Pro JavaScript Techniques [Book Review]

If you are into jQuery you no doubt know who John Resig is, the creator of jQuery. Well before jQuery hit the scenes John wrote Pro JavaScript Techniques, by Apress. I have really been digging into the bowls of how JavaScript works because I am doing more and more AJAX development these days. This has led me to read some core JavaScript resources, which John Resig’s Pro JavaScript Techniques is certainly one.

As I read through this book I could really see how Resig organized the foundations of jQuery. In fact once you get past the JavaScript primer sections, and when I say primer in this context I mean advanced JavaScript primer, He shows how different JavaScript libraries apply different principles. But what I found even more revealing is his review of several, I will call them projects for lack of a better name, that laid the foundations for what is now jQuery.

For example in Chapter 5 he shows how the cssQuery library can be used to select a DOM element using CSS selectors. Hmmmm that sounds very familiar. He then starts to introduce jQuery and how he started developing it.

What I really like about this book is Resig continually shows simple foundational examples of what I consider key elements of the jQuery library. If you are just using jQuery and have not wanted to break it apart and look at the guts, you are just missing out. Pro JavaScript Techniques is sort of a dissection of what this powerful library is on the insides.

One thing is for sure, as I read through the pages of this book I was more and more thankful that John wrote jQuery to abstract all this crazy functionality away from me. As I have been sharpening my JavaScript skills the past few months I am more and more convinced it is not the language that has been my enemy but more knowing and understanding how to work with the functionality baked into each browser to make real things happen. First because there just is not good (that means non white-paperish) documentation for these APIs and then they all vary slightly.

At the end of the day Pro JavaScript Techniques is a great resource that gives you a glimpse at the mind of one of the world’s best JavaScript experts. I highly recommend picking up this book, spending a good weekend, or like me long flight, and reading through it. Next start applying the principles to your daily JavaScript coding to make your AJAX applications function at a higher level.

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