Posted Aug 27, 12:32 AM
The title says simple, but there’s an awful lot in this book that is not simple, particularly if you’re a beginner.
The Contradiction of jQuery’s Audience of Users
However, the problem is that CSS-like selector syntax is an area that a lot of hard core programmers or back-end or server-side programmers actually don’t know or understand real well. As a side note, jQuery also supports XPath style syntax for selection of DOM objects, but you tend to see those used a lot less, since the design-centric CSS audience is most common in Web design and development.
To complete the observation, the thing is, jQuery is enormously efficient, powerful, and compact to include in pages, so where performance, extensibility, and strength of the API comes in and begins to matter, you can do incredible things with it and the library will not disappoint. But I think only a small portion of the audience of jQuery appreciates or understands this. I think that right there goes to the heart of Simon Willison’s article and commentary.
Back to the Learning jQuery Book
The book starts with selectors, the $() function, and moves on through events and into modern tricks of the trade in detail, with Ajax techniques and animations.
For my tastes, it could honestly spend a bit more time on documenting the vast amount of available selectors and DOM manipulation aspects of the library, as I feel like those two parts are key to doing anything constructive with it. The examples in the online documentation only get you so far, and I often find myself trying to use the available methods in much different ways than the examples online. Maybe this feeling is just because I learn best by example, I don’t know.
Now, anything with an ID is easily accessed and not an issue, but where jQuery opens doors is being able to pattern match in the DOM and know with certainty you can get to any object easily, with literally a one-line statement, and do anything to it. But unlocking that can be a challenge sometimes when you get ambitious. Additionally, the DOM manipulation methods are powerful but I find obscure from time to time. Animation and Ajax effects are fairly straight-forward most of the time.
Overall the book is well thought out and detailed, thorough with most all modern “Web 2.0” tricks and more. The book is not however a complete reference to the API’s or the definitive source necessarily for usage of the library.
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