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appendTo Brings a jQuery Curriculum to the Enterprise

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appendTo Brings a jQuery Curriculum to the Enterprise

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It's no secret that jQuery is one of the most ubiquitous JavaScript libraries on the web, with a thriving support community.  Large companies have been knocking on jQuery's door for a long time asking for support above and beyond what's available in the jQuery community.  appendTo opened that door at September's jQuery conference.  The new company will be the first to provide enterprise-grade commercial support and training for jQuery, straight from the source.  The announcement was planned to coincide with the news that jQuery had joined the Software Freedom Conservancy.  Mike Hostetler is the founder and CEO of appendTo and a jQuery core team member.  Speaking with DZone, Hostetler said appendTo specializes in "closing the growing gap in front end web development best practices."   

To the best of his knowledge, Hostetler says appendTo is the first company to provide standardization support around jQuery.  appendTo was in the works before September, but Hostetler says that the company would not announce any jQuery commercialization efforts until they knew that there was a legal entity that would guide and surround the project.  That's why they waited until September to break the news.  "First and foremost," he says, "we care about the success of jQuery and the ecosystem that's developed around this wonderful project.  We've seen a real need from the community for a commercial entity to back up the project.  Several developers have mentioned that their boss won't let them use jQuery unless there's a commercial support agreement that they can use."  Hostetler says open source might seem too risky to some employers.  Another reason for the creation of appendTo was to take jQuery, which Hostetler believes is the leading JavaScript library, to the commercial market.  "It's been very well received in the open source market and we want to continue that growth by taking it to the commercial market," said Hostetler.

"We've turned down a lot [of companies] before we [appendTo] formally organized in order to ensure that the Software Conservancy came first," said Hostetler.  The companies that have called on appendTo want standardization and training around jQuery so they can take full advantage of what Hostetler calls "the little library that could."  "They want to get as much distance out of what they have in jQuery, and that's accomplished through staff training," said Hostetler.  He says jQuery fits into a very unique space for a web development projects - a crossover between a programmer and an interactive designer.  "People who understand the programming and the interactive design, and can do it well, are difficult to find," said Hostetler.  appendTo wants to provide training in the design/programming field so that companies can fill those positions.  Hostetler says they can teach web developers the best practices of building a jQuery-based website and help people connect the programming-side and the designer-side.

appendTo's first client is a big name company in the top 100 websites according to Hostetler.  They recently made the decision to use jQuery across all of their web properties.  The company intends to standardize on jQuery and use it exclusively.  Most JavaScript programmers, including many in this company, have used jQuery.  Hostetler says, "We take them from being JavaScript users who use jQuery to being able to build enterprise-grade websites effectively in jQuery.  To our knowledge, appendTo's curriculum is the only curriculum that addresses the enterprise question."  Hostetler says appendTo is already booking Q1 trainings and support agreements.  

Hostetler says appendTo will continue its work to establish a strong foundation to serve the jQuery community and potential customers.  He understands that the company has a huge responsibility as a representative of the jQuery project.  "We're committed to having a double bottom line," said Hostetler.  The first bottom line is putting the community first, he says, especially the international community.  "The community has given the project so much and we want to honor that," said Hostetler.  The second bottom line is profitability and sustainability.  By teaching jQuery to enterprises, Hostetler believes appendTo can help jQuery become the de facto JavaScript library on the web as part of their double bottom line to promote the jQuery community.

DZone asked Hostetler why he chose the name, "appendTo".  He said, "There's a story behind that," and told us that he'd be posting an explanation on the site soon.  In jQuery, appendTo( selector ) is a manipulation that appends all of the matched elements to another, specified, set of elements.  The name could be linked to that operation.

More details about appendTo's training and support plans will be announced at the beginning of next year.  appendTo is also drafting a set of guiding principles that will be posted on their website explaining how the company plans to integrate with the community and operate.  Hostetler says the principles will be "a tool for the community to keep us accountable."  The jQuery creator, John Resig, recently joined appendTo's board of advisers.

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