I just finished reading the Learning jQuery 1.3 book, authored by Karl Swedberg and Jonathan Chaffer and published by Packt Publishing . They sent me a free review copy of the book and this is a personal and independent review of the book.

jQuery is arguably the most widely used Javascript library with a pretty genuine punch line “The Write less, Do More, Javascript library” which I would totally agree to. It allows you to do so much in just a few lines of code, which is the most awesome thing about jQuery.

This book is a revised and updated version of an earlier version of the book. I would start off by saying that if anyone wants to learn jQuery from the roots up to a level of decent expertise, go for this book, it would be worth every penny spent. Thats how much I liked this book.  The book starts from the very basics starting with simple examples and progresses with each chapter into more complex and real world examples with a step by step explanation of the code. You cant ask for more than that, really.

The book is based on the latest version of jQuery (1.3) which is why it includes the new .live() and .die() events. These two events are pretty magical, as they can bind or unbind event handlers to objects that get created on the fly as well. So, if you have a link within a div with a click handler on it, it would work but only on that link. Any new links you add dynamically (e.g. loading rss feeds etc via AJAX) wont have the event listeners attached to them. With the .live() event, you can do that .  I find in pretty magical!

The book also goes at length to explain the plugin architecture and the best practices to write universally consumable plugins without breaking or interrupting any other user defined or plugin defined code. Infact, it also lists the most widely known plugins in the jQuery world in one of the chapters. There is a whole chapter on plugins!

One thing that I really liked about the book is its emphasis on ‘Progresive enhancement‘, also known as ‘graceful degradation’. What that actually means is, all the examples and concepts explained in the book,  start off with a very simple code which would work (or gracefully degrade) even if Javascript was disabled in the client browser, before processing on with the details of the jQuery code in the example. To me, this is like, going the extra mile to explain the concept and I was pretty impressed by this approach.

Both jQuery and jQueryUI are available via the Google CDN,  which means you don’t really need to download the library and be bothered with distributing it with your application, as you can simply use them from the CDN. By doing this, you dont even need to worry about updating the versions of the API as you just load the required version from the CDN.

There is one chapter of the book available online as well. Chapter 4 on Effects is available here if you want to get a feel of the reading. Also, you can download the sample code that comes with the book from here. Here is the full Table of Contents of the book.

I would repeat, this is a must-read book for anyone who is serious about learning jQuery and Javascript in general. The real world examples with their step by step explanation really makes this book extremely valuable.

Following is a list of jQuery related resources :-

jQuery API
jQuery API Browser
Visual jQuery
Learning jQuery
jQuery API AIR Based Download
John Resig’s blog (creator of jQuery)

Overall, a pretty decent book for your library!

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6 Responses to Book Review: Learning jQuery 1.3 by Packt Publishing

  1. I just got the book yesterday and am currently on chapter 2. I’m liking it as well and will post a review when I finish it.

  2. Anuj Gakhar says:

    @Ray, that would be cool. I enjoyed reading this book a lot, really helpful examples.

  3. jQuery was a pretty big leap for me from manually-written Javascript. I prefer to use jQuery whenever I have to select a particular type of objects and execute some Javascript on them (Eg. check all checkboxes with the CSS class “oldItem”)

    I’ve always wondered – what would be the next big step for jQuery? I guess “feature testing” would be my pick, though I haven’t been able to try it out yet. “Closest” sounds cool, but I’m not sure where I’d want to use it.

  4. ggg says:

    hi is flex same as jquery

  5. John says:

    I guess i will buy this book and hve a look, i have few books from packt publishing and almost all of them sucks.
    They make unstructured books with some unknown writers, really dont understand hw can they run such a scam.

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