jQuery: Novice to Ninja Paperback – Mar 10 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
I rate this book average, I would still recommend you get a copy to get you going with JQuery. If you're a hacker you can pick-up other things once the basics are mastered.
I did not expect the book to function well as a reference (it has no value as a reference, that I'm certain) but I wanted it as a tutorial but the shear bulk of nauseatingly useless text makes that a miserable experience. After only owning it for a few weeks I decided to give it to a web designer because the book does have a lot of pictures and does show a few interesting jQuery UI features. This awareness of the tools is important for aspiring designers... So as a picture book illustrating current web capabilities it had some redeeming value.
In conclusion if you are a professional programmer this is not the book for you. As a hobby programmer looking to increase your design awareness and give you a gentile introduction to the shallow end of the pool, maybe it's okay.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
It seems that this book is selling fast, as of this writing it says 1 to 4 months shipping time! Also, I'm not sure why Sitepoint books tend to have such a small discount on Amazon. Sitepoint likes to get people to buy books direct from them. Not sure why. It seems to be available faster on their web site. I have an eBook version. As of this writing, they are running a 5-for-1 eBook promotion on the Sitepoint web site. But, I got mine through my subscription to Safari Books Online, which I highly recommend.
If you are just starting, or even just want a reference for the jQuery basics, this book is the one to have.
For developers who want to learn jQuery, you will be able to learn nearly all you need to get started from this book. When I first heard about jQuery, I purchased a much larger book, which ended up being about 80% reprinting the API on jquery.com. If you're like me, and you prefer insight, hints, and gotchas which encourage you to write some code, then this book is perfect for you.
For developers familiar with jQuery, you may learn a little from this book. Flanagan covers a lot of overloads to common jQuery functions. Some of them, I never knew existed. The recent release of jQuery 1.5 has actually added more functionality than what is covered in this book.
The only thing I found a little odd about this book is how the jQuery Selectors chapter was at the end of the book. Considering jQuery is a framework for querying the DOM, using selectors, I would expect that content to be the first covered. On the other hand, as a reference, you may expect the most used content at the end of the book. Luckily, Flanagan knows what he's doing and tells you to review the Selectors chapter if you're rusty or unfamiliar.
Extremely readable, with excellent samples that are clearly explained.
There is no comparison between this and, for example, Learning jQuery 1.3 (after reading, I still didn't get it).
Note: to get the source code, go to sitepoint ([...]) and enter your email address as if you'd ordered from their site. They won't find a match so will ask you to type in the last word from one of the chapters, then they'll email you a link to download the source.
The book gets you excited over all the great things you can do with jQuery but the title contains a bit of truth that should serve as a warning.
The minimum skill level is you must be a novice NOT a rank beginner with jQuery. Some minimum skill, knowledge is expected. You should also know something about CSS. If you are and old CSS hand, that alone should get you by just fine.
If you understand CSS your journey through this book will be much easier.
Omissions and a few errors produced a lot of head scratching. These omissions would probably not be noticed by someone who is used to CSS. The book builds on previous concepts so if you do not understand something it is necessary to stop and do research until you do, or at least feel you sort of get it, or the confusion will only grow.
Snippets were the biggest problem. It was not clear were to put the snippets, new code was not well differentiated from code that was already there previously.
I myself, like to go out to lunch, nursing a cup and sit somewhere away from home distractions to read and learn but the learning curve became very steep due to omissions and some errors. I found it necessary to go home and look at the downloaded code or reported errata to find the missing info. Sometimes it was not clear where to put a code snippet, sometimes there were errors. In the chapter on animation queue - A difficult chapter for me - there was this comment that said a particular animation would NOT run but I could not see why it would not run and finally had to concede that this comment was in error, and sure enough the author confirmed it when I submitted it as a possible error.
Normally I read through a book at about 100-200 pages an hour, but this book had me re-reading to make sense of things so much that I would say my average reading rate was down to six pages an hour.
The good thing is that the book IS WORTH THE CONFUSION. Once I started actually USING the book for doing sites everything started falling into place in my mind. This also paved the way for me when I started out with applying CSS to my site. I found out how fun and cool CSS was because jQuery selectors uses CSS style selector syntax. Selectors is a fundamental part of both and by learning one will greatly help you in learning the other. %90 of it is identical.
This book remains on my shelf as a frequent reference, and I am in the process of reading it again, this time being able to understand it a lot more.
So, when reading this book as your first exposure to jQuery and are only a novice to CSS I recommend that you do your reading with a computer handy. Do NOT give up!
And by all means, practice these things.
So, I really welcomed and valued the first 2/3 (or so) of Flanagan's book (or chapter), which is a narrative description of the library's features, with examples and detailed explanations of what's going on behind the scenes. Writing that sort of narrative about a programming language is hard, and Flanagan's only peer for that, in my opinion, is Friedl of Mastering Regular Expressions (also an O'Reilly book), and he succeeded here well enough that a person can actually read the whole thing with considerable understanding, thereby gaining a better overview of the library than can be had by searching out features when we bump up against something we don't know how to do. The last 1/3 of the book is a reference section: concise, simple, and well-organized, just what you need when you forget a particular syntax.
The book was carefully adapted to electronic viewing. Code is displayed in a fixed space font to differentiate it from the surrounding text, but the font has the same height and color as the text and so is easy to read. Sidebars are presented with a slightly smaller, but still easily readable font, as a distinct block of text embedded with the main text. This, and the larger work from which it was extracted, are the best examples of technical books adapted to e-readers I have seen, so O'Reilly deserves considerable credit for their success in this format.
The book was written for jQuery version 1.4 and the current version is 1.6.1 (as of today), and quite a bit has been added to jQuery. I knew that before I bought the book and decided the reference retained enough value to be worthwhile even though the version had been superseded. You should bear that in mind, though.