This is a practical book with many examples and a layout that makes it easy to follow. Topics are done in pairs. Everything about the topic, including syntax and “How to do…” is on the left page, while the right page lists the code. HTML and CSS are covered, with plenty of explanations, in the introduction.
The standalone Aptana Studio 3 is also cross-platform, and the Windows version takes up 260 MB when installed. If you also intend to do PHP, Python or Ruby development, you’ll find it useful.
I found the testing and debugging chapter particularly valuable. It covers the use of Firefox and Firebug and lists common and syntax errors. Fixing these kinds of problems can be time-consuming very and frustrating when you’re just starting out, so this coverage is very helpful.
On to jQuery
The real meat is in the remaining two thirds of the book. It’s all about jQuery, jQuery UI, Ajax, JSON, APIs and jQuery Mobile. Chapter seven has a lot of material on jQuery, and if it’s new to you, it will take some re-reading and running examples for it to start making sense. The applications created in the previous chapter are redone with jQuery, with a detailed explanation of why.
Chapters eight through 11 offer a number of examples covering effects and animation, DOM manipulation, forms and data validation and plugins. Of these I guess chapter 10 will be the most useful, as it’s about forms and data validation. Client-side validation should be seen as something to help users, but don’t forget server side-validation for your site’s security.
jQuery’s animation effects and drag-and-drops all come its sister library, jQuery UI. Chapters 12 and 13 cover the use of themes, widgets and using UI interactions and effects. Using the jQuery widgets and interactions give websites considerable Wow! appeal, and chapter 13 covers it in some depth with plenty of examples.
Though Ajax has been around for 7 or 8 years, jQuery makes it easy to implement it. Chapter 14 covers loading the various data types (XML, JSON), while chapters 15 and 16 show how to use Ajax with YouTube, Twitter, Flickr and Google Maps with useful and practical examples.
Finally, the last two chapters show you how to use jQuery Mobile to serve up mobile-friendly versions of your website. Given the massive growth in smartphone Internet access, this is an area you’d can’t afford to miss out on.
This is a book for everyone from complete novices to experienced Web developers, as well as people like me who occasionally have to do some Web development work but forget everything in between gigs. If you want to get up to speed with jQuery, or need a reference/recipe book, I recommend this one very highly, rating it five out of five stars.
Paperback, 764 pages. Mike Murach & Associates