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Book recommendation: jQuery in Action

Michael Brown   July 15 2010 06:14:13 AM
If you're dabbling in jQuery - and if not, why not? - then you seriously need to buy this book:

jQuery in Action, Second Edition by Bear Bibeault and Yehuda Katz

I'm only half way though it now.  I've been slowed down by having to stop and slap myself in the head every three or four pages.  That's slapping my head in disgust at the reams of crappy JavaScript code that I've written in the past that I didn't even need to write at all (let alone write crappily!)  jQuery just makes it all so easy, and this is the book to holds your hand all the way through it.

This afternoon, for example, I knocked up a modal dialog box using jQueryUI.  It took me about an hour, and works in all browsers, including IE6.  That work probably would have taken me the best of part of week previously; that's if I'd have had the chops to tackle something like that in the first place.  (And even then, it still wouldn't have worked in IE6.)

One of the things I like about the book is it's constant castigating of Internet Explorer for being the piece of shit that it is, although the authors aren't as rude *as me) about it.  They actually handle that subject, as with all their subjects, with a welcome dash of humour, e.g:

Internet Explorer, always the life of the party, does things in its own proprietary way

One other thing that I really liked is that you get rights to a PDF version when you buy the paper copy of the book.  Inside the book, there's a URL and sealed page containing some codes.  You enter the codes on the form at the URL and also enter your email address.  You'll get a  confirmation email with another URL on it.  Click on that, and you get to download the PDF version.  The clever bit is that your email address gets added to every page of the PDF version of the book, so you're not tempted to post it on BitTorrent (not that you'd ever do such a thing, of course!)  So, I keep the real book at home, and a printed out copy of the PDF for reference at work.  I think that's a nice compromise way of the authors protecting their work.  Far better than any pain in the arse DRM system, anyway.

If you are buying the book, make sure you get the Second Edition, which only came out in the last month or two.  This version covers jQuery 1.4 and jQueryUI 1.8, so it's bang up to date as I write this.

1jake  09/12/2010 2:55:42 PM  Book recommendation: jQuery in Action

Indeed jQuery does make the impossible quite simple. Dojo (IBM's preferred kit, built into XPages & Websphere) ain't bad either, and YUI has a GUI editor that rocks, but Dojo is the current fave of the internet cognescenti at large.

Historically, people who trash IE6 tend to forget how sorry the state of internet programming was before IE6 was released. IE6's XMLHttpRequest essentially invented AJAX & for that alone, we owe it a debt of gratitude. It's ancient and quirky by today's standards and deserves the scorn heaped upon it, but a little perspective never hurt.

Things will get really fun for you when you combine Domino's native ability to emit XML/JSON qith jQuery to do neat things very quickly ala this:

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Cheers & keep blogging!