Author: Oswald Campesato
Publisher: Mercury Learning
Date: June 26, 2014
Reviewer: Ian Elliot
The role of a pocket primer, in my opinion, is to get you up to speed on a topic and provide the sort of information you might have forgotten if you haven't been using the technology for a while. If that technology is jQuery then you can expect to have a tough time because we all have a tendency to write something clever in jQuery that does a lot with a little and then a few weeks later it just looks like a magic incantation.
This particular pocket book brings some help, but perhaps not enough for everyone.
It starts off with basic jQuery concepts, but fails to organize its presentation. It explains how to find and modify DOM elements, but it presents a mixed bag of selectors and filters without really doing anything to explain the organization. The chapter ends with a look at some typical uses of jQuery and then, very strangely throws in a look at event handling finishing up with using jQuery to read an accelerometer.
Chapter 2 introduces CSS 3 as if you hadn't met it before. There is nothing about jQuery in this chapter, but you do have to know how this all works to use jQuery. In the next chapter we find out how to use CSS3 selectors in jQuery, but then move straight on to jQuery animation.
At this point the book more or less gives up on core jQuery and this is just not enough.
Chapter 4 moves on to jQuery UI and goes over using each of the standard widgets.
Chapter 5 abandons anything to do with jQuery in any form and instead tells the reader all about HTML5 technologies including geolocation, CORS, the battery API, Ajax, drag and drop, the History API and offline web apps. In many cases the amount of information given just isn't enough. CORS for example is explained in terms of what it is for and then for detail you are expected to consult the web. Where jQuery is used to work with the technology, for example Ajax then there just isn't enough depth.
Chapter 6 continues the discussion of anything but jQuery with a look at single page applications and the MVC architecture as implemented in BackBoneJS. The chapter also covers Jade, EmberJS, MongoDB, NodeJS and Mongoose - but nothing on jQuery.
Chapters 7 and 8 do return to jQuery, but jQuery Mobile, which is really another topic altogether. You get a basic introduction to jQuery Mobile in the first of these twwo chapters and more advanced topics, user gestures and animation, in the second.
Chapter 9 is about using Canvas, which is something that jQuery doesn't help you with unless you use a plugin jCanvas - again not exactly core jQuery.
The final chapter moves on to using PhoneGap. This really is out of place because PhoneGap is more or less an alternative to jQuery Mobile. While you can use jQuery with PhoneGap none of the examples in the book appear to even attempt to.
What little of jQuery this pocket book covers is done reasonably well, but most of the book is on other topics and as a result jQuery has depths that this book just does not even begin to explore. In particular it fails to explain jQuery's Ajax features and it really doesn't go into many of the more interesting ways jQuery lets you process the DOM.
If you are hoping that a quick look at this book will bring you up-to-speed on how jQuery is used in web pages. then you are going to be disappointed.
The preface says:
This book endeavors to provide you with as much up-to-date information as possible regarding jQuery that can be reasonbly included in a book consisting of roughly 200 pages.
It could have provided a lot more information about jQuery if more of the 200 pages had been about jQuery rather than distantly connected topics.
jQuery Pocket Reference
Python: Pocket Primer
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