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Murach's JavaScript and jQuery
Author(s): Zak Ruvalcaba and Mike Murach
Published: 2012, ISBN 978-1-890774-70-7
18 chapters, 603 pages, 250 illustrations

Publisher (more . . .):   Murach

 
   
 
 Review
 

 

 Four out of Five Stars
  Reviewed: April, 2013
  Reviewer: Tim Lennek
   
       JavaScript and jQuery are two broad topics and I wondered how the authors were going to approach these topics. The book started slow, describing in detail how web servers interact with Application Servers and client browsers. Once you get past this, they get into the subject matter in more depth.

     They come up with an introductory application and show how to approach it, with JavaScript and then how to solve it with jQuery. One good aspect, I thought, was the way they described how the syntax of jQuery could vary. When you look up jQuery examples via Google, you’ll see the many forms of the jQuery syntax, in code examples. Knowing that the various formats provide the same functionality is good to be aware of.

     The authors did a good job describing the Document Object Model (DOM), how it is designed, what many of the attributes are and some of the methods worth knowing. They also went into forms and validation from both JavaScript and jQuery perspectives.

     I was really glad when the book went into jQuery fundamentals and taking it further into jQuery UI. These sections provide the most benefit for today’s developers. The authors went into using jQuery for selectors (selecting objects on a page), looping through attributes, getting and setting values for objects.

     They went into where to download jQuery, explaining the options available to developers. They also discussed the ‘minimized’ version of the files, along with using the Content Delivery Network (CDN). The book did a good job of explaining jQuery Plugins, why you should use them and also how to write your own. They also described some of the more popular Plugins and gave an introduction to using them.

     I like the way the authors separated jQuery UI (User Interface) out from jQuery. The jQuery UI extends the jQuery Library and provides high-level features. They went into themes, showing how to alter the appearance of the user experience with little effort. They also spent time on some of the more commonly used widgets. The authors took a high level introduction on the Accordion Widget, Tabs Widget, Button and Dialog Widgets. They also discussed Autocomplete, Datepicker, Slider and Progress bar widgets. Of course, to dig deeper into these objects, the jQuery website has much more information available. They also took it to the next level when they described UI interactions. These interactions include drag and drop, resizable, selectable and sortable. They also went into effects and these include individual effects, color transitions, class transitions and visibility transitions.

     The authors spent a short chapter on Ajax and JSON. I felt they could have allocated more time to this section, since it is an area that I tend to use in MVC development. But they made their point, however brief it was.

     The authors went into API calls for YouTube, Twitter, Flickr and Google Maps. This section concise and well presented. They showed examples to get someone started and showed what is possible.

     The last section was dedicated to jQuery Mobile topics. They gave a good introduction to the difference between mobile devices and larger screened devices. They provided guidelines for designing mobile pages and testing them. They created a simple example showing how to create mobile pages, with dialogs and transitions. Lastly, they took it further with content formatting and using forms.

     Overall, the book was a good introduction for developers who have some JavaScript knowledge and are new to jQuery. To use the more advanced features, it’s best to reference the jQuery documentation or the internet.
   
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