A few weeks ago, the Packt Publishing team generously sent me a copy of Learning jQuery 1.3, one of their premiere tutorial books, to review here on Lateral Code.
While reading this jQuery publication, I was very surprised by the comprehensiveness provided by the authors. Many books regarding systematic subjects often require a baseline knowledge to convey their information appropriately. Learning jQuery 1.3 presents a solution for both complete beginners and experienced users. It covers simple jQuery topics – including the DOM, selectors, and basic functions – while still giving advanced users the viable alternative to move to later chapters. In fact, the book’s sections are based completely on a building process: Rather than covering topics that have little to no relevance in each chapter, Learning jQuery 1.3 smoothly transitions into new subjects, giving the reader an efficient way to learn and develop.
In the chapters themselves, this publication uses a basic learning style that gives it a characteristic development process. Throughout each section, new concepts are introduced with simple code snippets. Before putting such information away and introducing the next idea, examples are given to induce a deeper knowledge of the subject. Instead of only showing what can be done, the book emphasizes on why and how it is done. I found this to be a key help when understanding new concepts. It is one thing to just have another tool under your tool belt; if you know how to use it, you save yourself a world of time.
For example, in the Events chapter, the authors use the example of an interactive style switcher. From this one application alone, they present the creation of buttons, event handlers, special jQuery-applied CSS properties, event propogation/delegation, namespacing, and more. The maintenance of this single real-world application explains to the reader exactly how and why certain techniques should be used.
Just as the explanations are aided through examples, the whole publication is filled with images, notes, and code that help teach the reader in an organized manner. Most every example found has an accompanying image or diagram that further conveys its job. When certain features are implemented, images clearly express the new function. Furthermore, notes present in small blurbs throughout chapters add tips, tricks, and in-depth information to a jQuery application. Along with the code and images, they make new information easy to apply.
In addition to a solid explanation style, the book focuses a lot on implementation and efficiency. Learning how something is done only exemplifies a single dimension of jQuery. Understanding what the problems are with an application and how they can be solved efficiently brings more genuine content into this publication. It elucidates on frequent dilemmas and presents various solutions in the form of minimal code.
With all of the above features, Learning jQuery 1.3 is quite a unique and comprehensive book. Its presentation style brings a new dimension to the normal way of teaching jQuery. Even though I did have experience with the subject matter prior to reading this publication, I learned quite a lot on my adventure through it. I would recommend this book to most anyone interested in taking a ride through the features and abilities of jQuery.