jQuery Pocket Reference

Author: David Flanagan
Publisher: O'Reilly, 2011
Pages: 160
ISBN: 978-1449397227
Aimed at: Intermediate JavaScript developer
Rating: 3
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 thing to point out however is that this is a chapter from the author's soon-to-be released "JavaScript the Definitive Guide" which at 1100 pages isn't a book you'll want to carry around with you.  The fact that it is a chapter in a full book also means that it isn't a particularly typical "pocket reference" - in fact it really isn't a reference at all.


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.

Overall this doesn't work well as a reference work and it's particularly not suited to the beginner - I'd recommend either the entire book "JavaScript the Definitive Guide" or, if  jQuery really is what you are interested in, a standard size book on jQuery. This particular pocket book probably won't be spending much time in my pocket and I can't recommend it for yours.


Foundational Python For Data Science

Author: Kennedy Behrman
Publisher: Pearson
ISBN: 978-0136624356
Print: 0136624359
Kindle: B095Y6G2QV
Audience: Data scientists
Rating: 4.5
Reviewer: Kay Ewbank

This book sets out to be a simple introduction to Python, specifically how to use it to work with data.

Python Programming and Visualization for Scientists 2nd Ed

Author: Alex DeCaria and Grant Petty
Publisher: Sundog Publishing
Pages: 372
ISBN: 978-0972903356
Print: 0972903356
Audience: Scientists wanting to use Python
Rating: 2
Reviewer: Mike James
Visualization - a difficult topic and difficult to see how to explain the ideas in a book.

More Reviews


Chapter 1 - Introduction to jQuery
Chapter 2 - Element Getters and Setters
Chapter 3 - Altering Document Structures
Chapter 4 - Events
Chapter 5 - Animated Effects
Chapter 6 - Ajax
Chapter 7 - Utility Functions
Chapter 8 - Selectors and Selection Methods
Chapter 9 - Extending jQuery with Plugins
Chapter 10 - The jQuery UI Library
Chapter 11 - jQuery Quick Reference

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 20 April 2011 )