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Title: Beginning jQuery
Author: Jack Franklin
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.
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.
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.