jQuery 1.4 Reference Guide

jQuery 1.4 Reference Guide
Jonathan Chaffer, Karl Swedberg
27 Jan 2010
Purchase online

A comprehensive exploration of the popular JavaScript library *Quickly look up features of the jQuery library *Step through each function, method, and selector expression in the jQuery library with an easy-to-follow approach *Understand the anatomy of a jQuery script *Write your own plug-ins using jQuery's powerful plug-in architectureIn DetailTo make optimal use of jQuery, it's good to keep in mind the breadth of capabilities it provides.

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  1. Editorial Reviews
  2. Customer Reviews

Customer Reviews

J. Mccollum said
The jQuery 1.4 Reference Guide came out hot on the heels of jQuery 1.4, a landmark release for the project.

jQuery 1.4 brought many new features and performance improvements, and this book does a great job of documenting them. As other reviewers have pointed out, there are 11 chapters into which all of the jQuery 1.4 methods are organised. The chapters include AJAX, animation, selectors, DOM traversal and manipulation among others. In addition, there is an excellent chapter on the jQuery plugin API - one of the highlights of the book for me. This chapter really demonstrated how easy it is to create plugins (of various types), encouraging code re-use and easier maintenance.

The other highlight for me was a chapter at the beginning of the book - regarding selectors. Selectors are perhaps one of the first things you learn when you first begin to work with jQuery, but it was great to revisit this topic - the selector engine is much more powerful and flexible than I had realised.

In addition, there are a couple of useful appendixes which provide a wealth of further information.

The writing style is on the terse side, but for a book of this sort, that's a positive for me. There is very little 'fluff' here - the emphasis is on providing the necessary information quickly, with a minimal code sample to demonstrate the method.

Consequently, this isn't a book for beginners, or for a reader looking for tutorials. For that, consider Learning jQuery 1.3 instead. However, if you're an intermediate to advanced jQuery developer looking to further your knowledge, this book is excellent.

To top it all off, the publishers donate a portion of the profits from this book to the jQuery project, so in buying this book, you are indirectly helping to fund the project. 5 stars from me!

Urs Binder said
Release 1.4 of the ever-more-popular jQuery library was out in mid-January 2010, and Packt Publishing was again quick in releasing the corresponding reference guide. The jQuery 1.4 Reference Guide is exactly what its title says: A complete and to-the-point reference to each and every aspect of jQuery. That said, one aspect is completely missing from the book: There is no mention at all of the differences between 1.4 and earlier versions, namely the direct precursor 1.3. Neither is there a special section like "what's new" (which I would prefer) nor are new features marked as "new" in the text. However, it may well be that attractive new features like direct passing of attributes to the jQuery upon element creation are better left to a learning book than a reference guide.

Other than that, the book fills the promise and, after an introductory example explaining the anatomy of a jQuery script by quickly touching the most important points, describes all selector expressions, DOM traversal, manipulation, event, effect and other kinds of methods, as well as properties and the plug-in API, in clearly structured chapters. Each element is presented with examples and a description that usually includes important points like pitfalls and applicability to individual browsers.

All in all, the book is an excellent, up-to-date jQuery reference. It is certainly not a learning book but almost a must-have for any jQuery-oriented web developer who doesn't want to rely solely on the documentation available on the web - so I would recommend not only buying the PDF variant, but the printed book and have it ready next to the workstation.

Dan Wellman said
I recently read through the newest revision of Karl and Jonathon's amazing jQuery reference manual, which has just been updated for the latest release of the jQuery library itself. Even though it's a reference manual used to refer to specific methods or properties of the library rather than a teaching book that takes the reader on a journey through the API I still wanted to read through it in its entirety in order to give it a balanced review and to see how much additional information it provided. I'm already fairly competent in using jQuery so I wanted to see if there was anything new it could show me. It did - there were subtle aspects to a number of methods that I had never used before, and with the new additions to the guide added for jQuery 1.4, there was actually a lot I took away from this book.

The first chapter served as a very good general introduction to jQuery and what the library is capable of. The whole chapter is dedicated to an interactive example that uses a wide variety of different jQuery methods and functionality, and the accompanying text gradually picks apart all of the code to show what it does. The example is excellent for those new to jQuery and was a very good way to start the book.

After the initial example-based chapter the book switches tone to more of a reference style guide; chapter 2 is a very detailed, quite lengthy chapter that covers all of the different types of selectors that can be used to select elements from the DOM. Many different selectors, including advanced ones like the different types of attribute selectors are covered.

Remaining chapters look at the different types of methods that are exposed by the library; there is a chapter dedicated to DOM traversal methods, another that looks at AJAX-related methods, etc. Helpfully, the book is structured similarly to the online documentation so readers should be able to easily find the method they require information about without too much difficulty.

