jQuery is a powerful, widely used library that makes a lot of common practices in javascript web development a bit easier. Here are some examples of how you can use jQuery for some common things we've already done:

Vanilla JS jQuery
var xhr = new XMLHttpRequest();
xhr.open("GET", "path/to/api");
xhr.addEventListener("readystatechange", function () {
  if (xhr.readyState == 4 || xhr.status == 200) {
    alert("Success: " + xhr.responseText);
$.get("path/to/api", function (response) {
  alert("Success: " + response);
Get element var span = document.querySelector('span'); var $span = $("span");
Create element var a = document.createElement("a"); var $a = $("<a>");
Add child span.appendChild(a); $span.append($a);
Get textContent var linkText = a.textContent; var $linkText = $a.text();
Set textContent a.textContent = "new text content"; $a.text("new text content");
Get attribute var href = a.getAttribute("href"); var $href = $a.attr("href");
Set attribute a.setAttribute("href", "http://wikipedia.org/"); $a.attr("href", "http://wikipedia.org/");
Add event listener a.addEventListener("click", function() { ... }; $a.on("click", function() { ... });

The easiest way to add jQuery to your page is by adding the following script tag to your HTML (put this tag before your own scripts):

<script src="https://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/2.1.4/jquery.min.js"></script>

The most important difference with using jQuery for DOM manipulation is that jQuery always works with a "set" of elements. Before, you would do document.querySelector("li.todo") and that would just return ONE element. But when you do the equivalent with jQuery ($("li.todo")), you get a set of elements that match that selector. Furthermore, the DOM manipulation operations (like setting text content or changing an attribute or adding a class, etc.) are available on the set. In other words, jQuery makes it easy to manipulate more than one element at a time, which is usually helpful. Here's an example:

// Get all the todo list items on the page
var $listItems = $("li.todo");

// Add a class to them all

Before, you would have to use document.querySelectorAll() and a for loop. But jQuery makes it easy.

Taking it one step further, jQuery also allows you to chain these operations together. This allows your code to be a bit more succinct.