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Learning jQuery 1.3 Paperback – February 13, 2009

4 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jonathan Chaffer

Jonathan Chaffer is the Chief Technology Officer of Structure Interactive, an interactive agency located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. There he oversees web development projects using a wide range of technologies, and continues to collaborate on day-to-day programming tasks as well.

In the open-source community, Jonathan has been very active in the Drupal CMS project, which has adopted jQuery as its JavaScript framework of choice. He is the creator of the Content Construction Kit, a popular module for managing structured content on Drupal sites. He is responsible for major overhauls of Drupal's menu system and developer API reference.

Jonathan lives in Grand Rapids with his wife, Jennifer.

Karl Swedberg

Karl Swedberg is a web developer at Structure Interactive in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he spends much of his time implementing design with a focus on "web standards"--semantic HTML, well-mannered CSS, and unobtrusive JavaScript.

Before his current love affair with web development, Karl worked as a copy editor, a high-school English teacher, and a coffee house owner. His fascination with technology began in the early 1990s when he worked at Microsoft in Redmond, Washington, and it has continued unabated ever since.

Karl's other obsessions include photography, karate, English grammar, and fatherhood. He lives in Grand Rapids with his wife, Sara, and his two children, Benjamin and Lucia.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 444 pages
  • Publisher: Packt Publishing; 2nd edition edition (February 13, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847196705
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847196705
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,471,734 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I'm a programmer with lots of experience in several languages, although I never learned JavaScript -- nor had I done client-side web programming outside of static (X)HTML and CSS.

I decided it was time to close this gap, so I chose JQuery as my framework to abstract away the headaches I'd heard about JavaScript, and I chose Learning jQuery 1.3 as my means to learn the platform.

The book provides an excellent tour of jQuery's capabilities, although the jQuery UI package is not covered (the publisher offers this in a different book).

Each chapter covers a different aspect of jQuery programming, starting with simple examples and finishing with complex/completed functionality. Since this was my first dive into browser-side programming, I also found the book to be an excellent overview for creating the various behaviors I'd seen in practice (such as animating web content, validating forms, and refreshing data without refreshing the page).

New concepts are introduced along the way, and potential "gotchas" are exposed by presenting them as what you think you'd do next -- but are then followed by an explanation as to why it's the wrong thing to do. The book also contains an overview of many of the more popular jQuery plug-ins.

You're best off downloading the accompanying source code if you want to try the examples yourself, because non-relevant portions of the code and accompanying CSS don't always appear in the text. My only complaint lies with the example code: It isn't always well-commented. jQuery's syntax and extensive chaining can sometimes be non-intuitive, so good commenting is a must in a book like this.
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Format: Paperback
It's been nearly two years since the first edition of Learning jQuery was published. In my review of the initial version, I highly recommended it to anyone wanting to learn more about jQuery. I am quite pleased to say that this update is equally as good, bringing the reader up to speed on all the improvements that have been made since. Karl Swedberg and Jonathan Chaffer have masterfully refined the examples in Learning jQuery 1.3 to reflect the latest code base.

If you are still on the fence about delving into jQuery, know that there are a lot of successful companies who are using it already, such as those listed on the jQuery home page: CBS, Dell, Digg, Google, NBC, Netflix, WordPress -- to name a few. Additionally, Microsoft has made jQuery their JavaScript library of choice, for the upcoming .NET MVC framework -- which is somewhat akin to Ruby on Rails.

It is no secret that I am a huge fan of jQuery. In fact, I recently wrote a chapter for an upcoming jQuery book by O'Reilly. Believe me when I say that Karl really knows jQuery and is one of the brightest developers I know. This is a book not to be missed, especially if you are going to frequently be writing JavaScript.

One of the most notable improvements has been in the speed of CSS style selectors. Rather than doing a top-down pass at elements, the latest version of jQuery finds things via a bottom-up approach called Sizzle. This is similar to the way browsers apply stylesheets, and allows jQuery to be significantly faster.

Another key improvement, one that did not exist before, is the addition of "live" effects. Essentially, this allows you to add event listeners on any currently existing elements in a page, as well as all future elements that match the criteria.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm not one to write reviews here very often - this only is my second. But I feel strongly enough about how this book's content is presented that I had to come here and hopefully prevent some disappointed purchases.

I personally learn best by doing something - seeing a working example and then taking it apart and observing what changing something does.

This book is not very good for that. The code in the text is presented in blocks and snippets of code. There is sample code you can download, but it is all completed code after being altered through the end of the relevant chapter. The code I've looked at in the sample downloads looks NOTHING like what you see in the book.

The writers go to great lengths explaining about each new concept, but again, the example to show how the concept works is presented in a snippet and the reader is left to figure out how to add that to the existing code that has been written thus far in the chapter.

It is because of this that I DO NOT recommend this book to the beginning developer. I am at an intermediate level of programming myself and have spent way too much time trying to figure out how to add the code presented in the book to what has already been written.

There are even inconsistencies in code from one block to the next when a new concept is added. Case in point: if you have the book, compare the code on page 57 to the code it is supposed to be based on, on page 55. Whether the difference is a typo, or failure to explain the difference in code, I can't tell. Hence I spent 15 minutes trying to figure out how to add the new concept into the existing code myself.

Much of my dislike for the book is based on person learning style, but I think the writers could do a better job in providing more useful, in-context, working code.
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