jQuery has reached its 10th birthday and jQuery 3.0 has reached beta status. Having dumped the idea of a "compat" variant that would support older browsers there is now only one version of jQuery 3.0.
In a blog post for the 10th anniversary Resig writes:
It’s fascinating to see what place jQuery continues to hold in the world of web development. When I originally created the library I wanted to scratch two personal itches: 1) To provide a simple interface for interacting with the DOM and 2) Reduce the number of cross-browser issues that exist during development. Thankfully we now live in a world which is much rosier than back in 2005, when I was writing jQuery. Most users are on evergreen browsers and most have access to the recent standards-specified technology. It pleases me that there is apparently still a place for simple API design in the world, as jQuery’s continued success attests. jQuery is more popular than ever, surprisingly enough! 77.8% of the top million web site on the web use it, which is astounding.
Two branches of jQuery had been maintained over the past few years because, in order to be smaller and faster, jQuery 2.0 didn't support versions of Internet Explorer prior to IE9. So jQuery 1.0 continued to be developed to cater for IE8. jQuery 3.0 is the single version to upgrade both of them.
It had been envisioned that it would have two variants with a "compat" branch supporting as many browsers as possible whereas the standard version would just work with the current and previous versions of the browsers that are common at the time of its release. However in this weeks blog post Timmy Willison writes:
You can forget that. On January 12, Microsoft dropped support for IE8, IE9, and IE10. We’re not going to go that far just yet, but we are dropping support for IE8. And with IE8, so goes jQuery Compat, gone before we even released a final version. There will only be one jQuery from now on!
He chooses this graphic to illustrate this radical decision:
The blog post outlines major changes since the alpha release and a A complete list of changes is available on the jQuery GitHub bug tracker.