Author: David Flanagan
Publisher: O'Reilly, 2011
Pros: Some interesting insights
Cons: Badly organized and not a typical pocket reference
Reviewed by: Ian Elliot
When I use jQuery I often forget some feature or how to do something so a pocket reference seems like a good idea.
The first chapter is an introduction to jQuery and to be honest it isn't condensed enough or logical enough. It tends to present the same facts repeatedly in slightly different words. As long as you aren't a complete beginner this isn't too difficult to follow but it could be confusing for a novice.
jQuery also has some strong organizational principles that make it easier to use and these aren't brought out by the presentation.
Chapter 2 moves on to consider changing element attributes and then Chapter 3 deals with modifying the DOM. Both topics are core to using jQuery efficiently and cleverly but they are disposed of fairly quickly with no attempts to deal with the sort of difficult selection problem that usually confuses the beginner. You could say that this isn't the purpose of a reference work - but this isn't a reference work as presented. The really odd thing is that selection isn't treated until Chapter 8, which is late for a core concept in using jQuery.
Chapter 4 moves to simpler territory - interrupts. Chapter 5 explains how to use the animation facilities. Chapter 6 deals with Ajax and once again everything is fine as long as you already know quite a bit about the topic - for example, jsonp is mentioned as a way of avoiding the cross domain restrictions but nothing much is explained so that you might be confused if you didn't already understand the problem and what jsonp was. Chapter 7 deals with utility functions.
At last we reach Chapter 8 on selection and selectors. This topic is treated logically enough but no difficult selection problems are tackled and the beginner could be left wondering what it is all about. A reference book should really give you some idea of regularly used idioms and this one doesn't.
The final few chapters mop up the leftovers in no particular order. Chapter 9 is on extending jQuery with plugins, not something everyone wants to do and probably not best dealt with in a pocket book anyway, and Chapter 10 takes a quick look at the UI Library, arguably not one of jQuery's strong points.
Finally we have a jQuery Quick Reference which probably should have been the structure for the entire book.