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Head First jQuery (Brain-Friendly Guides) 1st Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 078-5934509422
ISBN-10: 1449393217
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Ryan Benedetti holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing from the University of Montana and works as a Web Developer/Multimedia Specialist for the University of Portland. He works with Flash, ActionScript, Adobe's Creative Suite, Drupal, Liferay Portal, and Apache's Jakarta Velocity Templating language.

For seven years, Ryan served as Department Head for Information Technology and Computer Engineering at SKC. Prior to that, he worked as editor and information systems specialist for a river, stream, and wetland research program in the School of Forestry at the University of Montana.

Ryan's poems have been published in Cut Bank and Andrei Codrescu's Exquisite Corpse. He spends his free hours painting, cartooning, playing blues harmonica, making Flash learning toys, and practicing zazen. He spends his best moments with his daughter, his son, and his sweetheart, Shonna, in Portland, OR.

Ronan Cranley is the Senior Web Developer/Systems Manager at University of Portland, Oregon. He has worked on an array of different projects in PHP, VB.Net, C# and Java. These include a client-side GIS system, a homegrown content management system, a calendaring/scheduling system, and a jQuery/Google Maps mashup. Ronan also serves as the SQL Server DBA for the University.

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Product Details

  • Series: Brain-Friendly Guides
  • Paperback: 540 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (October 2, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1449393217
  • ISBN-13: 978-1449393212
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 1.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #120,611 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By David Hayden on October 22, 2011
Format: Paperback
This is my first Head First Series book. I have heard great things about Head First books and mainly picked it up to experience the series.

I have to say the information is very much for beginners. The book starts you out at the basics of organizing your website assets, downloading jQuery, and introducing one to the basics of CSS, HTML, JavaScript, jQuery, etc. The later chapters start introducing AJAX, PHP, MySQL, JSON, and XML from scratch, too. If you don't have PHP and MySQL, the appendices help you visually install them. If you are beginner, you just can't ask for more than that.

Throughout the book Head First jQuery teaches via a Problem-Solution approach. A client needs some changes to their website and the book walks you through collecting the requirements, introducing the necessary features in HTML, CSS, jQuery, and JavaScript that help solve the problem, and last begins coding the problem. Pictures, games, and repetition are constantly used through the book to help reinforce the learning of the material.

For me, personally, there were a bit too many images, games, and repetition. I found it difficult to get in any kind of reading rhythm with the non-standard flow of text and information. It was kind of cute at first and overall I found the images and games appealing and useful, but it was a bit too much and too distracting for me. At times it felt more like a chore to learn the material.

Again, a great book for beginners that teaches a lot of breadth as opposed to depth. Lots of images for those that learn best visually. Prepare yourself for a different writing/learning style if you are not familiar with the Head First Series.
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Format: Paperback
It might sound strange, but first thing I am grateful to Ryan and Ronan is mentioning TextWrangler in the beginning of the book. This way I got familiar with very simple, useful, and free (free as in free beer) editor for Mac OS

I haven't used jQuery before, and I wanted to see what it is all about. First of all, I like to learn by examples - and you got them here. All in one piece - zipped - directly on your hard drive from the Head First Lab web page (each example contains corresponding jQuery library). This is nice. You simply don't have to copy-paste everything you see in the book into your text editor. When it comes to the content. Well, this is always hard thing to judge. I know people who hate Head First series. They say it is not sophisticated enough. I am, on the contrary, a great fan of Head First. jQuery, like any other Head First series book, gives you simple, straight overview of the topic. OK, it will not provide you with as much text as other books, but hey, "A picture is worth a thousand words". And you will find lots of them here. However, if you consider yourself a hacker, don't buy it. It's rather for beginners. If you are a beginner - I'd consider buying it.
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Format: Paperback
This is billed as an fairly introductory-level book for those who are familiar with HTML/CSS and a little bit of JavaScript. As stated in the introduction, one of the goals of this book that differentiates it from other programming books is making the subject matter fun and engaging through the abundant use of visuals and activities. As with most programming books the expectation is that the reader sits down in front of a computer and codes along with the book.

The tone is conversational and easy to read overall. The scenarios are contrived but do a decent job of highlighting the principles each chapter intends to cover. Presenting blocks of code with annotations in a handwritten style explaining what each piece of code does was very helpful, and I think this was the most successful aspect of this book. I could see some of the illustrated analogies (e.g. comparing variables to test tubes and arrays to test-tube holders) helpful for people who were less familiar with programming concepts. However, a lot of the other visuals that are supposed to make it more "fun" seemed unnecessary and childish.

Throughout the book there are many "fill in the blank" and "drop this line into a block of code" sort of exercises. Some are okay, but many of them don't really seem to test the right stuff especially in the later chapters. Often, the authors don't provide enough context for you to really understand what you're being asked to write, so it becomes a matter of guessing at where to put the lines of code based on the syntax (e.g. this CSS style must go here, this jQuery selector must go here, this must go here because it has an end brace, etc.) and not what the code is supposed to do.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The content of the book and its style of teaching were great. But the number of typos and the lack of synchronization between the downloadable code examples and what is written in the book is inexcusable and got to be very irritating. When I buy a book, I expect that someone has at least proof read it for blatant errors. Clearly somebody dropped the ball in this case.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Head First JQuery is yet another testimony of the effectiveness of the Head First series in delving deeply into new concepts while implementing both humor and visually compelling examples.

The book offers a number of entertaining site examples to learn from, including one with a Google map plug-in for locating sight-seeing of monsters (p. 424), another with clickable images that provide a discount and discount code (chapter 3), still one other with a monster theme that involves a face mix and match game with lightning effects for kids (p. 255), yet another that both lists and updates racer finish times using AJAX and Json (chapter 9), and, lastly, a restaurant site that changes the menu from meat-based to vegetarian substitute dishes (chapter 4).

Most uniquely, for a JQuery book, it also goes into some depth on not only AJAX, but also PHP (a server side language) and MySQL (a database application for storing information that works in tandem with PHP and other server side languages) (chapter 9). (For instance, I read another JQuery book called Javascript & JQuery by David Sawyer McFarland that didn't go into PHP and MySQL, although it did offer a less complex yet more comprehensive introduction to Google maps and geolocation. Given this, I'd recommend beginners start reading the book by David Sawyer McFarland before tackling the Head First JQuery book.)

Some of the more detailed highlights of the book include a date picker widget (p. 382); discussion on binding (p. 81) and unbinding (p. 86); a referral to full JQuery documentation (p. 84); an explanation of method chaining (p. 142) and Dom traversal (p. 140); introduction to the PHP json_encode function and array push method (p. 359); discussions of a variety of methods including the find method (p.
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