Why We Dropped Zepto

Ben wrote this on January 03, 2014 in . It has 491 reactions

illustration of the Yeti leaning on jQuery. Most of Foundation's components lean on jQuery.

Deep inside his icy cave, the wise and powerful Yeti heard people asking, "Where did Zepto go?" Back when Foundation 4 was being conceived we switched to Zepto (with a jQuery option) for its smaller file size and faster load time.

But over time we found that lighter file size did not translate into better performance overall. Sure, Zepto downloaded quickly. But once loaded, it wasn't quite as fast as jQuery. It didn't help that many third-party plugins required jQuery, not Zepto — in fact, we found that some third party JavaScripts conflicted outright with Zepto.

Maintaining different code bases wasn't easy for us, either. For example, Zepto lacks a proper height calculation function, making certain grid calculations difficult.

To solve all this, the answer was clear as a spring Himalayan sky: Foundation 5 uses jQuery 2. In addition to better speed and industry acceptance, jQuery 2 benefits from better documentation and support as well. jQuery is API compatible.

But we assumed Zepto would be faster than jQuery. We didn't want to make the same assumption twice, so we tested Zepto vs. jQuery 2. The result: jQuery 2 has more operations per second. That gives Foundation 5 better performance, which translates to better experience for all users.

In the end, we want to help people design great products faster — and this time, that means giving the most responsive front-end framework in the world itself a speed boost.


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