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Review of “Learning jQuery” by Ralph Steyer

November 13, 2013

 Learning jQuery: A Hands-on Guide to Building Rich Interactive Web Front Ends is written by Ralph Steyer, and published by Addison Wesley, © 2013, (paperback), 978-0-321-81526-2, 495 pp., $39.99 US.

Learning jQuery is a single entry in the pantheon of jQuery books that introduce web programmers to this JavaScript framework (Amazon has over 20 such books available as of November, 2013). Steyer’s book follows the same pattern as similar books I’ve read and explains the core functionality provided by jQuery: the jQuery object, selectors and filters, how to manipulate the DOM (Document Object Model), AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) and animation. These and other topics are explained with clear, knowledgeable descriptions and ample code samples and tutorials that include both HTML and manipulation of it through JavaScript and jQuery. Steyer includes an adequate number of illustrative screenshots too.

The book begins with jQuery fundamentals and progresses to advanced topics at the end. Advanced topics include jQuery UI, plug-ins and jQuery Mobile. The fundamentals are the focus, however, taking up about ¾ of the book. Despite the tilt towards developers new to jQuery, this book assumes that the reader is already competent with JavaScript and HTML programming. In fact, tackling the plug-ins chapter will be the most difficult for a reader who lacks adequate experience programming in JavaScript.

Even though this book follows the same formula as many other books about jQuery, it is a worthwhile read. Steyer obviously understands jQuery thoroughly as he frequently describes common pitfalls in using the framework and how to avoid them. The information in the book is far more illustrative than the reference information available on and far more instructive than the thousands of sketchy examples and explanations you dig up with a web search.

Despite having experience with jQuery in production web apps, I learned quite a few new tricks from this book. I also found that I gained a deeper understanding of how jQuery works, which I believe will make my future jQuery development more precise and effective.


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