Towards the end of the book there are chapters that look at the miscellaneous methods such as .grep(), .unique(), etc which don't fit neatly into any of the other categories, and the different properties of the jQuery object that can give us extra information about the environment that the library is executing in such as the .browser properties. These last chapters will be of huge importance to many developers that are familiar with some of the more common methods, but less familiar with some of these lesser-used methods and properties.

There is also a chapter dedicated to the construction of jQuery plugins; the authors didn't have to include an entire chapter on this topic as it is sometimes seen as beyond the scope of general jQuery usage. They could have just included some basic information under the miscellaneous chapter perhaps, but they didn't, they provided a whole chapter to it because the topic deserves a whole chapter. It's a relatively short chapter, and the example plugins are very light, but it covers all of the essentials for plugin development such as the standard conventions, the object method and global functions, so this chapter adds a lot of value.

The book also features some potentially very useful appendices including lists of useful tools for JS developers such as code minifiers and browser development tools, information about where to find useful JavaScript, (X)HTML and CSS references as well as a complete alphabetical listing of every jQuery method and property.

Overall, I found this an excellent reference book for developers of all levels and would recommend it to anyone that was serious about jQuery development. Bear in mind that it is a reference manual opposed to a recipe-style example-based book, so the style is very concise and sometimes dry. Personally I think this was a good thing as it allowed the book to remain focused on the core topics without going off on a tangent about implementational specifics that the reader may never encounter. It's highly accessible, very information-heavy and literally covers every single method and property found in the library. This book will stay on my desktop (my real, actual desk) for some time to come and will remain my first point of contact from now on when looking up any method of the library.

My one complaint is that some of the appendix items from previous versions of the book seem to have been removed; for example, there is an information box in one chapter which states `An in-depth discussion of closures can be found in Appendix C of the book Learning jQuery 1.3. I'm sure many people buying the 1.4 version of the book won't already have the previous edition so this is not helpful in any way. Leaving this non-essential but related information in the book would have been far better. Sometimes however, due to the limits that are placed on page count by publishers, old, less-related information has to be removed. It's not a massive complaint, and I can understand why the authors may have had to remove these extras to make room for information relating to all the cool new functionality of jQuery, but I think the book would have benefited from retaining this information if at all possible.

Mr. Shane Porter said
jQuery version 1.4 was released on January 14, 2009, and hot on the heels of that release is the accompanying `jQuery 1.4 Reference Guide` book from Packt. The book is nudging at 300 pages in length, and covers the API in a similar way to the excellent online documentation. This isn't the book for readers with no JavaScript experience, but should be easy to pick up with somebody with at least a limited knowledge.

The eleven chapters cover the following:

- Anatomy of a jQuery script
- Selector Expressions
- DOM Traversal Methods
- DOM Manipulation Methods
- Event Methods
- Effect Methods
- AJAX Methods
- Miscellaneous Methods
- jQuery Properties
- The Plug-in API
- Alphabetical Quick Reference

The first chapter gently introduces the reader to the jQuery framework, as it quickly but clearly dissects an example that dynamically extracts headings from an HTML document and assembles them into a table of contents. My only criticism on this chapter is that it doesn't mention the recommended practice of using Google's jQuery CDN, preferring to link to a local, downloaded copy.

Subsequent chapters get into the swing of jQuery methods and techniques, using examples to complement their description. Reference guides are rarely the most exciting books, but this is actually quite easy to read, and the examples are well written and help push the reader through the content.

Chapter 10 focuses on plug-in development, and although short, does cover the essentials in a well-written overview of a simple print plugin.

Despite the quality of the online documentation, this is a worthwhile book for any jQuery developer, owing to its clear and direct content. Although the framework is evolving, the book is likely to be relevant for a long time to come.

Ben Nadel said
If you're a web developer, chances are good that you are building your web applications using the jQuery Javascript library. And, if you're doing that, chances are, you're loving it; jQuery's appeal comes from, in no small part, that fact that it provides a tremendous amount of power with a very small, very manageable API. And, while this is obviously a good thing, jQuery's ease of use can quickly allow us to become complacent in our learning. The jQuery development team is constantly making improvements to the library and it is important that we try to keep up with all the advancements such that we can leverage them to our benefit. Unfortunately, sometimes that means we have to Read The Manual (RTM).

Luckily, with books like the jQuery 1.4 Reference Guide by Karl Swedberg and Jonathan Chaffer, reading the manual is not a bad thing. I had the opportunity to read this book over the weekend and it does a great job of outlining the entire jQuery API. I'm a slow reader and I was able to make it through this book in about 6 to 7 hours. But, make no mistake about it - it's a reference guide, not a learning manual; it does have code samples, but they go only slightly farther than what is required to demonstrate the given API method. For a more real-world, task-oriented exploration, you might want to check out Karl and Jonathan's other book, Learning jQuery 1.3.

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