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Keywords: jQuery, JavaScript, web development

Title: Beginning jQuery

Author: Jack Franklin

Publisher: Apress

ISBN: 978-1430249320

Media: Book/Kindle

Level: Introductory - some JavaScript required

Verdict: A solid introduction


With the phenomenal success of jQuery it should be no surprise that introductory books are two a penny these days. Some of these are truly dire and not to be recommended under any circumstances. That's not the case with Jack Franklin's 'Beginning jQuery' (Apress). This is by far the best of the introductory titles that have passed this way recently.

The book is pitched at the developer with little previous experience in the way of JavaScript, so the book opens with a fast introduction to the language. If you're au fait with JavaScript you can safely skip this opening, but if you've only ever dabbled briefly in the past then it's a good reminder of the basic syntax, how scripts are linked to a web page and a fly-past of console debugging. From there it's straight into the proper introduction to jQuery and the document object model (DOM), a topic that is covered in more detail in the next two chapters.

Events are covered in chapters five and six, including event delegation, propagation and the binding/unbinding of events. This is followed by a chapter on Animation and another on Ajax, before moving into the last three chapters of the book which are all about building jQuery plug-ins. While the range of topics is pretty much what you'd expect from an introduction, and therefore doesn't really differ from most other books pitched to the same readership, it's the writing, the examples and the code that really make the difference.

What comes across really clearly is the author's obvious enthusiasm and belief in jQuery as a great platform. And he wants to convince you, the reader, by showing you how to get decent results while picking up some best practices and experience in working with jQuery and JavaScript. This is definitely not about handing over a series of canned recipes for you to cut and paste into your own code. But code there is, and plenty of it.

There are a couple of extended examples that are used across the different chapters. The first is an accordion to hide/unhide content on a page, and the second is an image slider control. Both are developed from simple starts and then extended, refactored and improved along the way. This successive refinement and extension of the code allows for newly learned skills and techniques to be applied to enhance code that has previously been entered. It's a good technique in that it allows Franklin to talk about best practices and to put to good use the material he is introducing. It means, for example, that by the close of the book there's a very usable slider control in the form of a jQuery plug-in.

If there are criticisms of the book they're fairly minor. A chapter on how to use jQuery with PHP or common web platform such as Joomla or WordPress would have been a useful end-point of the book. There's a degree of repetition in that blocks of code are repeated in various places as the extended examples are developed and some people might find this excessive, on the other hand summarising the code at various points is also a benefit when you want to go back and check things.

So, overall, this is a really solid introduction to jQuery for those who are relatively new to JavaScript and jQuery.

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Contents © TechBookReport 2013. Published 08 May 2013