Book Review – Learning jQuery 1.3
Written for web designers and developers, the book contains thorough tutorials on how to get things done in jQuery, for example, manipulating the DOM, using AJAX, events, plugins, and effects.
- Full Title:
- Jonathan Chaffer, Karl Swedberg
- Feb 2009
- Packt Publishing
Learning jQuery 1.3 is aimed at jQuery beginners who want to learn the popular library. You may have read my review of Learning jQuery back in 2007 where I found it to be a must-have for beginners and a good read in general. Well, 2 years on, I still hold that line of thought – this is a great learning resource.
The book does an excellent job of explaining concepts and functions, using relevant and real-world examples. The first six chapters contain tutorials on using the various components of jQuery, whereas the more advanced chapters 7-9 begin with real world problems and show how jQuery can help solve them. It flows very nicely and is meant to be read from beginning to end, expanding on certain examples throughout the book.
My only gripe with the original book was lack of reference/poor index. The book now includes a new quick reference section which lists all of the functions available in jQuery along with a short description; this is very handy and a welcome addition to the book.
Some examples of new features mentioned in the book include the .live() and .die() functions (which add event listeners to present and future elements, useful when using Ajax calls which create elements), the updated toggle() function (which now supports 2 or more functions to cycle through) and jquery.support (which detects features of browsers rather than sniffing the actual browser version). There is also a new chapter dedicated to plugin development which is more detailed than in the previous book.
Like the original, the language used in the book is clear, concise and easy to understand with tips and ‘gotchas’ highlighted in the text. Code samples are well formatted and fairly easy to understand; they can also be downloaded from the web.
- Getting Started – An explanation of what jQuery is, why its useful, and how to get it set up.
- Selectors – A guide on selectors (such as the powerful CSS, Attribute, and Form selectors), chaining, and traversing the DOM. Also includes examples such as styling links and zebra striping tables.
- Events – How to use jQuery’s event handling, including an explanation of event bubbling, delegation, and namespacing. This chapter also has a neat style switcher example.
- Effects – (Sample available) A guide to effects and animations.
- DOM Manipulation – How to modify the DOM, e.g. attributes, elements, etc.
- AJAX – An in-depth guide on how to utilise Ajax to interact with data on the server (and remote servers).
- Table Manipulation - How to manipulate tabular data with jQuery using, for examples, sorting, pagination, highlighting, and row striping.
- Forms with function – Enhancing a form using things such as validation, dynamically displayed fields, and auto-complete.
- Shufflers and rotators – Examples on how to rotate headings, data, and more.
- Using Plugins – How to use jQuery UI and 3rd party plugins, as well as examples of some popular ones.
- Developing Plugins – How to develop your own plugins for jQuery (the previous book helped me with this so I could make my Curvy Corners plugin).
Verdict: 8.5/10 – Like the previous instalment; a must-have for the jQuery beginner. Scores higher due to the quick reference section and the improved plugin chapters.