that are normally created in Flash. Either way, from that point on you can use it in the application. But what if you want to build a project from the get-go, from scratch in jQuery?

Big Corporation Project, Built on jQuery

Currently I am building a Google Maps application for one of the biggest banks in the world, HSBC. It is almost done, and I used jQuery to build the application with my manager’s approval. As expected, when we handed the code off to HSBC’s internal IT team in India they asked why we used jQuery:

“Is there any advantage of using jquery as google is already providing Ajax api for the same purpose. Also please clarify whether there is any licensing issues with jquery. If it is free, then can we use in commercial projects?”

My response:

jQuery is used is for parsing XML and adding behavior to the page elements in a faster and more compatible way. jQuery eliminates the problems that JavaScript has with inconsistent rendering between browsers and jQuery also improves the rendering speed / performance of the application. The code is arguably easier to maintain because it reduces the overall code size of the application because you do not have to code in different ways depending on the browser.

jQuery is dual licensed under the MIT and GPL licenses (, which means that it is 100% free for commercial use.

Note that jQuery is used by: Google, NBC, MSNBC, Bank of America, Amazon, Intel, BBC, Newsweek, AOL and Intuit – just to name a few. Full list:

A very vibrant and active community surrounds jQuery and it will continue to be well documented and maintained.

My response was very well received – feel free to use that explanation in your own corporation. I have to say though it has been much easier to get accepted since Google uses jQuery. My feeling is that internally to use jQuery you really only need your manager’s approval. Once you sell him and your immediate team around you on the idea, you shouldn’t have a problem using jQuery for projects. After all, it makes all of our lives easier. jQuery has saved me countless hours and the client’s work is going to be better because of it. Thanks, John and the jQuery team.


  1. says

    I’m using it extensively here for NIEHS. Unfortunately all the sites I’ve used it on so far are intranet sites but hopefully I’ll have one project that is public facing going live soon.

  2. Matt says

    I faced difficulty in getting jQuery accepted on a public site, and I eventually lost the battle. Although it has a great API and simplifies a lot of coding, it has a very specific set of browsers it supports, which is not always enough for public sites. It isn’t quite as robust as it should be for public sites where any set of browsers may be used by (potentially) paying customers. For internal webapps limited to IE or FF, however, the payoff is huge and jQuery is a fantastic tool to use.

  3. says

    @Matt, I am going to have to second Marc on his questions and statement. I am using jQuery with some of the strictest requirement clients, ie EPA, NESA, Army, FAA and so on and it has to play well with inside SCORM. I will admit, that at first, it was not an easy sell, but I built out my first Web based training app with it with out saying I was using the framework and they never new the difference and the was with 1.1.

  4. says

    I used jQuery for a revamp of a big client’s home page, and since then we’ve been using it left and right on the rest of the client’s site. Luckily, as the main web production vendor for this client, we have a lot of latitude when it comes to choosing libraries and whatnot; if we didn’t, I’d have been glad for your post when it came time to do the convincing :)

  5. hayden says

    Hi Marc,
    Firstly thanks for the excellent calendar work!
    In regards to this article I found that the easiest way to convince was simply by the numbers: File size; script size; readability; load speed; … jquery hands down!
    I’m not sure about using it first for a small specialised part ie tabbed panes.. that way it might seem quite costly size/load-wise ?? “look I used ajax for these four tabs and it ‘only’ weighs 30kb”?

  6. says

    @hayden: Tabs isn’t a perfect example, but the point I’m making is to find a jQuery plugin that adds something to your project and makes your life easier and saves the client’s time and money. Programming these widgets is hard and time consuming work. It is a great way to get jQuery into your project.

  7. says

    Hey guys and hey Marc (you theme to me to be the author)
    VERY well post! I love it. Not just to be “the little one” whos just finished his trainee to be a german software developer (now since a month I’am ready with school) and you all are working with big applications/customers :P

    What I would like to say: nice article/post, and THANKS for clearly say: jQuery is free for commercial use.

    I’m working on Mozillas Bugzilla very hard (customizing it) and there is may an extension I wrote, that has to use jQuery, but I wasn’t sure if its free for commercial use, and also there will be may a new internet platform arround brunswick, germany which I have to develope (through the company I’m working for) so there we would like to use jQuery a lot :)
    Now I know: we can, because its free…

    As you may note: I love to say it “its free for commercial use” :)

    Or did I got this post wrong?

  8. says

    Does free for commercial use mean that applications that utilize jquery and jquery plugins can be built and sold to commercial clients? Or does that mean that commercial clients may produce jquery applications (using their own IT departments) for their own internal use.