Technology is to software architects what stock is to traders. You are constantly on the lookout for changes in the marketplace to take advantage of an under valued but rising offering. What's that old cliché? Buy on rumor and sell on news.
You would had to have been in a coma for the past decade to have missed AJAX which is an approach to writing web applications that mitigates the disorienting page refresh of the server round-trip by having the page get the new data through a Java script call instead of reloading. To a coder, the heart of AJAX is the XmlHttpRequest object. There are lots of Java script libraries out there that abstract away the web browser differences in using this object, thus simplifying your Java script.
jQuery is one of those libraries. It competes with lots of different offerings such as Prototype, YUI, MooTools, and Dogo. Yesterday, jQuery got mentioned in a rumor that is sure to boost perception of its value over its competitors. On a promotional blog site owned by Microsoft, it was announced that Microsoft is adopting and supporting jQuery in its ASP.NET AJAX components and integrating support of jQuery in its flagship IDE VS.NET
Why does it really matter which technology to choose? After all, each and every technology mentioned here does a great job of doing AJAX. From a technology perspective, you can't go wrong; however, there are more aspects to choosing a software architecture than technology.
A smoother developer experience should accelerate the implementation phase of any project. So, with this announcement, jQuery becomes a more compelling choice for Microsoft development shops. In any work environment, you have to think about turn-around. How long does it take to replace an employee who is leaving? That means being competitive with other shops on a lot of things including pay, benefits, and how desirable your technology is. Using popular technology makes it just a little bit easier to attract and hire good candidates. Popular technology can also be a compelling sell to your customers whose I.T. departments might want to evaluate what technology you use.