Learning jQuery 1.3 (Book review)

March 19th, 2009

Learning jQuery 1.3A lot of web designers, myself included, are mostly concerned with the way things look when people visit the web sites we create. We’re all about the design — layout, typography, colour, graphics and how they enhance the user experience. We start with some sketches, do some wire-frames and rapidly move into software like Photoshop or Fireworks in order to get a pleasing aesthetic result that we’ll eventually piece together on the web using HTML and CSS. Whilst most designers find markup and stylesheets relatively easy to master, javascript sits firmly in the programming camp. It’s all about integers, boleans, strings and other scary sounding bits and bobs that often require a logical and mathematically able brain to understand.

Yet javascript opens up a world of exciting behavioural options to us. It enables us to bring our pages to life with all the wizzy and cool stuff that clients love. Things swishing in and out of view, dropping down, sliding, expanding and contracting. Javascript brings our flat designs to life. But it’s difficult. That’s one reason why jQuery was invented — to make life easier for web designers. If you’ve already mastered HTML and CSS then you’ll find jQuery a logical next step. It uses a similar code style to CSS rather than the all out alien language of raw javascript. Learning jQuery 1.3 from Packt Publishing (ISBN 978-1-847196-70-5) is the only book you’ll need to get started with the library if like me you’re a web design who wants to add a little extra umph to your designs.

You’ll realise that this is definitive tome when you see that it contains a glowing foreword by John Resig, the creator of jQuery. He praises the authors, who he knows personally and gives Karl Sedberg a particular thumbs-up for his excellent knack for the English language. Indeed the themes in this book are relayed to the reader in accessible chunks of to-the-point tutorial that will immediately have you eager to boot up your PC and get cracking with showing and hiding, fading, bringing content into the page by the power of AJAX, sorting tables and all manner of glittering delights that were hitherto beyond your mortal reach.

I was in the process of building a new website using the usual solid webstandards that have kept me in work with my current employer for the last seven years when this book landed in my in-tray. One chapter in and I was hooked. My original pretty and functional site was soon awash with plenty of little jQuery effects and goodies. Probably overkill for what was actually needed but once you start playing it becomes pretty difficult to leave alone. Remember when you discovered all those photoshop layer effects? Remember how you used them in earnest way back when? You’re going to do the same again here. But as time goes on you learn to use where appropriate and go throwing everything including the kitchen sink into a design. JQuery is another set of tools to add to your ever expanding web design toolbox and this is the manual.

Learning jQuery 1.3 by Jonathan Chaffer and Karl Swedberg is published by Packt Publishing (ISBN 978-1-847196-70-5) and has a recommended retail price of £24.99.

Read a sample chapter or buy it direct from Packt Publishing.

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