jQuery Cookbook [Book Review]

jQuery CookbookLast week I used a TreeView to demonstrate the new jQuery Templating plugin. The code technique to build the TreeView came from O'Reilly's jQuery Cookbook. I picked this book up back in January and I still find myself referencing it each week. I was written by some of the world's top jQuery experts including Rebecca Murphy, Ariel Flesler, Remy Sharp, Jonathan Sharp, Cody Lindley and many others.

The book covers basic techniques and things you need to understand to leverage jQuery to build AJAX applications. It teaches these techniques by using real world scenarios. I found this to be very helpful as I read through the book because I understood the situations they were describing and found many of the examples to be very insightful solutions.

The first three chapters are focused on jQuery fundamentals like how to select objects, traversing and manipulating the DOM and a few slightly more advanced techniques around selection and manipulation. It then covers the jQuery Utilities and how to write more efficient jQuery code, which I think is something every jQuery programmer should learn more about. Dimensions and animations are the next topics followed by two chapters on events. The Advanced Events chapter (9) I found especially insightful in creating custom events.

Chapters 10 and 11 cover using jQuery to enhance forms. Chapter 11 reviews how to use several popular form plugins like the validation and masked edit plugins. The next two chapters go deeper into the plugin ecosystem and how to build your own plugins. Chapters 14 and 15 cover jQuery UI features and theming. It does not go into deep details with any of the jQuery UI components it does cover basic concepts of how to use the jQuery UI library to enhance your applications.

Chapter 16 cover Ajax techniques, but goes beyond just calling the jQuery Ajax functions. It also covers working with JSON and performing JSONP Ajax. The last two chapters I think may have been the most important chapters for me personally because they cover using jQuery in large projects and testing. I am getting more and more interested in enterprise Ajax techniques and governance. Chapter 17 is only 12 pages long, which is far too short, but does cover some important topics like data storage, templating, queuing Ajax requests, back button and page architecture.

The final chapter on testing is probably the only jQuery book I have seen that actually covers the topic of JavaScript Unit Testing. If there is another one I just have not read it yet. But this chapter was very helpful to me getting started using qUnit to automatically test my JavaScript code. I do have to admit I still find myself trying to learn proper way to test the majority of my Ajax code, but this chapter gave me the foundation to get started.

I like books with practical and pragmatic examples. The jQuery Cookbook is just that for jQuery developers. If you are just starting out or have a few months of jQuery under your belt I think this book is a must read. You will increase your jQuery efficiency and understanding. So go order your copy today, its $23.09 on Amazon today and if you have a Kindle go get a copy now ($15.59)!

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