I grabbed a free copy of JavaScript & jQuery The Missing Manual as part of the O'Reilly Blogger Review Program. I recently just read HTML 5 The Missing Manual and really enjoyed it, and I wanted to see if all The Missing Manual books were just as good. As it turns out I really enjoyed JavaScript & jQuery The Missing Manual. Although I thought the first 3 chapters on JavaScript were rather boring and un-necessary, the rest of the chapters on jQuery provide a really good introduction to jQuery for beginners. The author begins each chapter by introducing you to some jQuery concepts and then walks you through one or two interesting tutorials on how to apply those concepts. This concepts - tutorials pattern continues throughout the book chapter-by-chapter as sort of a jQuery Cookbook, which makes it both a worthwhile way to learn jQuery and apply it in your websites and web applications. Here is a quick book review.

Javascript & jQuery The Missing Manual

Forget the Coverage of JavaScript

First things first, don't buy this book for the word JavaScript in the title as you will be really disappointed. The first 3 chapters introduce you to JavaScript variables, types, loops, math, and all the other boring parts of JavaScript. Nobody in their right mind reads that stuff for fun. You grab that information on the Internet or from a reference book when you need it. There are also many more books that do a better job in covering the JavaScript Language. I recommend you skip over the first 3 chapters and go directly to the jQuery, which is far more interesting and presented in a far more useful manner.

As a jQuery Cookbook it Shines

Here is where the book shines. If you like cookbooks that essentially cover concepts and then give you a tutorial or two on how to apply the concepts in the real-world, you will like the rest of JavaScript & jQuery The Missing Manual. My recommendation is peek at the table of contents and you will see what it covers as well as the concept-tutorial approach it takes. For example:

  • Chapter 4: Concept - Selectors, Tutorial - Automatic Pull Quotes
  • Chapter 5: Concept - Events, Tutorial - One Page FAQ
  • Chapter 6: Concept - Animation, Tutorial - Animated Dashboard
  • etc, etc, etc...

Look down the table of concepts and you see all the jQuery concepts and tutorial presented on a chapter-by-chapter basis. If the concepts and tutorials look boring to you, don't buy the book. Personally, I liked the approach and I liked the examples. I thought the examples were pretty realistic for web designers interested in livening up their websites with a little useful jQuery. Most of the websites I see have FAQ's; sliding content in the form of images, testimonials, clients, etc., drop-down navigation, Google Maps, Flickr Feeds, photo galleries, and forms requiring validation. The book teaches you the jQuery concepts needed to code those solutions and then walks you through creating them. What is not to like?

While teaching you the jQuery concepts and walking you through tutorials, the book also introduces you to jQuery Plugins. Sometimes the book can get a bit long-winded as it provides a sort of documentation for each plugin, but overall it is a good thing. It can be a pain to find any real documentation on many jQuery Plugins so the book is doing you a favor. I personally enjoyed the coverage of various Plugins like FancyBox, jQuery Validate, GoMap, etc.

Is This jQuery Book For You?

This book is clearly for those new to jQuery and looking to understand key jQuery concepts and how to apply them to web design. It is for web designers not looking for documentation and snippets like you would get in jQuery in Action, but more guided tutorials. It's also for those that don't need all the images, and in fact, prefer not to have all the "visual noise" of a book like Head First jQuery, but appreciate the cookbook and problem-solving approach. It's a great getting started book but not intended to be the only jQuery book you purchase.

I enjoyed it and I think if you have little-to-no experience with jQuery and want the book to help with adding fundamental functionality found in most websites, you will enjoy JavaScript & jQuery The Missing Manual.

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