jQuery UI 1.6: The User Interface Library for jQuery (Book review)

March 27th, 2009

jquery-uiDan Wellman’s book jQuery UI 1.6 (ISBN 978-1-847195-12-8) from Packt Publishing is the kind of book I wish I had when I first started tinkering with jQuery.

Firstly, I’m a web designer, not a developer. Scripting scares me. I’m really out of my comfort zone when I need to bring a web page to life with things like Flash Action Scripting or, in this case, Javascript.

Secondly, I’m a fairly practical kind of bloke who would rather just get something done as a proof of concept and work out how to improve it later. I don’t want to learn a language like PHP or Javascript from the ground-up before I can do something like tab interfaces, resizable boxes and drag and drop widgets. So I never have.

The jQuery User Interface (UI) Library is preceisely the kind of thing that I need in order to rapidly prototype web interfaces. It’s a set of well tested widgets, compatible with all modern browsers (and some old ones).

This book explains in great detail, with full code examples, how to quickly get cracking with every part of the library. This includes tabs, accordions, pop-ups, sliders, date pickers, auto-complete, drag and drop, resizing, selecting, sorting and various animations.

What I most enjoyed about this book was the rapid pace that Wellman moved me through each of the widgets. First he explains the purpose of the widget followed by the default implementation, how to style of ‘skin’ the widget to your own requirements and then onto the more intricate details of chaning how it behaves. This kind of approach is very accessible to me.

As a designer I’m quite interested in making the widgets fit the look and feel of my design. It’s rare that I ever want to use the default style and if it’s not easy to change the chances are I’ll look elsewhere. Each and every jQuery UI widget can be styled to exacting requirments and Wellman is keen to highlight this fact.

I get the feeling I’ll be frequently referring to the chapters on tabs, dialogues, resizing, selecting and sorting the in my day to day work. This is the kind of book you can confidently dip into when you have a specific problem to solve and one that will be a valuable addition to and web design bookshelf.

jQuery UI 1.6 by Dan Wellman is published by Packt Publishing and is £27.99

Read a sample chapter or buy the book direct from Packt Publishing.

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