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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Introduction to jQuery 1.4, 5 Nov. 2010
This review is from: jQuery: Novice to Ninja (Paperback)
A good book that will give you a good foundation for jQuery 1.4 on which to build, it doesn't cover or even provide reference information on all the different implementations of the methods covered or even cover all the methods available in jQuery, equally it doesn't cover all the utility functions available, to be honest it misses out loads of them, but you have to start somewhere and this is definitely a good enough book to get you started. You will need to know CSS and JavaScript (variables, conditional statements, object literals, and functions mainly) in order to get the most out of this book but in relation to JavaScript it does explain aspects of the language it uses, so if you have some programming experience, not specifically JavaScript, you should be OK.

There are numerous examples throughout and the book tends to focus on all the fun stuff you can do i.e. lightbox, tabbed menus, custom dialog boxes, accordion, drag and drop, various animation techniques etc. It also covers extending jQuery with your own methods or overriding existing ones, and it covers creating plug-ins too. The examples are based on a fictitious website that tracks celebrities, so at least you get some real world examples, loosely speaking.

Each chapter tends to mix up examples with the core jQuery library with examples done using the jQuery UI library, this was done mostly because the author was trying to show how you can do something using core jQuery but also how you can do the same thing or much more using jQuery UI. Although necessary in that context I did find it more difficult to separate each in my mind. I'd rather establish the core jQuery as a whole first in my mind before moving onto jQuery UI. As mentioned not all implementations of methods are covered, even though, on occasion, a new implementation of a method is used without discussion, it doesn't happen often at all, but it is enough to remind you that this is really an introductory text and further examination of jQuery will be required in order to master the language, at least for professional web developers, hobbyists, who do not care about mastering the language, will enjoy this book as the many 'bells and whistles' examples it provides will be more than sufficient to spruce up a stale website. The book doesn't dabble into the theory much, for example when using the hide() method to hide an element(s) it doesn't tell you that this method is just setting the CSS display property to none in the background, I'd much prefer to know this kind of stuff as it can impact on other aspects of my code and it serves to solidify my understanding of the language, again this is another example of why I believe professional developers will need a more in-depth text to study this language properly. There are a couple of other issues, firstly I came across quite a number of errors that weren't listed on the errata page for the book, and secondly some of the examples didn't work in recent browsers even though browser compatibility is one of the selling points of jQuery.

As I write this in November, and given the jQuery team try to release a new full version (as oppose to the numerous incremental version updates) in January every year, you may want to check for a newer version of the language, and as such a newer book, if you're reading this review post January.

In summary, for hobbyists or those looking for a gentle introduction to jQuery this book is ideal, for professionals it gives you a reasonably good foundation to build on. To be honest had there been an up to date Apress or Wrox text on the language around I would have got those books instead, so take a look just in case before you buy this one.
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