The phrase “just the facts, ma’am” comes to mind while reading JQuery Enlightenment, by Cody Lindley. The explanations and examples are brief and to-the-point. This makes for an information-packed, dense book, which is an excellent companion to JQuery’s online documentation.
E-Book + code = learning
This is the first e-book I’ve read, “cover to cover,” and it made me see the great possibilities for code-related e-books. It takes full advantage of it’s “e”-ness, by providing live, working examples of nearly every code snippet via JSBin. Not only do these snippets allow you to see the example in action, you can also edit the example and execute your revised code, allowing you to experiment and learn in a hands-on way. In a few cases, terms in the text are linked to outside sources, such as Wikipedia for an explanation of XMLHttpRequest. I could have used even more of this, for example, when the author uses a JQuery concept not explicitly explained in the book, it could be linked to the JQuery documentation.
Isolated, to-the-point examples
Unlike many non-reference coding books, each example here is an isolated one, contrived simply to demonstrate the concept under discussion, rather than code that builds up over several examples or even gives you anything that would really be useful on a live site. This has pros and cons. On one hand, you can generally jump right in to any part of the book with ease, and the examples stay uncluttered and succinct. On the other hand, in some cases it is not obvious when you would employ the method being explained. In addition, unlike the fabulous JQuery Cookbook, to which Mr. Lindley contributed, few examples are ready to employ or adapt for a live site. I don’t think this approach is better or worse, simply different, and makes for a denser book.
My favorite part of this volume was actually an exception to this approach. Chapter 9, “Performance best practices” includes several simple techniques for improving the speed of your JQuery code, ready to be applied. As with any computer code, there are multiple ways to achieve the same result in JQuery, and the author clarifies which is the optimal method, and even when code clarity should outweigh negligible performance gains.
Conclusion: Who is this book for?
I wouldn’t recommend this book to someone who is just starting with JQuery, or even to someone who just plans to dabble. However, for the designer/developer who is regularly employing JQuery to enhance her web pages or build web applications, this is a good resource, and well worth the $15.00.
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