Book review: jQuery in Action

I started reading this book about 6 months ago. After reading it half way through I stopped and start reading a newly purchased book. The reason that I stopped reading was because I was excited and impatient to start reading the new book, it’s a problem I have every time I purchase a new book. After finishing some books I realized that jQuery in Action was still lying around, and because the new project I’m working on depends heavily on jQuery, I decided to pick up the book where I left off and finish it.

jQuery in Action cover

f you use jQuery in your day job or you are interested in JavaScript development in general this book is really for you. I read this book after several months of jQuery development experience and still learned a lot about the framework.

The authors of the book recommend reading the appendices first before getting into the real stuff. They are a very good start for people who are not that familiar with JavaScript and get you up to speed on some essentials of the language like the JavaScript Object and how functions and closures work. These concepts are explained in a very clear way.

After the appendices you dive right into the jQuery goodness with the explanation of the pure basics. Selectors are a very important part which is handled in detail. Via events, animations and effects they show the basic utility functions that are built-in in jQuery. Although the whole book is a very interesting read chapter 7 really pops out and shows how you can write your own plugins, which can result in a lot of code reuse when used properly. The book is finished with how to do Ajax calls with jQuery and some of the best jQuery plugins.

I think it’s quite clear by now that this book is a good read for all levels: beginner, intermediate and advanced. I’ve learned a lot about jQuery that made my job a lot easier. And I think that’s the reason why we read technical books, broaden your horizon and learn how to use framework and tools more efficient. The authors certainly succeeded with this book.

To close I would like to list my 5 favorites things I learned or learned more about while reading the book:

  • Selectors, although I already knew a bunch about supported selectors I learned some new ones that I didn’t know of
  • animate() that enables you to create your own custom animations and gives you endless possibilities
  • $.grep() can be used to filter arrays
  • $.post, $.get, $.ajax, … all the different features in jQuery that support ajax calls to the server and a reference of all the different options.
  • Live Query plugin, which can monitor if certain events occur on elements which match a certain selector. The good thing about this plugin is when adding new items to the page that match the selector, you don’t have to bind the events for this new item. The plugin takes care of that.