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Learning jQuery 1.3 - Book review

As someone who has been using jQuery since the 1.0 release I thought I had a pretty good working knowledge of what jQuery can do - how wrong I was! I didn't think it would take me that long to read this book, but found it to be a constant source or revelation, and often ended up re-reading sections. My understanding of events, particularly bubbling has been greatly improved having read this book.

All the examples are well explained with good real world examples. Often books feel a bit contrived as the authors are trying to think of scenarios where a particular method would be used, I didn't get that impression from this book. Each time a method is introduced it is because the example has a need for it. I suspect this is because one of the authors is a member of the jQuery development team, so knows why a particular method has added to jQuery. Having a team member on board (Karl Swedberg) as an author really shows through in this book. It also explains how they managed to get this book out so fast!

The book spends the first 6 chapters dealing with the most common tasks you'll need to do in jQuery. These are; Selectors, Events, Effects, DOM Manipulation & AJAX. After reading these you'll be up and running. Chapters 7, 8 deal with tables, forms and rotators. Tables and forms both have excellent official plugins listed on the jQuery site, but this is really mentioned, there are also numerous rotator plugins. Reading these chapters will definitely improve you jQuery skills, but I'd be a bit upset if I'd developed my own solution to find someone had already done it and better! Chapter 10 introduces plugins (including the TableSorter and Validation plugins!) with an introduction to jQuery UI and chapter 11 is a good guide to how develop your own.

The section on closures in the Appendix does a really good job of explaining a confusing topic and if you have this book, you really should read it. Also featured in the Appendix is a Quick Reference, Development Tools and Online Resources. As you'd expect, there is also an index.

Accompanying code samples can be downloaded from the Packt Publishing website, which is really useful as to really understand jQuery, you need to get your hands dirty and play around with the examples. Chapter 4, Effects is available as a free sample chapter on the website (in PDF format) if you want to get a feel for the book before you buy.

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to leverage the power of jQuery in their websites. If you haven't used JavaScript, or are just interested in using one of the many jQuery plugins then this book is probably not for you. Having said that, if you do take the time to learn jQuery, then you'll soon be writing your own plugins!

Learning jQuery 1.3 is published by Packt Publishing and is available as a paperback book or as a PDF eBook. Both versions can be purchased direct from the website, and at a special offer price of £22.49 and £13.93 respectively. You'll also be able to find the paperback on Amazon UK for £24.99 and Amazon US for $35.99.


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